At least two property owners have chosen not to respond to offers from the University of North Texas System to buy their businesses along Avenue C.
The university sent offer letters to buy four properties along the edge of campus June 21, giving owners 30 days to respond to the initial offers by either accepting or proposing a counteroffer. If deals aren’t reached, the university has the power of eminent domain to acquire the properties after the Board of Regents unanimously approved the use of eminent domain in February.
The affected properties are Eagle Car Wash, 903 Kendolph St.; Campus Bookstore, 902 Ave. C; New York Sub Hub and Naranja Cafe, at 906 Ave. C; and Oriental Express, 1000 Ave. C.
Hunter Christiansen, owner of New York Sub Hub, and Luna Li, owner of the property that houses Oriental Express, have let the deadline pass as they try to figure out their next steps.
“I’m just going to keep making noise,” Christiansen said. “I’m not done, so they can’t just weather that storm. The storm will keep going.”
Now that the initial 30-day period has expired, the university can send final offers that trigger a new deadline — 14 days to respond before heading to court to begin eminent domain proceedings, said Josh Westrom, a Denton-based eminent domain attorney.
The university is not at the point of sending a final offer letter, though, said Leigh Anne Gullett, a spokeswoman for the university.
Officials are waiting a few days in case items are in transit, then will evaluate the responses before figuring out their next steps to acquire the properties, she said.
Christiansen said he has spoken with a lawyer, and he and other property owners plan to meet in the coming weeks to decide how to proceed.
In the meantime, more than 22,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to back the business and urge UNT to leave New York Sub Hub and other businesses alone.
“It feels great that there are 22,000 people and counting that believe this particular situation is not right and is unjust,” he said.