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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Oct. 7, 201412:00 PM EST

University of North Florida buys student apartments for $30M

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by: Carole Hawkins

The University of North Florida, crunched for student housing, has picked up an apartment complex for $30 million across the street from its campus.

The university bought The Flats at Kernan from Vestcor Communities Inc. last week. The 144-unit luxury student complex at 4850 First Coast Technology Parkway includes a pool, spa and fitness center.

“We had a higher demand this year for housing, so we need additional housing,” said Shari Shuman, CFO for the university. “This opportunity fit right into our plan.”

The Flats adds 480 beds to the 3,000 already on campus. Last year, 150 upperclassmen seeking on-campus housing were put on a wait list, Shuman said, and 200 freshmen where housed in “triples,” or dorm rooms refitted with three beds.

Compass Mortgage Corp. issued a $26.2 million mortgage to The University of North Florida Financing Corp.

Will Morgan, president of Vestcor Communities, said it was his company’s intention from the beginning to develop the property, hold it and sell it at a later time.

Vestcor bought the parcel as vacant land in 2007 for $5.75 million, property records show.

UNF has now purchased all four developed properties in the First Coast Tech Park, a research park created for the benefit of the university.

The other three include a former AOL call center, The Auchter Co. headquarters and the ADT Security Services Inc. building.

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