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Duke Buys 'Party Houses' Off-Campus With Renovation Plans

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DURHAM, N.C. — Trinity Park is known for its grand old homes and quiet charm. Sitting on the edge of Duke University's East Campus, the neighborhood is also known for its wild parties.

"At night, we'd be awakened at 2-3 in the morning," said neighbor Robert Appleby.

"Lots of trash -- lots of trash and right in our front yard," said Faulkner Fox.

Groups of Duke students rent houses in the area. In recent years, neighbors have complained about growing trash problems and wild late-night bashes. Police broke up a party at one house where booze and bikini clad coeds mingled in a pool filled with baby oil.

"They weren't very neighborly, let's put it that way," said Appleby.

Duke has just paid nearly $4 million to buy a dozen of these known "party houses". The university plans to fix them up, then sell them to single family homeowners.

"I think it should reduce some of the tensions between our students and the neighbors," said Duke spokesman John Burness.

Burness said the idea isn't just to push students out -- it's to bring homeowners into the area. He said creating stable neighborhoods around the campus is a top priority. And while Duke doesn't plan to make money on the deal, it does hope to mend a few fences.

Duke will honor the current leases on the homes. Once they expire, minor repairs will be made and the homes will be put on the market. The sales will carry a stipulation: the owner must live in the house.

This isn't the first time the university is venturing into the real estate business. Several years ago, Duke built single-family homes and townhouses in the Trinity Heights neighborhood. They sold them to staff and faculty.


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