OU campus

Joe Buettner / The Transcript

A University of Oklahoma banner hangs on the Norman campus.

The University of Oklahoma is partnering with the Chickasaw Nation to fully acquire Cross Village, the embattled upperclassmen living facility that will now offer the university a fall housing solution.

The Chickasaw Nation’s Sovereign Properties Holdco, LLC will pick up the land lease for Cross and lease the complex to OU until the university “secures its own financing,” according to OU.

The acquisition of Cross feeds into OU’s larger plan for freshman housing, announced and approved at a Board of Regents meeting in March.

OU plans to replace Walker, Couch and Adams towers, decades-old freshman housing structures that have reportedly experienced significant mold problems in recent years. OU President Joe Harroz said at the March 5 regents meeting that he’s not yet sure what the replacement housing will look like, but that OU has contracted an architectural firm to guide the process.

With Cross now available to OU, the university can move freshmen into the housing complex in the fall and begin tearing down Adams Tower this summer without worrying about displacing freshmen, according to the university. The solution fast tracks OU’s plan to replace Adams by 2025.

“The Chickasaw Nation is honored to play a role in the resolution of the issues surrounding this much-needed asset,” Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said in a statement. “We view our long-standing relationship with the University of Oklahoma as an investment in academic excellence. We are confident our investment in OU and other academic communities across the state will bring returns in the form of greater opportunities for student success for generations to come.”

Sovereign Properties Holdco, LLC acquires the lease for Cross from Provident Oklahoma Education Resources Inc., OU’s original partner on Cross Village and the property’s owner. Provident was suing the university on claims that OU misrepresented the demand for housing at Cross and the profit the development could produce.

According to OU, this new agreement between OU, Provident and Sovereign Properties will resolve that lawsuit and any standing issues between Provident and the university. OU will lease Cross from Sovereign Properties until the university can issue new bonds and find its own financing.

The deal will only be official when approved by the Board of Regents, which next meets in May.

Emma Keith covers Norman Public Schools and the University of Oklahoma for The Transcript. Reach her at ekeith@normantranscript.com or at @emma_ckeith.

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Emma Keith covers the coronavirus pandemic and education for The Norman Transcript, with a focus on Norman Public Schools and The University of Oklahoma. She is a 2019 OU graduate.