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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jun. 25, 201412:00 PM EST

JU confirms waterfront dorms


Jacksonville University confirmed late Wednesday that it will expand north of its 200-acre Arlington campus by adding a 274-person riverfront dorm to be completed in fall 2015.

JU said it completed agreements with Rimrock Devlin LLC to develop the new housing.

The announcement comes the same day JU confirmed it bought 40 acres of riverfront property immediately south of its campus. It also is adding campus dining options, a football/lacrosse stadium and a $1 million expansion of the University’s River House student center.

In May, the Daily Record reported plans for the 60-acre Dolphin Reef development north of the campus whose first phase is envisioned as a dorm targeted for first-year students. Developer Rimrock Devlin LLC wants to buy the property and work with JU.

Jacksonville University President Tim Cost said Wednesday morning that the purchase of the Boys’ Home Association Inc. property south of the Arlington campus adds land considered a “top priority.”

Cost, who has pledged to improve the community surrounding the Arlington institution, said in a news release that the riverfront property is JU’s largest acquisition in more than 50 years.

JU paid almost $3.33 million for the 38.6 acres in a deed made June 16 and recorded Tuesday with the Duval County Clerk of Court.

The boys’ home property is at 2354 University Blvd. N., just south of JU at 2800 University Blvd. N. The home closed several years ago.

“The purchase of this valuable parcel of land for future development is significant,” Cost said.

“It allows Jacksonville University to continue to expand its borders both physically and programmatically. It also allows the university to expand on our mission to create enhanced spaces for learning and growth for our current and future students,” he said in the release.

Cost said announcements about projects and timelines will be coming on the property, but did not say when.

“We believe our plans for the property will honor both organizations’ commitments to the neighborhood of Arlington and, more broadly, the entire region,” he said.

Cost, who started the job in February 2013, has said from the beginning that he wants to revitalize the 198-acre campus as well as work with the community. He said the university was looking at adjacent property for development.

In April, Cost said he was considering acquiring property south, north, east and northeast of the campus and was working with city leaders on the appearance and safety of the neighborhood surrounding the school.

JU, a private, liberal-arts institution, was founded in 1934. Its 4,203 students come from 48 states and more than 40 countries.

The university is raising funds for its $120 million ASPIRE campaign for university improvements. More than $56 million has been received or pledged.

Cost has said he intends to roll out the community efforts this summer. He did not say how much money the Arlington investment might be, but said $20 million has been invested in the campus alone.

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