April 22, 2024
ATS NE May 2019
eTown homes will incorporate smart-home energy-efficient features.
ATS NE May 2019
The city plans to demolish the riverfront mall buildings to make way for new development.
ATS NE May 2019
Republican Lenny Curry won re-election.

Northeast Florida Roundup

PARC Group developing eTown, a zero-energy-ready master-planned community

Amy Martinez | 4/26/2019


Low-Energy Development

The PARC Group has begun developing eTown, a master-planned community in south Jacksonville. With half its acreage set aside as a reserve, eTown will include walking trails, paths for electric carts and about 1,400 homes in neighborhoods named after famous inventors.

Among the neighborhoods: Kettering, a collection of 40 to 50 homes that will be marketed as zero-energy-ready, meaning efficient enough for their annual electricity use to be offset by rooftop solar panels. The builder, Jacksonville-based Providence, plans to price the homes starting in the high $200,000s.

Robert Goettlicher, vice president of sales and marketing for Providence, says homeowners at Kettering can expect annual electric-bill savings of between $600 and $1,200. Once Providence builds a home, he says, inspectors perform an energy assessment of the appliances, mechanical systems, windows, doors and insulation to determine its airtightness and efficiency.

“We performance-test every home we build. That’s a big difference from a lot of our competition,” he says.

Other neighborhoods at eTown will feature smart-home technology, such as Nest thermostats and Alexa speakers.


  • Republican Lenny Curry won reelection as the mayor of Jacksonville, garnering 58% of the vote.


  • Baptist Health will build its ninth Jacksonville-area emergency room, a $23-million freestanding E.R. in west Jacksonville. The 20-bed, 19,000-sq.-ft. facility will include space designated for babies, children and teens.
  • UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez is the new chair for the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, an advocacy group representing 14 hospital systems.
  • Florida Blue sister company GuideWell Connect bought Brentwood, Tenn.-based Onlife Health, a health and wellness technology platform, from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and Cambia Health Solutions. Terms were not disclosed.
  • UF Health researchers have found that Hispanics, seniors and diabetics face a higher-than-normal risk of developing liver cancer. People over 60 are nearly four times as likely to have liver cancer, while Hispanics and diabetic patients face almost twice the risk, according to the study.


  • Jacksonville-based VyStar Credit Union paid $5 million for a seven-story, 75,744-sq.-ft. building next to its new headquarters downtown.
  • CBRE acquired Jacksonville-based commercial real estate appraisal firm Florida Valuation Group. The purchase price was not disclosed.
  • Boston-based Plymouth Industrial REIT bought 1.1 million square feet of light industrial and flex buildings in Jacksonville for $97.1 million from Greenfield Partners. The buildings’ tenants include Comcast, Staples, Cardinal Health and Safelite AutoGlass.
  • The former Florida Baptist Convention building, located on 3½ acres just south of downtown Jacksonville, was demolished to make way for 345 apartments, retail space and parking.
  • The St. Johns County Commission approved a rezoning request by WCI Communities to allow a 784-acre mixed-use development in the northwest part of the county. WCI’s Greenbriar Downs will be restricted to residents 55 and older and will include 818 residences, an 18-hole golf course and 160,000 square feet of commercial space.
  • Builder D.R. Horton is seeking to rezone 145 acres of timberland in St. Johns County for 800 townhomes that it says will be priced as affordable for teachers, police officers, firefighters and hospitality workers.
  • SoBa Apartments, a four-story, 147-unit project being built in the Southbank area of Jacksonville, is scheduled to open in August with rents starting at $1,300 for onebedroom apartments and $1,600 for two-bedroom apartments.
  • The Jacksonville City Council reached an agreement with Sleiman Enterprises to take control of Jacksonville Landing. The city plans to demolish the riverfront mall buildings to make way for new development.


  • Sleiman Enterprises is developing a 14-screen Cinemark movie theater as part of the second phase of its Atlantic North project in Jacksonville. The theater is to open in summer 2020.
  • Northeast Florida saw $341.5 million in retail real estate transactions last year, a 10% increase from 2017, according to Colliers’ 2018 retail investment report. The brokerage firm says a minimal amount of new development has led to “low vacancy rates and strong, relatively stable rents within the retail segment. New construction has been limited to build-to-suits for the likes of Ikea, Topgolf, Wawa and others.”


  • Developer Elite Hospitality is building a Margaritaville hotel in Jacksonville Beach. The eight-story hotel is scheduled to open in spring 2021 with 202 rooms, a LandShark restaurant, pool and fitness center.
  • Kansas-based WaterWalk, which specializes in extended-stay hotels and corporate lodging, plans to develop a 153-room project in Jacksonville.


  • Don Capener resigned as business dean at Jacksonville University to become associate business dean at Utah Valley University in Ogden, Utah. JU plans to name a new business dean by July 1. Capener, a graduate of Brigham Young University, joined JU as dean of the Davis College of Business in 2012 from Monmouth College in Illinois, where he was vice president for strategic planning.
  • Jacksonville University has begun building a three-story, 104,000-sq.-ft. health sciences building on 7 acres just north of the main campus. The building will house the schools of nursing, applied health sciences and orthodontics.


  • Megan Mangiaracino, formerly associate director of development at the University of North Florida’s Coggin College of Business, became development director at the Northeast Florida Land Trust.


  • Former Coca-Cola executive Russell Baker became CEO of Jacksonville-based advertising agency Wingard, replacing Christopher Ball, who remains an equity partner and strategy consultant.


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