2014 News and Announcements
As Real Estate Sales Slowed Nationally, St. Johns County Activity Remained Steady
St. Augustine Record, September 29, 2014. Although pending sales of homes slowed across the country in August, local real estate professionals aren't seeing troubling signs in the St. Johns County market. A release Monday from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said pending home sales slowed in August but were still at the second-highest level over the past year. St. Johns County Activity Remained Steady.
Editorial: Frontier Deal a Good One for Us All
St. Augustine Record, September 13, 2014. So, we have a commuter airline linking St. Augustine to Trenton, N.J., and, now, Washington, D.C. What's the big deal? The answer is "a lot." We've heard the spiel from tourism-types, hyping the great exposure the service will provide for St. Johns County. And that's true. All the emphasis has been on the visitor side of the equation. But there will be some nice perks for our residents as well. And we don't hear a lot about that. Frontier Deal Editorial.
Flagler Ranked in U.S. News' Best Regional Colleges in the South
St. Augustine Record, September 9, 2014. According to a Flagler College press release, Flagler College ranked 8th on the U.S. News & World Report's 2015 edition of Best Colleges for Best Regional Colleges in the South. This is the second year Flagler has ranked in the top 10 in the college guide. Flagler Ranked 8th in the South.
First Frontier Flight from Dulles Lands in St. Augustine
St. Augustine Record, September 8, 2014. The inaugural flight from Washington Dulles to the Northeast Florida Regional Airport arrived Monday carrying 147 passengers and new potential for the tourism industry here. Frontier Airlines' five-times-per-week service between St. Augustine and the nation's capital is now officially underway with the afternoon arrival of an Airbus A320. First Frontier Flight from Dulles.
Wounded Warrior Project Considering Relocation
ActionNewsJax.com, September 3, 2014. The Wounded Warrior Project has been a staple in the community for years. It's a growing nonprofit with plans to reach 100,000 veterans by 2017. In order to do that, the group may have to move. "I think it would be a wonderful thing," said George Mullen, the son of a veteran.
WWP is thinking about relocating its headquarters from the Southside of Jacksonville to either Nocatee or the World Golf Village. Leaders didn't want to go on camera, but did confirm plans to me through a statement. Wounded Warrior Project Considering Relocation.
St. Johns County Quality of Life Among Best in the U.S.
ActionNewsJax.com, September 3, 2014. Move over Jacksonville! St. Johns County is the place to be, not just in Northeast Florida, but nationwide. Just ask Tabitha Miller. She and her young family just moved to the area from Las Vegas. "We kept hearing over and over again about St. Johns County. St. Johns County. It's the new area, so much to do, great people. And we finally decided we have to find a house in St. Johns," she explained. St. Johns County Quality of Life Among the Best.
Wounded Warrior Project Considers Move to St. Johns County
St. Augustine Record, September 2, 2014. Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization, is eyeing two sites in St. Johns County as possible locations for its national headquarters. Officials with the project have applied for economic incentives from St. Johns County if they decide to relocate. Wounded Warrior Project Considers Move to SJC.
As Home Construction Surges in US, St. Johns County Sees Growth
St. Augustine Record, August 19, 2014. Home building picked up this summer around the country, and St. Johns County has been a player in the national trend. A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department says home construction increased 15.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million homes. St. Johns County Sees Growth.
Attracting Manufacturing Jobs Still a Target for St. Johns County
St. Augustine Record, July 22, 2014. When people look back at the “good old days” of economic utopia in America, they're often thinking about the 1950s and 1960s when jobs in manufacturing were increasing, along with wages and personal wealth. It isn't quite as simple these days as many manufacturing jobs have been lost to technology changes and outsourcing. But that hasn't changed the allure of that segment of the economy for workers and politicians who are constantly pitching job creation plans. In St. Johns County, the manufacturing sector might not be the biggest when it comes to total employment, but it affects the entire economy of the community. Manufacturing Jobs Still a Target for St. Johns County.
