What are the elements that go into making a neighborhood among the hot sellers? A central amenity is certainly a key factor. Not so long ago, that most highly sought luxury amenity was a golf course, a feature perhaps intended to attract the once-traditional breadwinner of the house while appealing to those who wanted them out of the house for five or six hours every weekend.
But major amenity packages designed with the entire family in mind are now the new golf course when it comes to major residential developments.
The bigger the amenity, the better. In northern St. Johns County along County Road 210, there’s even a development coming out of the ground, Beachwalk, that will feature an entire faux lagoon for swimming, sunning and other water activities.
“There are so many competitors in new construction in similar price ranges that it is hard for the competition to stand out,” said Christina Welch, a broker with Keller Williams Jacksonville Realty. “That’s one of the things that, when we are looking in the marketplace for our buyers, the amenities are a huge factor, especially if they are going to be in a planned unit development.”
Amenity packages in new neighborhoods now include enormous — and this phrase is associated with nearly every new development — “resort-style” pools, waterslide towers, lazy rivers, boardwalks, spacious clubhouses, fully equipped fitness centers, the requisite athletic courts and fields and even amphitheaters.
Big amenities, though, require large parcels of land that requires these mega developments to be built far from employment centers. Commuting, Welch said, isn’t a factor for these homebuyers.
“Most of them are relocating from other areas of the country where they already have long commutes, or they are moving from Duval to St. Johns school districts, and that outweighs the commute,” she said. “That hasn’t been an issue for our buyers.”
Here is an overview of 10 of the hottest developments in the region.
It should come as no surprise that most of them are in St. Johns County, given the available land and tens of thousands of approved rooftops there.
In fact, according to statistics gathered by the Northeast Florida Builders Association, in St. Johns County alone there remain 66,666 approved, but as-yet not built, residential units.
The neighborhoods that have infrastructure in place and are selling have it all: a wide variety of products and prices, unique social and amenity features, schools within the metes and bounds of the developments and access to natural water features.
And, even the occasional golf course.
Duval and St. Johns counties
It’s no secret that Nocatee continues to maintain its position as the largest and fastest-selling master-planned community in Northeast Florida. Home to more than 26 separate neighborhoods, it’s also the third-fastest selling in the nation.
Nocatee is an unincorporated planned community on 13,323 acres primarily in northern St. Johns County with portions in southern Duval, bisected by Nocatee Parkway, which runs between Palm Valley Parkway to the east and Philips Highway to the west.
At build-out, Nocatee is planned to have 12,000 homes, up to 1 million square feet of retail space, 4 million square feet of office space, and nine schools. As large as that is, only one-third of the land mass of Nocatee will be developed. The remainder will be preserve.
Almost all of the individual neighborhoods in Nocatee have their own amenities centers, but most are open to the entire community.
The central amenity, the 8-acre Splash water park, is available to all residents. Splash features 53-foot-tall water slides, a lazy river, family lagoon pool, interactive sprayground and zip line. The facility also includes a two-story clubhouse with banquet facilities and conference room, and a fitness center.
A new waterpark called Spray will open next summer.
Nocatee features homes by national, regional and custom homebuilders in a wide variety of products and price points including townhomes, condominiums and single-family. Builders include Cornerstone Homes, Taylor Morrison Homes, Providence Homes, Mattamy Homes, D.R. Horton Homes, Lennar Homes, David Weekley Homes, ICI Homes, Toll Brothers, Del Webb/Pulte, CalAtlantic Homes, AV Homes, Dostie Homes, Dream Finders Homes, Glenn Layton Homes, The Pineapple Corporation and Riverside Homes. The Parc Group recently announced the opening of three new neighborhoods.
The commercial component at Nocatee Town Center has restaurants, retail stores, health care and neighborhood shops and services. Nocatee Community Park offers fields, tennis courts, a fenced dog park and concession stand. Miles of greenway trails connect the neighborhoods. There also is a kayak launch and multiple parks scattered throughout the development.
Del Webb Ponte Vedra
St. Johns County
Within Nocatee, the Del Webb community for ages 55-and-older is in itself larger than most developments. When complete, this one Nocatee neighborhood will include 1,988 homes.
Like most other Nocatee neighborhoods, Del Webb at Nocatee has its own amenities area, but as a gated community its amenities are reserved for its residents only.
Del Webb Ponte Vedra residents have exclusive use of a 38,000-square-foot clubhouse called Anastasia Club.
The outdoor amenities at the Anastasia Club encompass 15 acres and include a resort-style pool, outdoor spa, and barbecue pavilion, two event lawns, six tennis courts, six bocce ball courts, and eight pickleball courts.
