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University of Florida 'pausing deliberation' on possible campus in West Palm Beach

School cites 'some regrettable divisions in the local community'
Posted at 1:37 PM, Feb 28, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It doesn't appear that the University of Florida will be opening a satellite campus in downtown West Palm Beach anytime soon.

The school announced Tuesday that the school is "pausing deliberation" on a proposed graduate campus in the city.

The university said in a statement that "some regrettable divisions in the local community" have prompted the decision.

"The university has an obligation to the public to take a fresh look at any possible South Florida graduate campus," the school's statement said.

WPTV reported last week that issues between the school and local developer Jeff Greene stemmed from 5 acres he was set to donate for the project.

Jeff Greene speaks about the issues he is having with the University of Florida regarding the land.
Jeff Greene speaks about the issues he is having with the University of Florida regarding the land.

Greene said the land was part of a 12-acre plan for the University of Florida's School of Innovation and Technology. The rest of the land for the project was coming from the city and the county.

The developer told WPTV that he wanted to give away the land for free, but the university has since told him they wanted to buy his property.

The announcement about the graduate campus in West Palm Beach was first made public during an August 2021 news conference by Mayor Keith James and then-Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner.

University of Florida President Dr. Kent Fuchs traveled to West Palm Beach last year to discuss plans for the satellite campus, holding a public event with James about the project.

Fuchs left the school this month with former Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse now leading the university.

Read Tuesday's full statement from the University of Florida:

"Given some regrettable divisions in the local community, the University of Florida is pausing deliberation about a possible West Palm Beach campus. As Florida's flagship university and a land-grant institution, UF is committed to being a unifying presence throughout the state and does not want to divide communities we aim to serve. The university has an obligation to the public to take a fresh look at any possible South Florida graduate campus. Discussions about the feasibility of a West Palm Beach project will now be folded into our larger, six-month strategic review of UF's programmatic priorities and opportunities."

James and Palm Beach County Mayor Gregg Weiss released a joint statement Tuesday that said they remained "cautiously optimistic" that the school will select West Palm Beach for a future campus.

Read the full statement below:

"We remain cautiously optimistic that the University of Florida will choose West Palm Beach as the future location of an urban campus, and we – the City and County – will continue to work together to achieve that goal. The City of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County stand firmly in support of this strategic partnership and believe that as a growing and prospering City/County, this is the perfect location for the urban campus."