- Associated Press - Friday, January 13, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - A Chicago-based Catholic university will pay a Phoenix suburb $4 million for closing its downtown campus and vacating a building the city built for the school.

Saint Xavier University has reached an agreement with the city of Gilbert to terminate its lease in its city-owned building, The Arizona Republic reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/2ikI4C6). Saint Xavier announced in May that it would close its Gilbert campus at the end of 2016, citing financial challenges. The town will assume control of the building by Jan. 17.

“The university has worked closely with the town of Gilbert during the past 6 months to assist in a thoughtful, smooth, and efficient transition,” Saint Xavier officials said in a prepared statement. “The agreement reached with the town of Gilbert on Jan. 5, 2017, constitutes the final step in this transition process.”

The $4 million payment represents 18 months of rent plus $250,000 in damages.

The agreement will allow Gilbert to find a new tenant for the building, which cost $37 million and opened in August 2015. The four-story building was financed with town-issued revenue bonds, which were to be repaid with money generated by the university’s lease payments.

Gilbert Attorney Michael Hamblin said in a statement that the town has received interest in the building and is in talks with several institutions interested in coming to Gilbert.

Gilbert is confident that another higher-education institution will occupy the university building in the Heritage District and enhance the educational opportunities for residents of Gilbert and in the region,” the statement said.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

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