Carriage homes at Del Webb Ponte Vedra range from 1,438 to 1,857 square feet, condominiums with three different floor plans range from 1,810 to 2,129 square feet, and single-family homes range from 1,157 to 2,634 square feet. Prices range from the upper $200,000s to the mid-$500,000s.
Tamaya bills itself as “a community between the city and sea.” And that’s exactly what it is, on the north side of Beach Boulevard between Kernan and Hodges boulevards offering 2,000 homes at buildout along with more than one-half million square feet of commercial and retail space on 780 in-town acres.
An ICI Homes community, Tamaya features a mix of Mediterranean architectural styles such as Tuscan and Spanish, and boasts in-town living with a Florida-European flair.
The first neighborhood of 171 homes, Bella Nina, has sold out. Sales are underway on Tamaya’s second village, 146-home Bella Nika. It offers 25 floorplans on 50-, 60-, 75- and 85-foot lots with square footage ranging from 1,800 to more than 4,000. Homes in Bella Nika are priced from the mid-$300,000s.
The development features entrances from both Beach and Kernan boulevards, bringing visitors along scenic lakes to a grand, two-story, guarded gatehouse. The main entry on the corner of Beach and Tamaya boulevards highlights a cascading water feature. The community offers lakes, a centralized roundabout and multiple pocket parks.
A 10,000-square-foot residents club offers two pools with a tower slide, cabana and clubhouse with nearly 5,000 square feet of fitness space. Tamaya includes multipurpose paths for walking and jogging, as well as a tennis center. An outdoor palm court bar area allows for relaxing around the pool and social events.
Six furnished models are open featuring one- and two-story floorplans ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet.
St. Johns County
TrailMark is a master-planned community encompassing about 1,300 acres in northwestern St. Johns County.
From green vistas and natural oak hammocks to miles of trails and winding waterways, TrailMark has blended nature with amenities, creating opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors, live at their own pace and connect with their neighborhood.
Located at the intersection of Pacetti Road and TrailMark Drive, TrailMark is designed to appeal to homebuyers seeking a healthier lifestyle with access to a wide range of recreational amenities.
A resort-style beach entry pool overlooks the lake. An active lifestyle is encouraged by a state-of-the-art fitness center, basketball and sand volleyball courts and playing fields. The Camp House provides a setting to celebrate birthdays, reunions or end the workweek with friends over a low-country boil. The community employs a lifestyle director.
TrailMark builders include David Weekley Homes, D.R. Horton, Landon Homes and Providence Homes offering a range of styles and floorplans from 1,500 square feet to more than 3,900 square feet priced from the mid-$200,000s. Five model homes are available. A new elementary school adjacent to TrailMark will open for the 2017-18 school year.
St. Johns County
Mattamy Homes’ RiverTown is the only new master-planned community in St. Johns County that stands alongside the St. Johns River, located off of State Road 13 in northwest St. Johns County.
When complete, RiverTown will have 4,500 homes on 4,500 acres, 50 percent of which is preserve.
The RiverClub is RiverTown’s new $6 million amenity center directly along the St. Johns River. Opening in late 2017, the amenity center will include a 5,100-square-foot clubhouse with banquet hall, veranda with wraparound porches and river views. The new amenities will include a pool, river boardwalk, children’s playground, kayak launch and event lawn.
Current amenities include the RiverHouse and Welcome Center with river view terraces and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The amenity center, with more than 7,200 interior square feet, features a recreational pool with corkscrew slide, a junior Olympic-size lap pool and three lighted tennis courts. RiverTown has a full-time social programming director.
RiverTown offers miles of trails that wind along the riverfront and a mile of scenic riverfront property, known as Riverfront Park, for walking, fishing or relaxing by the water. The community has a kayak launch and a baseball complex with four fields, batting cages, pitching facilities and future multi-purpose fields.
Mattamy Homes offers a variety of single-family homes priced from the $240,000s. Homes range in size from 1,700 square feet to more than 3,500 square feet. The community is zoned for Hickory Creek Elementary School, Swiss Point Middle School and Bartram Trail High School.
Amelia National Golf & Country Club
Located in Fernandina Beach, Amelia National Golf & Country Club offers its residents vacation-style living. Amelia National is at Exit 373, about 6 miles east of Interstate 95. The community will have 900 homes when complete.
The centerpiece of Amelia National is a Tom Fazio-designed, championship golf course, tennis courts, fitness and clubhouse facilities, a resort-style pool, dining and nature walks through forests, all behind gated access. Residents also may enjoy the amenities of The Golf Club of Amelia Island Beach Club, including beach access.
