December 21, 2014

It's Official: St. Joe No Longer Florida's Largest Private Landowner

Cynthia Barnett | 5/27/2009

The nation’s largest private landowner is now Florida’s largest private landowner.

That title has long been held by Jacksonville-based St. Joe Co., a former paper and timber company-turned real-estate conglomerate that owned more than a million acres, mostly in Northwest Florida between Tallahassee and Pensacola. But the company has been selling off rural land in recent years as it turns its focus to community and commercial development.

In its first-quarter earnings report issued earlier this month, St. Joe (NYSE: JOE) said it’s down to 585,000 acres statewide. That puts it second to Plum Creek Timber Co., which now takes the title of Florida’s largest private landowner.

Plum Creek (NYSE: PCL) is a Seattle-based Real Estate Investment Trust whose primary business is to grow, harvest and sell timber. It owns just over 600,000 acres in 22 Florida counties, with concentrations in St. Johns Forest, Gulf Hammock Forest, Lake Butler Forest and the Wire Grass Forest in Northwest Florida. About 90% of its holdings are in forestry operations.

Plum Creek is also the largest private landowner in the United States, with more than 7 million acres nationwide. The company began doing business in Florida in 2001, when it merged with the Timber Group. State headquarters are in Gainesville.

Now, the timber giant had better update its website, where it calls itself “the second largest private landowner in the state of Florida.”

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Tags: Northeast, Environment, Housing/Construction

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