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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

TAMPA, FL-Nova Southeastern University is doubling its office space at Sabal Park to 81,500 square feet through a new 10-year lease commitment. The Davie-based college will occupy the entire three-story Sabal Corporate Center building in the massive business park, near Interstate 75 on the city’s east side.

NSU, which has had a student educational center in Tampa for more than three decades, will introduce an anesthesiologist assistant program in its new space starting next summer. It is the fourth university in the US to offer the program and the only one in Florida, one of 17 states that allows anesthesiologist assistants to practice.

Orlando-based Eola Capital signed the lease with NSU at 3632 Queen Palm Drive, in a building previously occupied by St. Paul Travelers insurance company. Jamie Puddicombe of Palmapple Corp. represented NSU in negotiating the lease with Eola Capital.

NSU currently occupies approximately 41,000 square feet in Sabal Park Plaza, where it has 1,200 students and offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in business, education, psychology, counseling, health care and leadership. The landlord plans various improvements to the building, for which the lease is estimated to be worth more than $20 million, according to estimates by local office brokers familiar with the transaction but not directly involved.

“Their education programs are doing very well,” Kyle Burd, regional vice president of Eola Capital, tells GlobeSt.com. He says education and health care-related firms continue to do well as office occupants in spite of the ongoing recession.

Deo Nellis, executive director of NSU’s student educational centers in Davie, tells GlobeSt.com that its College of Allied Health and Nursing has a strong response in the Tampa market. Besides accommodating the new anesthesiologist assistant program, he says the local center will now be able to operate within a single building.

“It’s a lot easier to manage if we’re the only tenant in the property,” Nellis says. “The new building is much more campus-like.”

NSU has more than 28,000 students statewide at its 300-acre Davie campus and at student educational centers in Tampa, Miami, West Palm Beach, Orlando and Jacksonville. Earlier this year, GlobeSt.com reported that the college signed a new lease for 60,305 square feet in a four-story building near I-75 in Fort Myers.

Nellis says NSU may consider expanding its other distance-learning centers within Florida as student demand warrants, particularly among displaced workers who receive education benefits as part of their severance packages. “There is always the possibility of growing,” he says. “We’ve expanded in every market we are in over the past year.”

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