St Johns County growth heads south

St Johns County growth heads south

Posted in the Middleburg Forum

DSM Local

Ankeny, IA

#2 Nov 27, 2012
“You have to look at your crystal ball, and say,‘OK, three years from now, what’s going to happen, and is it time to start this?’” said Chris Shee, managing partner of MasterCraft Builder Group in St. Johns.
Where the action is

“The reason Horton is so aggressive in these communities, in MuraBella and Aberdeen, is that the A-locations will be exhausted in the next two years,” Sessions said.

Sessions said about 600 lots are left in his community. Neighboring community Aberdeen, he said, has about 150 developed lots as well as a section of undeveloped land.

Shee said one of the next likely developments is SilverLeaf Plantation, a 7,500-acre master-planned, mixed-use development south of County Road 210 and north of World Golf Village. That area, Shee said, is a “huge opportunity for growth.”

“We’re really kind of filling the hole in the doughnut, between 210 and World Golf Village,” he said.

Sessions agreed that SilverLeaf, owned by the Hutson Cos.,“has a ton of potential.”

“But it needs $100 million to come out of the ground,” he said.“That’s not going to happen.”

But there are more developed lots south of the 210 corridor, Shee said, which could drive growth southward — or the market could adjust to the fees. He knows of two communities going through the zoning process that are within four miles of each other. One has school concurrency fees of $3,000 per lot; the other’s fee is $15,000 per lot and is near an overcrowded elementary school.

“We could either come to a screeching halt or those costs could be absorbed by higher prices,” he said.

The growth is mostly driven by the county’s A-rated schools, said Rose Bock, a St. Augustine-based real estate data consultant.

“As St. Johns County continues having a school system that is the best in the vicinity, I think that will continue to drive the growth,” she said.

Nocatee, Shee said, is a driving force of that growth. The 15,000-acre master-planned community off U.S. Highway 1 between Jacksonville and St. Augustine has seen impressive growth throughout 2012. The community is projected to some day have a population of 30,000 people and 1 million square feet of office and retail space. Patrick Zalupski, co-owner of Dream Finders Homes LLC, recently hedged a bet on Nocatee, buying 100 townhouse lots in the Willow Cove community in August.

D.R. Horton’s bulk lot acquisition in MuraBella, Shee said, illustrates the path of the St. Johns growth corridor, in and around World Golf Village.

“The lot prices and values reset to a point where people wanted to buy homes out there again, because it really got caught up in all the crazy and unrealistic increases,” Shee said.“Now that they’re reset, it’s performing well — it’s convenient to [Interstate] 95, there’s a brand-new Publix and shopping center, and you’re still in St. Johns County, so you have great schools.”

Jacksonville, FL

#3 Nov 27, 2012
white flight....

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