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The University Club, decorated for the holidays, is wrapping up operations this weekend in Riverplace Tower after almost 50 years in business.
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Dec. 15, 201612:00 PM EST

Wrapping up a half-century at The University Club


Art, furniture and fixtures have been auctioned and the fitness facilities are closed.

The University Club is winding down this weekend at the top of Riverplace Tower on the Downtown Southbank of the St. Johns River.

The club’s December calendar, labeled “Thanks for the Memories,” lists a farewell party at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for members and an employee send-off event Sunday.

Until then, there also will be an ugly-sweater contest Friday night, with a chance to win a piece of club memorabilia.

The Saturday party’s theme is “Through the Decades – 1968-2016” to mark the club’s time in Jacksonville.

“Dress how you will, but keep it classy!” the calendar requests.

It features heavy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and “lots of merriment!”

At 6 p.m. Sunday, members are invited to attend “accolades for excellence.” Members are asked to bring a dish or drink to share and to serve to the staff.

That’s the last event on the club’s calendar.

On Dec. 19, buyers are asked to pick up the furniture, artwork, fixtures, doors and other items that were auctioned Dec. 3.

The fitness facilities closed Nov. 30. That equipment also was auctioned.

The auctioneer said everything must go by Dec. 27 because that’s when the club must be out of the building.

The weekend ends the process announced in mid-September when owner ClubCorp of Dallas notified members the club would close Dec. 20 after 48 years in business.

A board member said at the time there were about 925 dues-paying members and about 50 employees.

A letter to members from the regional vice president of ClubCorp in September said closing was a business decision that was not easy, but one that is necessary.

Dining and club functions occupy the 27th floor of Riverplace Tower, with former athletic facilities on the 28th floor and a fitness center on the ground-floor concourse level.

Building owner Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners said it would convert the club’s top two floors at 1301 Riverplace Tower into about 22,500 square feet of premier office space.

Landlord representatives also said a fitness center would be an amenity for building tenants.

Occupancy in the 441,000-square-foot tower has risen from 63 percent in October 2014 to 85 percent a month ago, when the building was sold by a partnership of Fortress Investment Group LLC and Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners to a group led by Lingerfelt CommonWealth.

Fortress said the partnership made capital improvements to the property and leased more than 170,000 square feet of office space, including 137,000 square feet to new tenants.

Hines, Rummell to headline ULI

Hines founder and Chairman Gerald Hines and Jacksonville-based developer Peter Rummell will keynote the 2017 Emerging Trends in Real Estate presentation Jan. 23.

The event, annually presented by the Urban Land Institute North Florida District Council, will be 5-8 p.m. at the OmniĀ  Jacksonville Hotel Downtown.

Hines is a privately held real estate firm based in Houston. Gerald Hines will talk about his 60 years in the industry. Today, the company has a presence in 192 cities in 20 countries, according to ULI.

In Jacksonville, it has several projects, including Palencia in St. Augustine and a mixed-use project along Gate Parkway near St. Johns Town Center.

Rummell will lead the discussion in a “fireside chat” format. Among his more than four decades in the industry, he also served as the global chairman of ULI.

The annual Trends in Real Estate forecast, jointly produced by PwC and the Urban Land Institute, also will be presented.

The event is open to the public. The cost is $60 for members and $85 for nonmenbers and includes dinner and a copy of the 2017 report.

TIAA CEO to speak to JAXUSA

Roger Ferguson, president and CEO of New York-based financial services company TIAA, is scheduled to keynote the first-quarter lunch meeting for JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development division of JAX Chamber.

The meeting is scheduled Feb. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville.

It could be particularly newsworthy. TIAA and Jacksonville-based EverBank Financial Corp. hope to complete TIAA’s buyout of EverBank in the first half of 2017

EverBank’s shareholders voted in November to complete the $2.5 billion deal, which calls for EverBank to merge with TIAA’s St. Louis-based bank subsidiary while keeping the headquarters of the merged bank in Jacksonville.

The merger still needs approval from bank regulators.

EverBank has said there is no timetable for choosing a name for the merged bank and whether the company will keep its naming rights deal for EverBank Field.

JAXUSA announces awards

On Tuesday, JAXUSA Partnership announced its 2016 international awards at its fourth-quarter meeting.

International companies of the year are Fidelity National Information Services Inc. as a large company and engineering-design-build firm Haskell as a midsize company.

Mike Butler, managing director at JPMorgan Chase, was named international leader of the year.


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