Designed and built by ICI Homes, nearly a dozen home plans are available, ranging from 2,440 square feet to 4,000 square feet and are priced starting from the mid-$300,000s. ICI homes offers a “try before you buy” three-night/two-day stay and play package in a home on-site.
St. Johns County
Developer Freehold Communities has partnered with six initial builders to create a community of 2,600 homes on 1,500 acres off County Road 210, including 600 acres of preserved natural habitat, 13 miles of trails and pathways along Trout Creek and a 12.5-acre amenity center.
Amenities include The Hub, a Wi-Fi cafe that serves coffee and grab-and-go foods; a 562-foot lazy river, regarded as the longest in Northeast Florida; The Perch waterside tower, which measures three stories high; lighted tennis courts, including a stadium court; oversized fitness lodge; and a “free-range” playground that encourages active, social play to enhance childhood development. Shearwater employs a full-time lifestyle director.
Timberlin Creek Elementary School is at the entrance to Shearwater, and the community has developed a pathway, separated from main roads, that allows children to safely bike or walk to school.
Current active builders are David Weekley Homes, Lennar, Richmond American Homes, Mastercraft Builder Group, D.S. Ware Homes and Drees Homes. Prices start in the mid-$200,000s. Homes range from 1,637 square fee to more than 4,000 square feet.
St. Johns County
Discovered by Juan Ponce de Leon nearly 500 years ago when he named the region “Pascua de Florida,” Palencia honors the land with its old-world design and architecture.
Developed by Hines, Palencia is a 2,350-acre, master-planned community offering a full spectrum of homesites and more than 33 acres of parks, trails and open areas. Palencia includes 1,380 homes, and will have approximately 1,581 homes at build-out.
Palencia has been incorporated into the environment among coastal plains and tidal marshes. Hines has worked to maintain the environmental integrity of the land, which lies on the west bank of the Intracoastal Waterway and Tolomato River.
At the heart of the Palencia is a 40-acre village center and The Palencia Club, which includes a 33,000-square-foot clubhouse and Arthur Hills-designed golf course.
Located just north of St. Augustine, Palencia’s lifestyle includes four swimming pools, one with a water tower and two-story slide; 8 miles of multiuse paths; 10 lighted clay tennis courts; more than 300 acres of preserves; a 30-acre park system interconnected by a series of boardwalks and fitness trails; a children’s pirate-themed playground; family picnic pavilion; and three baseball fields, a soccer field and basketball courts
Palencia Elementary is within the community.
Portions of the neighborhood are gated and residences include custom homes as well as those offered by regional and national homebuilders. Lennar and Arthur Rutenberg Homes are building the final phases of Palencia, and some custom homesites remain.
Clay and Duval counties
Located in both southwestern Duval and northeastern Clay counties, OakLeaf Plantation is a 6,400-acre master-planned community approved for up to 11,000 dwelling units and features more than 1,400 acres of preservation area; a championship golf course in Eagle Landing at Oakleaf Plantation; five school sites; two retail village centers; a planned public library; 2.5 million square feet of commercial, office and industrial space; a 30-acre medical/office site; a new regional shopping center site and 15 miles of walking and biking paths.
Two multimillion-dollar athletic centers feature a combined 50 acres of recreation with water parks, slide towers, spray grounds, lagoon pools and a lap pool. It also offers clubhouses, fitness centers, soccer and baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, and playgrounds.
Developed by the Hutson Companies, home options include single- and multifamily with prices beginning at less than $100,000 and topping out at more than $500,000.
Single-family homebuilders include Lennar, Standard Pacific, KB Home, Star Homes, Drees Homes, Mattamy Homes, Pulte Homes, D.R. Horton, Richmond American and DreamFinders Homes. Multifamily builders are Coventry, Chestnut Ridge, DreamFinders Homes and Mattamy Homes.
St. Johns County
Bordered by 20,000 acres of preserve land and just across Interstate 95 from the World Golf Village, Bannon Lakes is positioning itself as St. Johns County’s newest affordable and highly amenitized community.
Bannon Lakes is planned for 849 single-family homes, 150 townhomes, 15,000 square feet of office and 105,000 square feet of commercial and retail space on 580 acres.
The central feature is Bannon Lake, part of a 63-acre lake system and home to the community’s 6-acre “island” amenity center with a 4,000-square-foot clubhouse and 5,000-square-foot pool. The island also contains a fitness center; playground; tennis, sport and pickleball courts; and a perimeter walking trail that stretches two-fifths mile. A dog park also is planned.
Homebuilders include KB Home, Pulte Homes Active Adult and AV Homes. Home sizes range from 1,400 to 3,600 square feet and start in the low $200,000s.