Moving Dirt! Impactful Projects in St. Johns County

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) of North Florida has nearly 500 regional members who gather regularly throughout the year to connect with professional colleagues from private practice, public sector and academia so that they can network and share knowledge about upcoming development projects.

St. John's County is one of the fastest growing areas in the country, with a population 226,000 and a growth percentage of 4% annually. That means a lot of dirt will be moved as developers gear up planning the infrastructure, housing communities and commercial ventures necessary to support this growth. The timing was ideal to highlight this growth and share tips on what has made economic development of St. John's county such an overwhelming success.

It was only fitting that the May 19 event, sponsored by ETM and St. Johns County, be held at Crosswater Hall, located within Nocatee, the third fastest-selling master planned community in the nation. St. Johns County Commissioner, Jim Johns welcomed everyone to the program and Melissa Glasgow, Executive Director of Economic Development for St. Johns County gave a presentation on the county's growth. She led with the fact that the number one priority for the county's board of County Commissioners was economic growth and as a result the county is the 15th fastest growing county in the US. The county averaged 2,600 single-family building permits in 2015. It also boasts top-ranked schools and a business-friendly environment with the unemployment rate at only 3.5 percent and was named one of Florida's healthiest counties for five years running.

Greg Barbour, Chief Operating Officer and Partner at the PARC Group, was a spotlight speaker and shared information about the huge success of Nocatee. He discussed how Flexible Planned Unit Development zoning allowed adjustments to the master plan so that evolving market conditions and opportunities could be met. The sound relationships with local governments was another key factor of success, as many modifications to the PUD have been necessary during its 15 years of construction.

The hugely successful event, attended by more than 150 participants, showcased 10 new developments representing thousands of houses and more than one million square-feet of commercial space. Featured projects included Celestina, the DOW Hotel, Markland, Nocatee, Rivertown, Sawgrass Village, Shearwater, TrailMark and Treaty Oaks.


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