Dollar General Adding Another Store in St. Johns County
St. Augustine Record, July 15, 2014. Work has begun on what will be the ninth Dollar General Store in St. Johns County. The discount retailer is building its second store on State Road 207 east of Interstate 95. The new store will be at the northern end of 207 near Old Dixie Highway. Dollar General Adding Another Store.
Numbers Show That Real Estate Industry is Coming Back Strong
Jacksonville.com, July 12, 2014. It may have been a long climb, but the real estate industry's steady progress has picked up speed in the last year. From a landscape of foreclosure, excessive supply and impossibly tight lending requirements has emerged the foundation of an active market, low mortgage rates with loosening reins, and multiple-offer sales situations. Real Estate Industry Coming Back Strong.
Nocatee is a Top Selling Community in National Realty Rankings
Beaches Leader / Ponte Vedra Leader, July 10, 2014. Nocatee is the nation's third top-selling master-planned community, according to a ranking by the real estate advisory firm, RCLCO. New home sales in Nocatee for the first six months of 2014 are up 21 percent from last year and as a result, it has been ranked the third best-selling master-planned community in the U.S. Nocatee Top Selling Community.
Nocatee One of the Best Selling Communities in the Nation
Jacksonville Business Journal, July 9, 2014. New home sales in Nocatee saw a 21 percent increase in mid-year sales over last year, making it the third best-selling master-planned community in the nation, according to real estate advisory firm RCLCO. Nocatee was the only top-five community to post a sales increase from 2013, selling 505 homes during the first half of the year. Nocatee One of the Best Selling Communities.
ALDI Added to Revitalized Seabridge Square Shopping Center
St. Augustine Record, July 1, 2014. Once simply referred to around town as the Kmart shopping center, the Seabridge Square plaza on U.S. 1 has transformed itself with a slew of new anchor tenants. The final piece of the renovated commercial space is being completed now in order to accommodate ALDI, the last major retailer to announce its move there. ALDI Added to Revitalized Seabridge Square.
The Living is Easier in St. Johns, Clay and Nassau Counties Than in Duval, Baker and Putnam
Jacksonville.com, June 27, 2014. When it comes to the basic difficulty of living, life in Jacksonville is, well, just about average. Life in St. Johns County, however, is pretty good. The New York Times has written a story, accompanied by an interactive map, ranking every county in the country based on education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor's degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity. SJC in Top 4% of Counties Nationwide.
Construction Set to Begin on New Office Retail Space at Nocatee Town Center
St. Augustine Record, June 25, 2014. Construction will soon begin on a number of new office and retail buildings at Nocatee Town Center, expanding the business offerings to residents of Nocatee and Ponte Vedra. Construction of Town Plaza Offices at Nocatee, four, 7,500-square-foot single-story office buildings, will begin in October 2014, with an anticipated completion date of the first building in March 2015. New Office Retail Space at Nocatee Town Center.
Job Creation Strong in Northeast Florida
St. Augustine Record, June 12, 2014. More jobs are being advertised in the country, and Northeast Florida is a big part of the employment turnaround. Numbers released Tuesday by the U.S. Dept. of Labor showed that there were about 4.5 million job openings in April 2014, an increase of approximately 300,000 from the previous month. Job Creation Strong in NE Florida.
St. Johns County Looks Forward to Spearheading CNG Movement
Jacksonville Business Journal, June 9, 2014. The construction of a compressed natural gas station in St Johns County could make the area a center of the emerging CNG market in Northeast Florida. Members of the county commission see the station—which would be built by Nopetro in a public-private partnership—as an opportunity to take the lead on bringing CNG to the area. SJC Spearheading CNG Movement.
S.R. 9B to Be Finished Sooner Than Expected
St. Augustine Record, June 9, 2014. Work on the third phase of State Road 9B is on the table sooner than officials expected. The part of S.R. 9B that will go from the Duval County line to County Road 2209, or St. Johns Parkway, has been funded, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Work could begin on the project in late 2015. Connection of 2209 and Interstate 95 Funded.
