Kent State purchases two properties to expand campus

Judy Smith, owner of the houses located at 226 and 230 South Lincoln Street, holds the book “Crucial Turns” that references the street corner where she’s spent most of her life.

Alexandra Golden Reporter

After living on the corner of East College Avenue and South Lincoln Street for 70 years, 71-year-old Judy Smith sold her two properties to Kent State University to support future campus needs and strategic properties.

The Kent State Board of Trustees approved the purchase of Smith’s properties, 226 South Lincoln St. and 230 South Lincoln St., during their Sept. 15 meeting. The properties are located near The John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design.

Smith said the university contacted her twice previously to purchase the properties, but said she didn’t want to seem desperate to sell.

“This corner has been my home,” she said. “My feeling was if I go to them, that looks like I’m hungry, eager to sell and I’ll take whatever [they] offer me.”

She told them, “When I’m 70, I’m ready to move.”

Smith’s first purchase was the 226 house in 1977 and she eventually bought the 230 house, a frat house at the time, in either 1984 or 1985, though she said she couldn’t remember the exact date. She considered selling the properties when her mother died, but it was not the right timing, she said.

The three-story house became too much for Smith to manage on her own in recent years, and she no longer wished to live in one of the last non-student, residential houses in that area, she said.

“I don’t need to be the one lone totem pole sitting here when I used to have neighbors that we could yell and talk and sit on our front porch,” she said. “I’m in the middle of office buildings.”

The university purchased the properties with its real estate fund at their appraised value of $615,000, according to a press release from the university.

The 226 house is a 2.5-story frame residence that is approximately 2,880 square feet above grade which is on .204 acres of land, the appraisal report stated.

The appraiser considers highest and best use to be for student rental to include a total of eight bedrooms/occupants; the property owner currently has it licensed for five, according to the report. A modification of the current licensing would be required which might require expansion of the rear parking area to accommodate eight spaces.

The 230 South Lincoln St. property is a 2.5-story frame residence that is approximately 1,828 square feet which is on .114 acres of land, according to the report. There is on-site parking available for four vehicles and improvements are being well maintained in above average overall condition, the report stated.

Smith and three tenants currently live in the 226 house, with the 230 property housing Smith’s professional typing services business. The sale is planned to close Dec. 18 and the residents will have three months from the day it closes to move out, Smith said.

Smith does not know the plans the university has for the area, but she said she thinks the area is going to be turned into surface parking.

“There are no specific plans at this time,” said Doug Pearson, associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Operations. “Kent State purchases these residential properties between downtown and the campus when they come available in order to facilitate future growth.”

Alexandra Golden is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]