Grocery store home for UA fraternity
Seventeen bedrooms, eight-and-a-half bathrooms and 5,100 square feet. This house may sound like a mansion, but it’s actually a renovated grocery store where one group of students has found a home.
When Jarrett Reidhead, a designated broker at Tucson Integrity Realty, found the property at the corner of First Avenue and Drachman Street, it was originally a grocery store and laundromat that had gone out of business. Reidhead bought the property and decided to convert it into a large home. The process took four-and-a-half months.
“I wanted a property where students could all meet together, live together and enjoy being together,” Reidhead said.
Reidhead isn’t new to the university housing scene. He owns two other properties in Tucson: a 17-bedroom home on Sixth Street that he rents to the Zeta Beta Tau and Alpha Sigma Phi fraternities and a duplex on Seventh Street currently occupied by the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity.
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat
The demand for Reidhead’s most recent property came when the UA’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house was closed in March, leaving its members homeless for the fall.
“We were all kind of scrambling,” said Hunter Carreira, a pre-business sophomore and member of Pi Kappa Phi. “We heard about this house from Sigma Alpha Epsilon, who lived here last year.”
Carreira started researching homes later that day. When he found Reidhead’s house, he said, it sounded like the perfect fit. The fraternity put down a security deposit and moved into the house on Aug. 1. Getting an entire fraternity moved into a house was an unorganized process, he said.
“It was nuts moving in,” Carreria said. “There were 20 people getting their stuff organized. There were boxes, bed frames and mini refrigerators everywhere.”
Inside, the house offers a spacious kitchen and living room area where the residents hang out together. The long island serves as a “bar” where the residents eat. One corner of the living area is home to five TVs, a projector and screen and a booth similar to those found in restaurants. Two long hallways lead to the house’s bedrooms, and the back patio hosts a hot tub.
With all the space, some residents admit that the house can be hard to keep clean.
“It’s a jungle,” said Dominic Roncace, an arts, media and entertainment sophomore. “There is no kitchen; it’s a black hole of dirty dishes and smelly things.”
One of the biggest issues in the home is greed, said resident Dominic Hayden, a physiology sophomore.
“Anything that is left out in the main room is up for grabs,” he said. “When living with so many of your friends, it’s hard not to rage.”
Though the house has been described as a club on the weekends, the residents said they feel lucky to have found a home — especially one that’s fostered the type of relationship the tenants now have with each other.
“It’s easy to study for tests, and it’s so much fun,” Carreira said. “I’m closer with all these kids than the people I was friends with in high school for four years.”