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High-Profile U of L Donations Come Via Property

J. Tyler Franklin

Two weeks ago, the University of Louisville Foundation took ownership of a building housing a Bed, Bath & Beyond store, a property transfer that satisfied most of a $10 million gift made to the college.

But it’s not the only recent donation of valuable real estate to U of L.

A $1.5 million gift from former University of Louisville Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Hughes and his wife Joyce to the university foundation took the form of their house in Murray.

The Hugheses, both of whom are doctors, made the gift pledge in December 2014. Documents obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting show that, although they deeded their home to the foundation, they will continue to live in the house through 2019. The house and eight acres of land were valued at $1.4 million.

Dr. Hughes joined the U of L board in 2005 and will serve until June 2017. He is also chairman of the U of L Foundation.

Gifts of real estate to universities are common. Most of the $10 million gift from Louisville developer J.D. Nichols to U of L has taken the form of property in St. Matthews. A deed filed Dec. 30 in the Jefferson County Clerk’s office shows that the property given by NTS Realty Holdings L.P. to the U of L Foundation is worth $7 million.

The property consists of the portion of the Springs Station retail center housing a Bed, Bath & Beyond store. The center, at Breckenridge and Dutchmans lanes, also has a Home Depot, Hobby Lobby and Books-A-Million, none of which were part of the gift.

“This is the initial payment toward that $10 million pledge,” said U of L spokesman John Karman. “Our independent appraisal put the value of that building and property at $7 million.”

Read the document.

Reporter James McNair can be reached at jmcnair@kycir.org and (502) 814-6543.

Disclosure: In October 2014, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $10,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation.

This story was reported by WFPL's Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

James McNair is a veteran investigative reporter who specializes in business and finance issues.