A high-profile development in northwest St. Johns County has been recognized by its peers.
Jacksonville-based Gatlin Development Co. won a CoStar Impact Award for its Grand Cypress apartments.
Those along with Gatlin’s adjacent Palacio apartments total 844 units in northwest St. Johns County at the site of the former bestbet greyhound racing track and poker room in Saint Johns.
Gatlin Development Co. Inc. is led by CEO Frank Gatlin III and Principal Frankie Gatlin IV.
“These luxury apartment communities, are poised to redefine modern living in St. Johns County,” said Frankie Gatlin IV.
Despite industry supply-chain challenges, construction has been ahead of schedule, he said.
Gatlin Development paid $16.5 million for the 103-acre property in May 2021 and broke ground that year. It includes 30 acres of preserved wetlands.
The site, sold by Bayard Raceways Inc., is at southwest U.S. 1 and Race Track Road. Gatlin demolished the racetrack and poker room, which closed in 2012. Bestbet opened a new location along Interstate 95.
The Gatlins estimate the entire Grand Cypress development, including retail space, as a $400 million investment.
Franklin Benefit Street Partners provided the financing for the entire project, they said.
The development includes the Winn-Dixie-anchored Grand Cypress Marketplace with about 80,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, medical and office space.
CoStar chose the Grand Cypress project as the 2023 Jacksonville Multifamily Development of the Year. It says the impact awards highlight the commercial real estate transactions and projects that have transformed their markets over the past year.
The winners are chosen by independent panels of industry professionals who work in the markets they judge. CoStar provides commercial real estate information, analytics and news.
Summit Contracting Group in Jacksonville was the general contractor of the apartments. Greystar manages the property.
Group 4 Design was the architect. EnVision Design + Engineering was the civil engineer.
The Grand Cypress and Palacio apartments are open, operational and leasing.
Grand Cypress, which opened in January at 125 Grand Cypress Drive, has 588 units in one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans from 707 to 1,424 square feet. Rental rates range from $1,600 to $2,500.
The garden-style design comprises four four-story buildings and 28 carriage houses. Each carriage house is a two-story building of two units each with garages on the ground level.
Amenities include a clubhouse with a fitness center, business center, four individual workspaces for private work and calls; conference rooms that can be reserved by tenants; billiards; a coffee bar; lounge; and a kitchen for tenant and catering use.
The $2 million courtyard includes a resort-style pool, pavilion, restrooms, cabanas, fire pits, grills and an event lawn that includes bocce ball.
The project has storage units that tenants can rent.
The Grand Cypress apartments also have a residents-only 8-acre park with a walking trail, dog park and benches.
Palacio, which opened in May at 130 N. Big Cypress Drive, has 256 units of one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans from 750 to 1,500 suare feet with a “courtyard” style architecture and climate-controlled hallways. Rental rates are $1,600 to $2,500 a month.
Palacio is Spanish for palace.
The courtyard style is one four-story building that wraps around the central amenity yard.
Gatlin Development said the building incorporates the natural landscape including “two majestic live oak trees that create an outdoor courtyard connected by a paseo (walkway) to the pool and lanai.”
Amenities include a clubhouse with a business center, private office spaces, reservable conference space, a two-story fitness center and on-site storage.
Both apartment developments have elevators.
“We are creating an unparalleled living experience for our residents,” Gatlin IV said.
Grand Cypress Marketplace comprises the shopping center with five outparcels of about 1 acre each.
The 43,613-square-foot Winn-Dixie is steps from Palacio. The shopping center space is fully leased.
Outparcels include Zaxby’s, which is open; and LUV Car Wash, a Wawa gas station and convenience store, Heartland Dental and a Hot Pot restaurant that are expected to open by year-end.
Southeastern Grocers opened the Winn-Dixie on Dec. 14, 2022.
The supermarket and its separate Winn-Dixie Liquor store were developed at 100 Little Cypress Drive.
“It’s a matter of being part of the development and growth of St. Johns County,” said Shawn Sloan, North Florida Region vice president for Winn-Dixie, after a tour of the store Dec. 13.
Gatlin Development and real estate firm Cantrell & Morgan are leasing out the Grand Cypress Marketplace.
Gatlin Development Co. Inc. also is a managing partner of the first phase of the nearby The Pavilion at Durbin Park in St. Johns County.