The negotiations over the past few months have been secret by necessity, Payne said, allowing Paradigm and RCL time to buy up properties so they could complete the deal with WVU without creating a holdout situation where one person demanded more money.
"I think the people did a wonderful job of going out there and doing this, and keeping it quiet," he said.
While none of the buildings included in the sales agreement is especially valuable, the land itself is increasingly desirable, said Jim Hunt, former executive director of a redevelopment initiative called Sunnyside Up.
Recent construction projects have increased the population density, creating a shortage of housing near campus, he said. That forces many to live far off campus and commute.
"Living eight miles out of town and driving in on a bus is not the college experience to me," he said.
This is the latest in a string of big real estate deals for the university.
Just last month, WVU acquired more than 25 acres, including rental properties, three other lots and an unoccupied apartment building, for about $10 million. Last year, WVU bought the Augusta apartment complex property out of bankruptcy for $13.1 million.
WVU says the Sunnyside parcels are "uniquely positioned to meet critical current and future needs of WVU" and part of a plan to increase the number of beds for students from 6,000 to 7,600.
WVU has been aggressive about acquiring property when it makes sense, and Payne said people should expect that to continue "where it makes sense for the university and the city," particularly around the Evansdale campus.