Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Downtown Officials State Their Case for Site of Law School

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Downtown Officials State Their Case for Site of Law School

Article excerpt

Florida Coastal School of Law site seekers are considering at least three locations downtown, the University of North Florida First Coast Technology Park and other properties around the city for a new campus, and a decision is expected this fall.

While no site has been selected, "certainly my choice would be downtown," said new law school board Chairman Richard Danford, president of the Jacksonville Urban League. The league is an anchor of the redeveloping LaVilla area, one of the proposed school sites.

The site committee meets in early August to look at costs and the full board meets in late August, said Danford, a co-chairman of that committee.

The school, housed at 7555 Beach Blvd. between Atlantic and Southside boulevards, must develop a campus that meets accreditation requirements.

The search has focused on developing a 150,000-square-foot structure and 500 parking spaces. Costs can vary, ranging from $20 million to "a lot less," Danford said.

Paul Krutko, director of downtown development for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, is prepared to negotiate a redevelopment agreement for the school to move downtown.

"Locating the school in downtown would really be a good location for them, and a good business decision," Krutko said.

Krutko emphasized the concentration of legal professionals downtown and internship opportunities; the transportation hub and access from all parts of the city; the pending availability of new apartments and housing units; and the fact that downtown could use the hundreds of students and faculty to boost retailing and services.

To make his case, the Downtown Development Authority prepared a presentation to the law school about potential sites and economic incentives to place the campus downtown.

Krutko said a longer list was narrowed to four possibilities, at the law school's request. Those sites comprised:

The existing Federal Courthouse, whose occupants will move to a new courthouse. …

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