The company’s new office is in the heart of a historic residential area. It opened with more than $28 million in listings.
A realty company with a flair for Southern hospitality is taking advantage of a resurgence in Springfield, a neighborhood experiencing the second highest median home value increases in Jacksonville.
Southern Moss Realty Co. opened a residential real estate brokerage office in June at 1501 N. Main St.
It launched with more than $28 million in residential listings in North Florida and employs 10 agents.
Specializing in historic and walkable neighborhoods, it’s a good fit for the city’s oldest residential community just north of Downtown.
Built primarily in the 1880s through the 1920s, Springfield is the state’s largest historic district. Set in a quiet neighborhood under a canopy of mature oaks, Springfield has been experiencing revitalization for the past decade, with several hiccups.
“There have been so many false starts,” said Michael Bone, vice president of Southern Moss. “Now, many businesses are moving in to seal the commitment.”
Those businesses include Walgreens, Social Grounds Coffee Company and Hyperion Brewing Company.
As of May 2016, home sales in Springfield had risen nearly 31 percent from the same month the previous year, according to the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors’ annual report.
During that time, it saw a 41 percent increase in median sales prices, the highest of any Jacksonville neighborhood except for Southwest St. Johns County, according to NEFAR.
But the statistics don’t tell the whole story.
It’s true that investors were buying up neglected, run down homes and empty lots for $10,000 to $15,000 two years ago, said real estate broker and Southern Moss partner Michael Bugg. Now, those same lots and dilapidated homes are selling for $35,000 to $50,000, he said.
But the statistics haven’t yet caught up with reality.
Investors are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into rehabilitation projects that can take nearly two years, including a design review with Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR), he said.
Now, those three-and four-bedroom homes are selling for $150,000 to $350,000.
Springfield is known for its bungalows with white picket fences, romantic Victorian-style houses and two-story American vernacular homes with gable roofs and casement windows.
Bugg, who moved to Springfield three months ago from Ponte Vedra Beach, said he loves the closely knit, walkable community for its architecture, shade and low traffic.
“I feel like it’s home,” said Bugg, who has extensive experience in real estate and had launched and owned the former Lifestyles Realtors in Jacksonville and The Condo Store based in Atlanta.
He said Springfield appeals to “individualists,” millennials, young families and baby boomers who are leaving the suburbs for an urban environment.
They don’t have to walk far to attend Springfield’s many activities, including the annual PorchFest music festival; Second Sundays, a series of free music concerts in Klutho Park; and the Great Race, a nine-day speed and distance rally that runs from Jacksonville to Michigan.
Bone said he fell in love with Springfield when he met one of its residents at PorchFest who was dashing home to pick up her cooked rice. They started talking and she invited him to a party at a home down the road, which he accepted.
“We want to be a place that’s very comfortable, not corporate,” said Bone, who managed marketing offices for several large finance and technology companies in New York City before moving back to his hometown of Jacksonville.
Bugg said Southern Moss is making a commitment that he knows will pay off.
“When Downtown takes off, we’re positioned to be the Downtown specialist in Jacksonville,” he said.