In a deal that was quietly approved in 2001, Temple University purchased a $1.25 million condominium on Rittenhouse Square for the use of President David Adamany.
The University also earmarked up to $100,000 to renovate the three-bedroom unit. The executive committee of Temple’s Board of Trustees approved the purchase at a January 2001 meeting.
Adamany said the condo, which was purchased after he began his tenure as president in 2000, was necessary to provide a place for him to entertain wealthy donors and other Temple supporters.
“The Board of Trustees felt it was important for us to be able to provide good quality of entertainment for those interested in Temple,” he said.
Adamany wanted a residence where he could hold dinners for university fundraising and other professional functions, said Temple’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Marty Dorph. Adamany said catered dinners are held about once a month in the residence, which is located at 1820 Rittenhouse Square.
“Adamany was very adamant that he would have to do a lot of professional dinners,” Dorph said.
Adamany, whose salary this year is $410,180, pays the University $2,375 a month plus costs for the condo. The costs include real estate taxes and condo fees, according to Dorph.
University officials refused to provide a detailed breakdown of what Adamany is paying. But a review of city tax records and interviews with real estate agents show the real estate tax on the unit is $1,272 a month and the condo fees are about $1,600 a month.
For Adamany, this adds up to a monthly bill of $5,250, a substantial discount on the rental or mortgage costs for a $1.25 million condo on Rittenhouse Square.
A real estate agent, who asked not to be identified, said at the time of the sale similar units in Rittenhouse were renting for around $6,000 a month and now would be going for about $10,000 a month.
Adamany also saved on the costs of buying his own home.
The University paid cash for the condo. If Adamany were to buy a $1.25 million condo, he would likely have to take out a mortgage and come up with a large down payment. Most lenders require a down payment between 5 and 20 percent. For a $1.25 million property, that would be between $62,500 and $250,000.
Adamany and Dorph refused to comment on the president’s exact payment, but neither disputed the $5,250 rent figure. Dorph said the costs are “primarily” the condo fees and real estate taxes.
The 3,200 square-foot condo has three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a living room, a dining room and an eat-in kitchen. It is located in one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. The condo is in one of the three most expensive buildings on the square, according to real estate agents.
The University did not consider a North Philadelphia location, Dorph said.
“There wasn’t anything on campus that would work,” he said.
Adamany’s condo is a first for a Temple president.
There is no official residence for the president on Temple’s campuses. Former Temple presidents Peter Liacouras and Marvin Wachman purchased and lived in their own homes.
Perks like expensive homes are becoming more common at universities, according to a higher education expert.
“These kinds of job-related perks are now more or less standard in higher education,” said Marvin Leverson, co-chair of the graduate higher education department at the University of Pennsylvania. “It follows a long-term trend in the corporate sector. University presidents are increasingly seen as the chief executive officer.”
Many universities have homes for their presidents, although most are located on campus.
Adamany came to Temple in 2000 after a one-year stint running the Detroit public school system. Prior to that, he spent 15 years as president of Wayne State University in Detroit.
He initially lived in an apartment on Rittenhouse Square, and moved into the condo during the next year.
The University bought the condo because it was in a secure location with parking, Dorph said. He said they also wanted a property that would “hold value” if Temple wanted to sell it in the future.
Similar units in the building have recently sold for $2.4 million, according to Mary Genovese Colvin, the real estate agent who sold the condo to the University in 2001.
“[Temple] made a very good investment,” she said.
It is unclear what the University will do with the condo once Adamany’s tenure is over.
“We didn’t buy this to be every president’s residence,” Dorph said.
Adamany said he would like to “eventually have my own place to live.”
“For the moment, it’s not feasible for me to do that because there would be no place for me to do university entertaining,” he said.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.