The University’s Stadium Village plans

As the University buys more real estate, it shouldn’t leave the community wondering why.

The University of Minnesota’s unusual partnership with a local developer could spell big changes to Stadium Village, but the University community needs more information to justify buying a hotel and the lease to a Chinese restaurant.

In conjunction with United Properties, the University now owns the Days Inn on University Avenue as well as the lease to the neighboring Tea House restaurant. While the developer and the University decide what to do with their new purchase — valued at $12 million — they’ll operate the hotel and collect rent from the restaurant, likely through 2019.

It’s a strange agreement that could have huge implications for the East Bank campus. The school has added several research buildings in the area north of TCF Bank Stadium, and the Days Inn sits on the only land not owned by the University for about two blocks east of the stadium. With the last piece of the puzzle in place — the light rail Green Line opening this summer and several high-profile student housing projects sprouting up through 2015 — Stadium Village is set to change completely, and the University is staking an early claim.

While it’s exciting to see denser redevelopment in a severely underutilized area so close to transit, we’re apprehensive about the purchase.

It’s not clear what will replace the Days Inn and Tea House — academic buildings, offices, housing, even another hotel — and the involvement of a third-party developer makes things even murkier. While it’s unreasonable to demand a concrete plan for the area now, we’re uncomfortable with the University buying land for the sake of having it.