GW has made offers on two other fraternity houses along G Street. But discussions with Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Chi have failed, according to University and Sigma Chi officials.
No offers have been made for the Delta Tau Delta house, fraternity officials said.
Michael Peller, managing director of Property Management and Real Estate at GW, said he talked with members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon about their options “in light of their current situation.” The District condemned the 2034 G St. house in August for unspecified health and safety violations.
“We’ve had discussions with (Sigma Alpha Epsilon),” Peller said. “They’ve basically chosen to go in different directions.”
Sigma Chi Grand Trustee Bruce Morgan Casner, a member of the fraternity’s housing board, said the University has offered to buy Sigma Chi’s 2004 G St. house three times since 1994. He said the most serious discussions took place in 1994, when the fraternity was in good standing with the University.
GW offered less money in 1998 when rumors circulated that Sigma Chi would lose recognition in the future, Casner said. He said an offer last year after Sigma Chi lost its charter was even lower.
“They certainly didn’t meet what we anticipated and they certainly didn’t approach even in a meaningful way the value on the house on the evidence of the appraisal we did on it,” Casner said about discussions with GW in June. “The earlier offers were better than recent ones.”
Negotiations for fraternity houses have included offers to participate in a proposed Greek Village along 23rd Street that would mix residence hall living with fraternity housing. Although the University is still drawing plans for the village, GW included the idea of leasing a space in it to Sigma Chi during negotiations as far back as 1998, Casner said.
Casner said the fraternity will not exchange owning a property with renting.
“If we’re going to move, we want to own it,” Casner said.
The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity holds a three-year lease on Sigma Chi’s house with an option to extend two more years, Casner said. He said the housing corporation expects to put a Sigma Chi colony in the house to apply for University recognition within five years.
“We fully expect within the next five years to have a group in place in that property and gain recognition by the University,” Casner said.
Jared David, president of the Interfraternity Council, said he expects Sigma Chi will take the same route as Sigma Nu if the group fails to get University recognition.
“If Sigma Chi doesn’t come back, the University will probably buy the house,” he said.
Peller said he thinks Sigma Nu would be interested in participating in the Greek Village, but McElwaine said the fraternity will own its own house as long as it is financially possible.
“I can’t see us likely in a Greek Village,” McElwaine
GW has not proposed to buy the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house at 2020 G St., but any offers will be refused, fraternity president Bob Simon said.
“I guarantee we’ll be the last ones to sell,” Simon said.
Scott Lutz, chairman of Delta Tau Delta’s housing corporation, said the group has no plans of selling.
“We are a very proud chapter on G Street,” he said. “We have no intention of going anywhere.”
Delta Tau Delta’s refusal to sell could complicate plans University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg has to convert the block of G Street between 21st and 22nd streets into academic space. Trachtenberg has no concrete plans for the block, according to a Nov. 22, 1999 Hatchet article.
McElwaine said students should not expect to see an academic facility spanning where a more significant fraternity row once stood decades ago.
“I don’t think the University will have that whole block for a while,” McElwaine said.