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Top 20 of 2020
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jan. 9, 202005:10 AM EST

Five predictions: The trends and issues that will push the region into in the next decade

"Over the coming decade, those in their 50s, 60s and 70s must step up."

Leadership: A new generation of leaders will take control.

In 10 years, there will be new senior leadership in the five counties guiding – or forcing – the area’s business, government, development, community and civic endeavors.

Their challenges will be different, but they have no choice but to do what needs to be done for the sake of the local economy and community.

The end of the 2010s saw the loss of several significant voices, including Bob Shircliff, David Hicks, Luther Coggin and Raymond K. Mason, who imprinted the area’s business and philanthropic future.

Over the coming decade, those in their 50s, 60s and 70s must step up.

The millennial, Generation Z and younger generations will create new leadership styles to meet the area’s increasingly diverse needs.

Schools, religious and cultural centers, youth and leadership development groups, business and civic clubs, philanthropic efforts, political parties and programs like Leadership Jacksonville and the JAX Chamber Hightower Emerging Leaders Fellowship will by necessity rise to the challenge.

TIAA Bank Field is the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Sports: The Jacksonville Jaguars will be seeking a stadium upgrade.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking for a new or fully renovated stadium as the team enters the final 10 years of its lease with city-owned TIAA Bank Field.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping said in November that conversations with city officials have begun, and the Jaguars are conducting an internal review of the stadium’s needs. 

Jaguars owner Shad Khan could look for a facility that can compete with NFL stadiums like the $1.97 billion complex under development for the Raiders in Las Vegas. The state of Nevada approved $750 million in public money for that 65,000-seat stadium. 

Stadium talks could happen in parallel with the development agreement for Khan’s $450 million Lot J mixed-use complex adjacent to the stadium. The project is planned to break ground in the second quarter of 2020.

Transportation: Getting from here to there will take a different route.

The way and the how and the why will drive transportation changes.

People will start to move in new ways: smart autonomous vehicles, updated and streamlined mass transit, cars fueled by alternative energy, more reliance on ride-sharing.

Depending on population density, biking, walking and golf carts also will become more popular.

At the same time, the area’s population growth will stretch residences across a larger area, meaning roads and highways will be extended, like the First Coast Expressway.

The existing system will face pressures to improve, including intersections, traffic lights, additional lanes, resurfacing, sensors for smart vehicles and relief from flooding.

Air travel might see nonstops to more destinations and international flights. 

Commercial transportation also will change as railroads, shipping and trucking companies adjust to consumer demands, energy costs and – of course – e-commerce and perhaps one-hour delivery of online orders. And look out for drones.

Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store.

Food: With more population will come more choices.

Food is a necessity but getting it on the table is its own industry fed by evolving tastes, demographics and challenges.

The area grocery market starts the 2020s with more competition than a decade ago but also a larger population to feed as growth flourishes.

Food deserts also will be addressed.

The big three – Walmart, Publix Super Markets Inc. and Southeastern Grocers – remain in the lead but feel the heat from discount stores like Aldi and the natural and organic specialists Earth Fare, Lucky’s Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Fresh Market and Sprouts Farmers Market. 

Online ordering and delivery will increase.

Restaurants also are burning through changing tastes, trying to capture the latest trends in service, location, cuisine, sustainability and that grasp at becoming “the” go-to spot.

Local restaurateurs and investors will identify neighborhood hot spots and new niches and stay nimble.

And all of this will happen at a much faster pace than during the 2010s.

Health care: Look for more construction thanks to deregulation.

The repeal of Florida’s certificate of need laws in July 2019 will allow larger health systems to expand hospital services throughout Northeast Florida in the next decade. 

Certificate of need laws required hospitals to receive state authorization before building hospitals or expanding medical services after it was determined the area had sufficient demand.

The repeal could allow Baptist Health to take a second look at building a hospital at its Clay County medical facility. Baptist was denied by the law in 2015.

Free-standing emergency rooms will continue to open and service counties surrounding Duval — facilities like Baptist Health Properties Inc.’s 20-bed, $23 million emergency center in at Oakleaf Town Center in Southwest Jacksonville. That emergency room opened in late 2019 to serve Northern Clay County.


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