SHSU wants local land for ROTC
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 01:09
Tensions are rising between local property owner Tarek Maalouf and the SHSU administration.
The University wants to acquire land Maalouf recently purchased from the City of Huntsville. Maalouf’s black “Eminent Doom” signs stand scattershot across the front of Maalouf’s and his allies’ properties.
The sign’s message is a defiant allusion to the university’s eminent domain power, a longstanding practice that allows government entities to acquire private land without the owner’s permission. The only stipulations are that the previous owner is paid fair market value for his land and the land must be designated for public use.
SHSU’s desire to acquire the property stems from its updated master plan and the need for a new building to house the ROTC and Veteran’s Resource Center. Both are currently located in Academic Building III which is scheduled to be razed in 2016.
The disputed property is a 2.5-acre parcel at 2257 Sam Houston Ave., which had formerly been used as an Army Reserve facility. Two structures currently occupy the site: a 7,500 square feet red brick building and a 2,000 square feet metal unit used for vehicle storage.
According to SHSU Associate Director of Communications Julia May, the ROTC presently uses around 11,000 square feet of space at ABIII, but the university is prepared to renovate the existing structures if necessary to accommodate the program.
Maalouf purchased the property Aug. 20 from the City of Huntsville for $650,000 and has plans to develop the property into a mixed-use facility with both commercial and residential features.
Maalouf owns several properties in Huntsville totaling more than $1.5 million, according to the Walker County Appraisal District. He also owns Jaidyn’s and the Draft Bar.