Two 29-bedroom houses are on sale for just $1 each

Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Rick Childress

For $1 a year, your student organization can pay the lease for one of the vacant fraternity houses on UK’s campus. But to actually move in, you’ll have to reliably be able to cough up a lot more than that.

The houses, 441 and 447 Pennsylvania Avenue, have been vacant since the two previous fraternities occupying them were removed earlier this fall semester for various violations. UK officials announced that they will be entering into a process to pick a potential student organization to take over the lease for the houses.

According to documents sent to all registered student organizations, the lease for each house costs $1, but the occupying organization will likely have to pay well over $100,000 per year to actually be able to stay permanently— a good portion of which is paid for by the revenue made from individual residents paying rent to the organization.

This is the reason why larger Greek organizations are typically able to live in such large on-campus houses, said Dean of Students Nick Kehrwald. Greek organizations usually have the money and the organizational structure to occupy larger campus houses. He said that a university committee will be tasked with looking through proposals from multiple student organizations wanting to move in, and they’ll likely choose the organizations who appear most able to fund house upkeep and actually thrive in the spaces.

According to one of the housing documents, the committee will give preference to groups who plan to stay at least five years. The first lease for both houses will begin on Feb. 1, 2019, but the organization does not have to move in on that date.

Both houses were opened in 2002 and come with large kitchens fit with commercial-size appliances and salad bars. Many of the rooms, including the kitchens and individual bedrooms, come with some furnishings. UK Physical Plant Division handles trash pickup and upkeep of the grounds. One of the houses, 441 Pennsylvania Avenue, is in need of some A/C repair.

Both houses have a capacity of 29 beds, and last school year, rent for an individual resident was about $2,600 per semester for a room shared with one other person, and according to one of the housing documents, rent will rise to $3,100 for the 2019-2020 school year. The rent revenue appears to help alleviate many of the housing expenses.

Proposals are due by Dec. 17, and the houses will be awarded to their respective new organizations by Jan. 14, 2019.