The Arizona Board of Regents has approved the acquisition of the Granny’s Closet property and surrounding area by Northern Arizona University.
“NAU has not made any decision or put together any plan for the property,” said NAU spokesperson Kimberly Ott, adding that now that ABOR has approved the purchase of the property, the university can utilize the property as it sees fit without having to again seek ABOR approval.
The property is just across West Butler Avenue from campus and nearly adjacent to the Hub, a student housing complex set to open this fall.
According to ABOR documents, “transferring ownership from the NAU Foundation to the University will allow for the University to better manage the real property and will better position NAU to manage its anticipated future growth and needed facilities.”
Northern Arizona Real Estate Holdings, which works on behalf of the NAU Foundation, bought the property from the the Zanzucchi family on April 15 of this year. NAREH is organized to finance, acquire, develop and operate real estate investments on behalf of the NAU Foundation, which takes in private donations to help fund the university.
But now the university wants to take direct control of the 1.26-acre property. As such, they asked ABOR to let NAU buy the property from the foundation for $4,914,000 plus 5 percent interest over the next 20 years.
Now that ABOR has approved the purchase, Ott said, NAU will be able to make the decision of what to do with the property on their own and won’t need additional approval from ABOR.
In addition to the former Granny’s Closet building, there are also three occupied month-to-month rental houses on the property. The four parcels are located at 218 S. Milton Road and 35 S. Mike's Pike St.
Two appraisals from third parties hired by the university valued the property at $4,100,000 and $5,200,000, and NAU has also conducted an initial environmental study that showed no concerns with the property.
Granny's Closet, a Flagstaff mainstay for decades, closed in late 2016 and has been on the market ever since. The closure came as a shock to many; several employees learned of the closure only a week beforehand and at least some had their final paychecks bounce.
On April 28 of last year, the restaurant was cleared out and everything was auctioned off, other than the tractor and the 10-foot lumberjack statue outside that hearkened back to the time that the building was called the Lumberjack Café.