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Three of the lots at The Bluffs at Plummers Cove will sit 20 feet above the St. Johns River.
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Apr. 2, 201512:00 PM EST

Skinner Bros., elacora cinch riverfront subdivision deal

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by: Carole Hawkins

A new riverfront community in Northeast Florida? Nice.

One in the heart of the well-established neighborhood of Mandarin? Nearly impossible, but true.

Skinner Bros. Realty Co. last year quietly scooped up several contiguous estate lots on the St. Johns River that it has now sold to national homebuilder elacora for a 21-home “boutique” subdivision.

The sale price was $3,455,900 for the 8.78-acre parcel, according to a deed filed last week with the county. Skinner Bros. will stay on as the project’s developer.

The project, the Bluffs on Plummers Cove, is in Mandarin on Scott Mill Road about 300 feet north of the Interstate 295 overpass.

“When you drive through it — seeing the huge live oaks, the magnolias and the 20-foot bluff — it’s hard not to get excited about a property like that,” said Chet Skinner, who put the deal together with his brother, Riley Skinner.

The Skinners picked up the first two parcels last summer, but they were long and narrow, each 100 feet wide, and they were not contiguous.

It would take a third riverfront lot and half of a fourth to make the property large enough for a new subdivision roadway bounded by lots. By winter they had them, sealing the development’s future.

Skinner said it was engineer Eric Almond who transformed the former estate lots into a community.

“You can see the potential of what would go in there,” Skinner said. “But, until you start laying it out, you’re kind of keeping your fingers crossed.”

The development will preserve as many of the property’s hardwoods as possible, which include live oaks, magnolias, tupelos and golden rain trees.

“We want it from Day One to look like a mature neighborhood,” Skinner said.

Three of the lots will be on the 20-foot bluff above the river. Prices for the homes are expected to begin in the $600,000s.

As the Skinner brothers were putting parcels under contract, elacora CEO Brian Paul was following the progress.

The three thought of Old San Jose on the River, a successful riverside community in old Jacksonville that elacora parent company Real Capital Solutions had financed.

“They were excited,” said Victoria Robbins, who handles marketing for elacora in Jacksonville as a managing partner. “Finding another infill community of a similar size and theme is something they really wanted.”

Both are riverfront communities in established neighborhoods. But whereas Old San Jose includes both condos and homes, the Bluffs on Plummers Cove will only have single-family residences, Robbins said.

The lots range in size from one-quarter acre to one acre and homes will have three and four garages and range from 3,700-4,500 square feet.

That will likely shift the buyer demographic, said Robbins. Instead of people looking to downsize, they expect families with older children.

“Older children have cars,” Robbins said. “It seems like you can never have too much garage space.”

The style will follow a nautical theme, tile roofs and paver drives will be standard, and homes will be offered in a variety of front elevations.

“Part of the success of Old San Jose on the River was the elevations were not all the same,” said Robbins. “It gave the community a very custom look.”

Elacora will initially build four homes, one for each floor plan offered. One of those will serve as a model.

The company expects the first homes to come on line in November.

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