Before you look forward, you should look back.
St. Johns Town Center
In an era of declining consumer interest in brick-and-mortar retail, St. Johns Town Center and its surrounding properties continued to grow through the 2010s. The open-air mall opened in 2005 with high-end retailers new to the Jacksonville market and in the past decade, other developments have been built adjacent to the center at Butler Boulevard and Interstate 295. The developments not only include retail and restaurants but several apartment complexes, making the Town Center area the hub of Jacksonville’s Southside and the region.
Shad Khan bought the Jacksonville Jaguars for $770 million in 2012 and the value of the NFL franchise has since tripled to $2.325 billion, according to Forbes. While the team has struggled on the field, Khan is trying to expand the franchise’s financial success with development surrounding the stadium. That includes a $450 million proposal for Lot J that includes a hotel, apartments, offices and an entertainment complex.
When an economic incentive proposal resolution was filed by City Council in April 2016 for the code-named Project Rex, people soon learned that Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, was coming to Jacksonville. The company has since opened four fulfillment and distribution centers with an estimated investment of nearly $500 million and a workforce of more than 4,000 people. The company filed site plans in December for its next facility, the conversion of a former Kmart store along Blanding Boulevard in West Jacksonville into a delivery center.
“Jacksonville America’s Logistics Center” was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2008 and was the kickoff for a campaign to make the region live up to the name. In the past decade, logistics has seen strong growth, fueled by container shipping with the addition of Asian routes. Asian cargo at JaxPort grew from about 90,000 container equivalent units in 2010 to more than 441,000 units in 2019. That cargo is delivered to destinations with about 60 million consumers in the Southeast via rail and highway.
St. Johns County
The latest U.S. Census Bureau data shows St. Johns County was the eighth-fastest-growing U.S. county in 2018, and the population jumped 33.8% to 254,261 from 2010 through 2018. Much of the boom is coming in the northern part of the county with developments including the new Durbin Park development and the Nocatee region that began developing in the late 2000s. Nocatee spills over into southern Duval County, where growth continues with projects including the “smart living community” eTown.
The 2010s were a period of unprecedented growth, as the U.S. economy rebounded from the 2007-09 recession. Jacksonville’s unemployment rate started the decade at a record high 11.2% in January 2010 and after 10 years of growth, the jobless rate for the metropolitan area fell to a record low of 2.6% in November 2019. Jacksonville area businesses added 167,100 jobs to their payrolls during the decade, a 29.3% increase.
Fidelity National Financial Inc. moved its headquarters from California to Jacksonville in 2003, and the Fortune 500 company spawned further growth by spinning off two other publicly traded companies: Fidelity National Information Services Inc., or FIS, and Black Knight Inc. FIS itself has grown into another Fortune 500 company and its expansion is continuing. The company last year announced plans to build a $145 million headquarters on Riverside Avenue and add 500 jobs to its 1,216 Jacksonville workforce.
In the 2010 U.S. Census, there were only 60 residents in the Brooklyn area of Downtown, along the west side of Riverside Avenue between Forest and Water streets. That began to change a year later with construction of the 220 Riverside apartments and a shopping center anchored by Fresh Market. More development followed and it’s not finished yet with more than $269 million in projects underway or planned, including the world headquarters for Fidelity National Information Services.
In the past decade, Jacksonville’s major health care providers — Ascension St. Vincent’s, Baptist Health, UF Health, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Hospital and Wolfson Children’s Hospital — expanded services including full-service hospitals and stand-alone emergency care facilities. Technological advances included the addition of pencil beam scanning at the UF Proton Therapy Institute and Mayo Clinic’s Discovery and Innovation Building that houses an incubator for health-based entrepreneurs and a lung restoration facility.
Tim Cost became president of Jacksonville University in February 2013, returning to his Arlington alma mater after a top-level business management career. Cost soon initiated a $120 million capital campaign that exceeded its goal by about $2 million. Cost also organized the Renew Arlington revitalization; led JAX Chamber’s economic development; and chaired the influential Jacksonville Civic Council.
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