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Davie: Tall order: Town lifts lid on NSU growth

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Davie council members approve a change to the town's land-use policy to allow Nova Southeastern University to move ahead with plans to expand its campus.

BY CRISTINA SILVA

[email protected]

GEORGE HANBURY,

NSU vice president for administration

Davie Town Council members agreed to change town land-use rules to allow Nova Southeastern University to build a 150-foot-tall building on it campus.

The 4-1 decision came over the objections of Mayor Tom Truex, who said the building would not fit in with the town's existing landscape.

''It's too tall,'' Truex said before the vote.

But other council members have said the project will bring jobs to the town -- thousands of jobs, according to NSU officials.

NSU's $500 million expansion plan calls for the creation of an ''academic village'' that would include 500 new homes, a hotel, a conference center and 200,000 square feet of retail space, with Barnes & Noble and Bank Atlantic already committed to the plan.

The U.S. Geological Survey has agreed to build a research center at the site, which would play a key role in attracting faculty and scientists to the area, said George Hanbury, NSU vice president for administration.

The village is a joint venture between NSU and private developers.

''The university is an economic engine. Literally, thousands of jobs will be stimulated by this,'' Hanbury said.

Before the new height rules take effect, the state must sign off within 60 days. The town council then must pass the vote two more times to make it final.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place at the site, at University Drive near University Park Plaza, within two years.

As for Truex's argument that residents will be displeased once they see the height of the buildings, Hanbury said university-sponsored public meetings have shown otherwise.

''Every neighborhood we've met with has agreed with the academic village. The mayor is the only opposition,'' said Hanbury.

University officials said before the meeting that the tall building was essential for a specific client who required the structure in order to join on to the project. Hanbury said Wednesday that the client will be disclosed in a public announcement tentatively in July, if the village is approved by the state.

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