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University Apartments in Durham sold

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University Apartments on Duke University Road has been sold to Capstone Development, a Birmingham, Ala.-based company that focuses exclusively on developing and renovating student housing.

University Associates, which is part of the real estate firm Reilly Mortgage Group of McLean, Va., sold the property. Wells Fargo purchased Reilly Mortgage Group in 2006. RPM has been the management company.

The Durham County Register of Deeds has no record of the sale, but a Capstone spokesman confirmed the company has closed on the four-acre site. According to Durham County tax records, the property was most recently assessed in January at a value of $3.9 million. The last tax bill was $48,847; it has been paid in full.

Aging yet handsome, the brick apartments were built in 1938 and feature high ceilings, huge windows and radiator heat. At least 80 people, mostly non-students, live in the apartment complex. Rents range from $565 to $650. The property owner paid for heat and water.

Hannah Peele, who has lived at University Apartments for two years, said no one has formally contacted residents about the property sale. "Half of the community doesn't even know there are new owners," she said.

According to an e-mail obtained by the Indy from someone knowledgeable about the sale, the apartments will be renovated and residents will be moved into vacant apartments during construction.

Peele said residents who have learned of the sale are concerned they will be forced to move, either as a result of the renovations or because of higher rents.

A Capstone spokesman could not comment on the company’s plans for the site, but referred the Indy to its project manager, who is out of the office until Monday.

"It's a very tolerant community," said Peele. "It's a great group of people."

Check back for updates.

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