University Apartment Residents Told They Will Have to Leave

By: Michael Oder Email
By: Michael Oder Email

About 500 people are being forced out of their apartments to make way for a new mixed-use development at Texas A&M.

The A&M University System Board of Regents approved an agreement Friday to negotiate a lease with Midway Companies to develop a mixed use property where the University Apartments are located on University Drive. The university says that the University Apartments are old and have outlived their usefulness.

The residents disagree.

"The most important reason that we like living here is because of what this community has to offer," says Desmond Jacob, a resident of University Apartments. He's also part of the Community Council.

Over 40 countries are represented. Those students and their families are being told they have to leave. Leave the safety of their international community.

"Have they to move away somewhere else, they won't have this chance to interact with somebody else of their own age group, from their own culture and they're own language," explains Jacob.

"Apart from safety, it's the sense of community that we have built over 40 or 50 years or so."

But construction surrounds them. The Plaza hotel leveled on one side. The old Albertson's on the other. Progress, it seems, is unstoppable.

"Progress is fine," admits Jacob. "They want to redevelop this area. They want to have big, new buildings for whatever use, all that is okay, to a point. But then there has to be some concern, some consideration and respect toward the people you want to move out of here for you to attain that progress."

Regents at Texas A&M have already given the approval. So, the clock is running.

"It's a timely situation for us," says Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin.

"We began this process in 2005. It was delayed in 2008 because of the economic downturn that occurred then. The company involved with this has come back to us and said it's about time to get back into this. So today's action allows the chancellor and I to begin working negotiations with that company."

The university's decision is causing strong emotion with residents.

"Very disappointed, for one, because they didn't a university that cares so much about the Aggie family to just not care about us anymore," says Jacob.

Not cared for, and told they to leave.

Jacob and other residents have emailed Dr. Loftin with their concerns. So far, they say, they have not heard back from him or his office.

The only deadline they've been given to be out is mid-May of next year.

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