November 11, 2015

A House in the Mountains

Written by Greg Buehner

Everybody wants a house in the mountains. Certainly, that was the desire for both alumni and students of Pi Kappa Phi's Eta Gamma Chapter in Boulder, CO.

Fraternity housing can be quite challenging to acquire on any campus. Couple that with strict development and zoning requirements and that challenge becomes even more difficult. Since Eta Gamma chapter's founding in 1991, the chapter had found opportunities to lease properties for a few years at a time before having to move to another leased property. Always searching for a more permanent solution to their housing issue, Eta Gamma continued to see developers scoop up prime fraternity housing opportunities for redevelopment into apartments or condominiums.

From 2006-2014, Eta Gamma found a lot of success in leasing the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity house. The eight year stretch gave the chapter a lot of stability in housing, however, they knew a time would come when they would have to move on from the property. In 2013, knowing that housing was a major undertaking, Eta Gamma Housing Corporation, under the direction of Housing Corporation President Preston Johnson hired a local real estate broker to help find options for future chapter housing.

Options were limited and over the nearly two year search, few opportunities were found. Then, in late 2014, an off market property was identified. The Eta Gamma Housing Corporation in working with Pi Kappa Phi Properties were able to get the property under contract for a June 2015 closing.

Through the due diligence process, Properties staff along with Eta Gamma Housing Corporation worked to make sure that proper steps would be taken to secure the fraternity's use. Utilizing local attorneys and architects, a plan was put into place for a summer post-closing renovation to the building for a fall occupancy. Shortly after closing, the city of Boulder added additional challenges to the renovation project which delayed the chapter taking occupancy of the building. Construction delays would require student chapter members to move into a local hotel for over a month before the property was ready for occupancy.

In October 2015, the chapter successfully moved into the property as fall recruitment started. The 130 man chapter successfully recruited a 40 man pledge class. The property, which sleeps 18 men is well located across from the University of Colorado campus, sleeps 18 men and has a fully functioning commercial kitchen service operation.

Many challenges come with fraternity housing acquisition and certainly that was the case for Eta Gamma. The chapter, alumni and Pi Kappa Phi Properties look forward to successful years ahead in Boulder with the addition of a well located chapter property.

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