Washburn University Foundation buys shopping center with eye to future

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Washburn University Foundation says it's looking to the future in taking over property near campus that's home to several businesses.

The Foundation announced Monday it purchased the commercial land southeast of SW 21st and Washburn Ave. It includes property south of 21st to the Washburn Auto Service Center and east to Buchanan Ave.

“A number of months ago, we were approached regarding our interest in purchasing this property,” said JuliAnn Mazachek, Washburn University Foundation President. “Working with the architect of the University’s master plan, we looked at the strategic possibility for this property and long-term potential for the future expansion of the Washburn campus.”

In addition to the service center, businesses encompassed by the area include Henry T's restaurant, World Cup Espresso and Family Dollar. Roach True Value Hardware also is within the boundary, however a Foundation spokesperson said it is not part of the acquisition.

Mazachek said all current leases will continue and the current property management company also will continue in its role. The Foundation established Impact Asset Management, LLC to acquire, hold and manage the property.

Mazachek said the purchase is an investment in the neighborhood surrounding Washburn, while providing financial support for the school.

“This is truly a new, entrepreneurial endeavor that will benefit Washburn University,” Mazachek said. “This is an opportunity to provide for long-term expansion of the campus while providing positive financial returns to continue to support Washburn University."

A Foundation spokesperson said there are not immediate plans to expand on the property, saying the vision is for 25 to 50 years down the road.