Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AOL Could Be Close to a Deal with Technology Park at UNF

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AOL Could Be Close to a Deal with Technology Park at UNF

Article excerpt

America Online Inc. appears to be closing in on a deal to relocate its North Jacksonville call center to the University of North Florida First Coast Technology Park in Southside.

"America Online is very hopeful that a deal could be struck with the UNF park," said spokesman Nicholas Graham at the Internet provider's Dulles, Va., headquarters.

Tech park Executive Director Bob Fagin said this week that he awaited definitive word from the company about its plans. AOL employs 1,600 to 1,800 people at its Imeson Center operation, but has been considering the UNF site for a state-of-the-art development.

Fagin said the ball was in AOL's court, prompting Graham to respond favorably in related terms.

"I guess my response is that we hope we are able to hit a home run for Jacksonville," Graham said. "There have been several good pitches and we are looking forward to our turn at bat."

The Duval County Research and Development Authority, which governs the park, intends to meet March 27. AOL is not on the agenda. Yet.

Graham confirmed yesterday that AOL corporate executives are in Jacksonville this week and possibly will be in town next week to talk about the negotiations as well as take care of ongoing business.

AOL would join two other committed companies and another potential deal at the 284-acre business park, which has sat undeveloped for 13 years. To spark interest, the park landed approvals to sell some of its land for commercial office development rather than strictly research and development.

Now, ADT Security Services Inc. is preparing a 7.5-acre site for a 450-job call center at the park. The Auchter Co. wants to buy 3.36 acres to build a headquarters and relocate from near downtown. And this week, we reported that Phillips & Co. intended to make another proposal to buy almost 25 acres for a multi-building office park.

AOL announced last fall that it wanted to develop a 123,210-square-foot call center on 15 acres at the park. …

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