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The "re-imagined" Atlantic Beach Country Club opens in January with a new clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and world-class golf course. Adding homesites to the property provided the cash infusion needed to modernize the facility.
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Dec. 24, 201412:00 PM EST

Country club, Key West-style homes coming to Atlantic Beach

by: Carole Hawkins

Second-floor balconies, cedar-shake siding, pastel colors and close to 200 homes with virtually no two designs alike. All part of the Florida beachside neighborhood feel that builders are promising at the new Atlantic Beach Country Club.

The re-imagined country club and golf course open to members in January. And builders, who are bringing the first homes online now, are going for something uncommon.

The Atlantic Beach Country Club, which was built on the 170-acre footprint of the old Selva Marina Country Club, began with an asset that’s rare in development today — lots of land smack in the middle of a beach town.

“They’re not making any more beach and they’re not making any more land in Atlantic Beach,” said Steve Merten, division vice president for Toll Brothers, which will build 90 of the homes. “You can look up and down the coast and you don’t see a community with so many lots available for customers to come in and build personalized homes.”

The country club will offer a world-class golf course, Har-Tru tennis courts, a junior-Olympic size swimming pool and a clubhouse within walking distance of the beach.

When it came to designing the community’s 178 homes, the idea was to complement the look of Atlantic Beach, said Merten.

Toll Brothers spent a full year on the architecture. Stucco siding was eliminated in favor of cedar shake, brick and lap siding.

“It’s true craftsmanship,” Merten said. “It’s not cookie-cutter, it’s not production where we’re going to go and finish the exterior of your house in five days.”

Several plans employ metal roofs and Toll Brothers’ Catalina model features a second story balcony.

Toll Brothers is a semi-production builder, so homebuyers will start with pre-designed floor plans, but will have hundreds of options for personalizing.

“We’ll have 48 different elevations with only 90 lots, so it’s going to be very unique,” Merten said.

Toll Brothers’ homes won’t be all in a row, but scattered throughout the community, and the same design can’t be repeated within each quadrant, he said.

The community’s remaining 88 lots will contain custom homes. Riverside Homes will build 30 of them.

For the task, Riverside employed local architect Michael Stauffer of St. Augustine.

Stauffer created coastal, cottage-style homes, with 2,300- to 3,500-square-foot floor plans. The designs reprise the Key West look Toll Brothers shares — with balconies, metal roofs and cedar shake and lap siding — and include open soffits and exposed rafter tails. The homes also incorporate back porches and huge live-in front porches, as large as 12 feet deep and 26 feet wide.

The idea is to connect indoors to outdoors with no seams in between, said Chris Wood, principal for Riverside Homes.

“When you drive through Atlantic Beach, you see folks sitting on their front porches,” he said. “The kids are playing in the front yard, and parents are talking to the neighbors.”

While the community’s architecture will complement the rest of Atlantic Beach, the construction will bring advantages not found in the older homes, Wood said.

For example, all attics will contain spray foam insulation, an energy-efficient feature that gained popularity only in recent years.

Also, Atlantic Beach Country Club will be a natural gas community. Riverside is offering a gas range, one gas stub for a dryer and another for a summer kitchen in the lanai, and the option of a gas water heater or tankless water heater in each of its homes.

The builders have not set pricing yet, but homes are expected to start at $600,000 and top out at $1.5 million, according to the developers.

As homebuilders finish their models, the Atlantic Beach Country Club itself is wrapping up a successful membership drive.

The club grew its rolls this year from 200 to 350, sparked by the promise of new amenities. The country club’s grand opening will be Jan 10.

General Manager Ed Tucker, who grew up playing golf at the old Selva Marina club, said Atlantic Beach Country Club could never have been modernized without the capital infusion that came from adding the home sites.

The new clubhouse, with its tall open-beam ceilings, replaces the old worn brick ranch-style clubhouse that came before it. Golfers can look forward to a new 18-hole course, designed by Ponte Vedra Beach resident Erik Larsen, who’s been involved in the design of more than 98 courses around the world.

Golf Digest recently named it one of the best new courses of 2014, citing its solid set of holes and spectacular bunkering.

Even though Atlantic Beach natives have access to other golf courses and clubhouses, none are at the North Beach, Tucker said.

“This is going to become the social focus of the community,” he said. “Everybody’s been waiting for a country club to call their own.”

The Atlantic Beach Country Club was developed through a partnership that included Rick and Susie Wood, owners of Wood Development, Gary and Leed Silverfield of the Silverfield Group, and William Howell of the W.R. Howell Co.

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