Florida Residents Protest Sale of Undeveloped Land
The Harvard School of Public Health is trying to sell 650 acres of Florida oceanfront property and nearby residents are beginning to complain.
According to Mayo A. Shattuck, Deputy Treasurer of Harvard, the land was put up for sale about six months ago, and, despite the protests of a small group of residents in nearby Stuart, Fla., will remain on sale as long as there is hope for selling it at a "reasonable price."
Shattuck said that he did not have enough information to say what a "reasonable" asking price would be. According to Mrs. James Hurchalla, one of the protestors, oceanfront property in the area near Stuart sells for $300 a front foot.
The land, located at the end of an island about 40 miles north of Palm Beach, was given to the Harvard School of Public Health by the Rand Corporation.
Rand started to develop the property, called Seminole Shores, but abandoned it after building roads, water mains, several houses and a marina. Most of the property is still undeveloped.
Shattuck also said that if Harvard were to sell only the developed portion of the land and conserve the rest-as the protestors have suggested-it would make it more difficult for Harvard to sell the property.
Shattuck said that Harvard has "no particular use for the land" and selling it is consistent with Harvard is policy of transforming gifts of real estate into liquid assets. He added that if the land is sold, the money will go to help finance the building program at the School of Public Health.
According to Eugene Kraetzer, Assistant Secretary to the Corporation and Recording Secretary, when Harvard is given a gift of this sort, there is "nothing Harvard can do but turn it into dollars."
Kraetzer also said that "the land was not given to Harvard to hold-for conservation or for any other purpose."