As the region grows, new communities are sprouting in suburban areas, giving residents more places to live and relax in St. Johns and Nassau counties.
Nocatee and Beyond
When the First Coast Expressway is extended to St. Johns County, it will bring you close to Nocatee, the sprawling 13,323-acre development mainly in northern St. Johns County that extends partially into southern Duval County.
Nocatee has already transformed the region, certified by real estate advisory firm RCLCO as the third-fastest selling master planned community in the country.
RCLCO reported sales of 973 homes in 2016 in Nocatee after 1,105 homes were sold in 2015, when it was also ranked as the third best-selling community.
Melissa Glasgow, director of economic development for St. Johns County, says Nocatee attracts new residents with distinctive neighborhoods within the community.
“Their popularity remains high as they continue to add new housing options at varying price points to further diversify their community offerings,” she says.
The growth of Nocatee is spurring more development nearby in northern St. Johns, Glasgow says.
For example, Twin Creeks/Beachwalk is a 1,000-acre project that will include 3,000 residences plus 2 million square feet of retail and commercial space. A 14-acre Crystal Lagoon amenity features a private beach club and sparkling blue water for swimming, sailing and other activities.
Also under development in northern St. Johns County is Durbin Park, a 1,600-acre project that will open with 700,000 square feet of retail space.
When you cross the state line into Northeast Florida, one of the first things you’ll find is the new Wildlight development in Nassau County.
Wildlight, part of the 38-square-mile East Nassau Community Planning Area, is being developed by Rayonier, which already moved its corporate headquarters into a 55,000-square-foot office building. Besides that building, a 600-student Wildlight Elementary School opened in 2017.
Rayonier is a forest products company with thousands of acres of timberland in the region. A decade ago, the company saw an opportunity for commercial development on properties it owns along the I-95 corridor.
When it started the Wildlight project in 2016, Rayonier decided it was an ideal location to consolidate its three Northeast Florida offices.
Wildlight will eventually have 3,200 rooftops and 6.8 million square feet of non-residential space.
“What’s happening here is a new city is coming out of the ground in Nassau County,” says Laura DiBella, executive director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board.