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UNF Spinnaker

Bargaining underway for purchase of ADT building

UNF is currently negotiating the tentative purchase of the ADT Security Services security building located on Kernan Boulevard, and negotiations will most likely be completed by the end of the end of this month, UNF officials said.

The proposed purchase price for the 55,000 square foot building is currently $4.75 million, plus closing costs, which have yet to be finalized.

Several issues still need resolution, such as the closing date, who will pay certain closing costs and who will handle the land survey, title insurance and environmental reports, said Chris Wrenn, associate general counsel.

The university began considering the tentative purchase in summer 2009 and negotiations peaked in late fall 2009. The next step is the signing of the contract, which is contingent upon approval by the Board of Trustees.

The ADT building would be the third and final building in the research park next to campus that UNF had purchased.

“It’s a piece of the puzzle that fits in very well to the plans for the campus in the future,” Wrenn said.

Eleven years into the future to be exact, as ADT has a contract to occupy the building until 2021. Because of this contract, UNF won’t be able to use the building until 2021, unless ADT terminates the lease early.

UNF, as a public institution, is also limited in how it can pay for the building since it’s currently under private use.

“We’re not allowed to construct or do construction with state revenue that is priced for education purposes,” said Shari Shuman, vice president of administration and finance.

UNF’s proposed plan would use a direct support organization, TSI — training and services institute — to pay for the initial costs, which the UNF Foundation would eventually reimburse it for. The foundation would keep it as an investment that earns 4.5 percent interest.

After ADT’s contract transfers to UNF, the university would be able to reimburse the foundation, which would no longer invest in the building, Shuman said.

UNF Foundation’s board of directors manages donations to the university. The foundation has helped finance student housing, parking garages, Alumni Hall and most scholarships, fellowships and professorships.

Administrators currently don’t know how UNF will use the ADT building and won’t know until it’s included in UNF’s Master Plan. The Master Plan will be updated twice before 2021, and the next evaluation is in 2015.

“[By then] we’ll have an even better idea of how we could utilize that building based on the academic programs and how they’ve grown,” Shuman said.

But some possibilities for the building include expanding the continuing education program and the University Center or moving administrative offices into the building. The university could also turn it into a hotel, Shuman said.

Although it may appear as though UNF has a lot of land to grow on, most of it is conservation and wetlands, so purchasing property around campus is crucial, Wrenn said.

Wrenn said moving administrative departments to acquired buildings opens up classroom space and gets students closer to the Student Union, which he thinks is slowly becoming the center of campus.

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