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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 16, 201808:23 PM EST

UNF seeks $380,000 loan for Barnett campus

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University plans entrepreneurial incubation center.
by: David Cawton Staff Writer

The Downtown Investment Authority takes up a $380,000 loan Wednesday for the University of North Florida to build-out a Downtown satellite campus in the Barnett Bank Building.

The DIA will meet at 2:30 p.m. in the Lynwood Roberts Room at City Hall.

The Barnett Bank Building at 112 W. Adams St. is being redeveloped into a mixed-use office, retail, education and housing development by SouthEast Development Group and The Molasky Group of Cos.

UNF said in October it plans to lease the space to create the Entrepreneurial Development and Business Incubation Center and to house undergraduate and graduate-level classes.

According to a term sheet filled with the DIA, the state school plans to lease up to 13,306 square feet on the fourth and fifth floors of the 18-story building.

For the first three years, UNF will pay $1 per square foot, or $1,108.83 per month. The next two years, the school will pay $20 per square foot, for a total annual lease of $266,120.

The school plans to employ 10 faculty and staff members along with 20 students who will participate in entrepreneurial programs.

In October, Dean Mark Dawkins of the UNF Coggin College of Business said participants would be able to pitch ideas to a panel of experts for a chance to win up to a year of free space at the center for vetting and developing their ideas.

Those in the program would have access to mentors and experts, and could land private investment for their ideas.

In addition to the incubator program, a campus is being created “with the adult working professional in mind,” according to the term sheet, and will offer evening classes, hybrid options and undergraduate and graduate programs.

The total build-out could cost as much as $1.4 million.

Build-out costs include $5,000 in furniture and equipment for a reception area; $15,000 for a conference room; $20,000 to outfit 10 offices with desks, chairs, bookshelves and electronic equipment; $1,000 for a kitchen; $1,000 for a student lounge; $8,000 for UNF signage on the ground, fourth and fifth floors of the building; and $10,000 in electrical work.

The bulk of the build-out costs will be spent on four classrooms, at $80,000 per room. That includes 30 desks, videoconferencing equipment, computers, smartboards, sliding shared walls and other equipment.

The school expects 120-150 students at its peak.  

UNF students and faculty would have access to discounted $3 daily parking vouchers for city-owned lots.

The five-year loan could be forgiven if UNF meets certain requirements.

For the loan to be forgiven, at 1.667 percent per month, UNF would have to enroll 36 students during the first semester; 72 students by the second semester; and have 108 students continuously enrolled thereafter.

The loan becomes void if both sides can’t come to an agreement by March 15.

Developer Steve Atkins is the president of SouthEast Development Group.

In addition to the Barnett Building, SouthEast Development Group intends to renovate the adjacent Laura Street Trio and construct a 600-space parking garage at Laura and Forsyth streets.

Construction on the estimated $90 million group of projects began in October. The Barnett is expected to take at least 14 months. Danis Builders LLC is overseeing the restoration.

It will feature a retail bank as its anchor tenant, a coffee shop and offices. The top floors will be reserved for about 100 market-rate apartments.

In November, a project manager with Philadelphia Signs sent renderings to a city site plans examiner and the DIA that show JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the anchor tenant. However, no agreement has been confirmed.

The Downtown Development Review Board is reviewing designs for the parking garage.

The adjacent Laura Street Trio will be the last project to begin construction and will feature a Marriott-branded hotel, a high-end restaurant and bar and an urban grocery store.

The Atkins group received $9.8 million in financial incentives to complete the restoration in five years, according to the economic development agreement it reached with the city last year.

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