Regents approve University of Iowa sale of Iowa Center for Higher Education property

The state Board of Regents approved the University of Iowa’s request to sell the Iowa Center of Education during the regents’ June 5 meeting.

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Regents approve University of Iowa sale of Iowa Center for Higher Education property

Regents President Mike Richards listens during the state Board of Regents meeting at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Friday, November 15, 2018.

Regents President Mike Richards listens during the state Board of Regents meeting at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Friday, November 15, 2018.

Lily Smith

Regents President Mike Richards listens during the state Board of Regents meeting at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Friday, November 15, 2018.

Lily Smith

Lily Smith

Regents President Mike Richards listens during the state Board of Regents meeting at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Friday, November 15, 2018.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

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The state Board of Regents has approved the University of Iowa’s request to sell the Iowa Center for Higher Education property during summer 2019 to the Village at Grays Lake LLC for $7.5 million after a vote on June 5.

The property was gifted to the UI from the American Institute of Business Board of Trustees in 2015. The initial plan for the property was for the center to be used by Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, as well as the UI. However, the UI was the only regent university offering programs at the campus.

As previously reported by *The Daily Iowan*, the UI closed the center, along with six others, in 2018 after state funding cuts. After the closure, the UI requested for qualifications to seek a commercial real estate agent to assist in the sale of the property. After hearing proposals from six firms, Des Moines-based CBRE-Hubbell Commercial was selected.

RELATED: University of Iowa will ask regents to sell Iowa Center for Higher Education property

The UI received proposals from five firms before selecting the top three firm offers, and requested the firms submit their best offers at the end of the month of March.

After receiving the offers, the UI determined the Village at Grays Lake LLC had submitted the best offer for the property. The UI then entered contract negotiations with the firm that resulted in a signed purchase agreement.  

“Based on the five proposals received and additional research, the university is confident the $7,500,000 price is indicative of the fair market value for this unique Des Moines property,” regents documents stated.

The proceeds from the sale of the property will be used for student financial aid or for continued support of Des Moines area academic programming per the October 2015 Gift Agreement between the AIB and the UI.

RELATED: UI officially takes over AIB College of Business 

According to The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand conducted a special review of the sale of the property and determined it was proper and reasonable. The property had been assessed at more than a $20 million value, prompting Sand’s review of bids and consulting with the Polk County Assessor’s Office.

Sand concluded that the correct bidding process was followed and the highest bidder was selected by the UI, according to The Gazette.

“While the bid was below the assessed value, it is also my conclusion that the cause of that difference is that the assessed value was inaccurately high, rather than all the bids being suspiciously low,” Sand said in the report.

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