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N.C. State Defends Plan To Sell Land Near Entertainment and Sports Arena

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RALEIGH — N.C. State Universityis defending its plan to sell more than 150 acres of prime real estate despite critics' opposition.

N.C. State may sell agricultural land near theEntertainment and Sports Arenafor as much as $14 million.

"Actually, we were a little surprised at what estimators told us this property would be worth," says Jim Oblinger, Dean ofN.C. State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

N.C. State has received criticism for eliminating 159 acres of greenspace, but it cannot get big agricultural equipment on the property anymore. In addition, trespassers have ruined its scientific value.

The university feels many aspects of the potential sale have not been explained.

"One, the mission-oriented nature of our college because we're at a land grant institution," Oblinger says. "Two, that we're gonna generate eight times the greenspace, and three, we're not making a single cent off this deal."

Proceeds from the sale of the land will add 275 acres of greenspace to property N.C. State already owns off Lake Wheeler Road, pleasing development-weary residents nearby.

"We sit in traffic at least 45 minutes on Lake Wheeler Road in the mornings going to work," says homeowner Bonnie Salmon.

Still, critics say the land could have been saved.

"The state has owned so much land that's had so much potential and by not planning for the open space values of it, they have chopped it all up," says Kate Dixon of Triangle Land Conservancy. "Now, they can say, 'Well, that 159 acres wasn't worth anything.'"

The proceeds from the deal should create 1,300 acres of open space.