New Incentive Ordinance Gains Traction
St. Augustine Record, May 26, 2014. A new incentive ordinance is expected to be up for approval in the next couple of weeks. The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners heard first reading of the St. Johns County Business Incentive ordinance, which seeks to promote economic development in the county and attract high-quality development. New Incentive Ordinance.
Fidelity’s St. Johns Expansion Sign of Push into Florida Market
Jacksonville Business Journal, May 22, 2014. Fidelity Bank is seeking approval for three new branches in St. Johns County, according to a filing last week with the FDIC. Fidelity Southern Corp. (NASDAQ: LION) currently operates just one local branch, with an ATM and lending office, at 9802 Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville. Fidelity’s St. Johns Expansion.
Plan’s Aim: Attract Business and Ease School Overcrowding
St. Augustine Record, May 20, 2014. An ordinance that seeks to spur economic development—and could help ease pressure on the school district—is set to go before the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners. The St. Johns County School District has been managing increasing student population and budget issues while remaining the top school district in the state for several years. New Business Incentive Ordinance Up for Discussion.
County Unemployment Rate Down to 4.6 Percent
St. Augustine Record, May 16, 2014. St. Johns County's unemployment rate took a significant drop to 4.6 percent in April, according to statistics released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department. It was a significant improvement over the previous month, when the county rate was 5.2 percent. The April rate for St. Johns County was among the lowest in the state. Only five Florida counties had lower rates, led by Walton County at 3.2 percent. County Unemployment Rate Down to 4.6 Percent.
Frontier Airlines to Bring Low Fares and Friendly Service to Washington Dulles International Airport on 14 New Routes
Denver, May 13, 2014. Dedicated to offering "Low Fares Done Right," Frontier Airlines today announced it will launch new ultra-low fare service at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) with nonstop flights to 14 destinations and introductory fares as low as $15 each way. Beginning August 19, the ultra-low cost airline will offer nonstop flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Orlando, Fla., Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Tampa, Fla. Service to Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Las Vegas, Memphis, Tenn., Fort Myers, Fla, St. Louis, and the St. Augustine/Jacksonville, Fla. area begins September 8. Frontier Airlines New Route to Washington Dulles International Airport.
Defenshield Announces Move to St. Johns County
St. Augustine Record, April 26, 2014. St. Augustine won out over other sites in the Southeast to be the new headquarters for Defenshield, a maker of ballistic protection equipment. The announcement was made Friday, and company founder and CEO William Collins White said some of the office supplies will be delivered as early as Monday. The complete transition will take from six months to a year, he said. Eventually, there will be 15-20 skilled workers employed here, White said. Defenshield Announces Move to SJC
Airport Ready for Frontier to Take Off
St. Augustine Record, April 24, 2014. The return of commercial airline travel is just about a week away for the Northeast Florida Regional Airport, and the final preparations are nearly complete. Airport executive director Ed Wuellner said there have been a handful of issues to iron out since Frontier Airlines announced in February that it was going to operate three flights a week between St. Augustine and Trenton, NJ The first of those flights is scheduled for May 2. Airport Ready for Frontier
Governor Scott Visits St. Augustine to Laud Northrop Grumman Expansion
St. Augustine Record, April 18, 2014. A testament to its impact on the state overall as well as to St. Augustine, Northrop Grumman's dedication of its new Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence brought Governor Rick Scott to town. The company already has started work on the 368,000-square-foot aircraft production facility, but Thursday was a chance for St. Augustine workers to gather with Northrop Grumman executives and state and local politicians for a formal ceremony. Governor Scott Visits Northrop Grumman Expansion
Northrop Grumman Dedicates $100M Plant Expansion, Which Will Increase Workforce
Jacksonville Business Journal, April 17, 2014. Northrop Grumman Corporation''s new 400,000-square-foot Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine — which will eventually add 400 jobs and more than $100 million in capital investment — will be completed by next year. The center at the St. Augustine campus is one of five to be built in the nation, increasing the local defense contractor's workforce to 1,400. “This is going to have a dramatic impact for 400 families in this region of Florida,” Governor Rick Scott said during a dedication ceremony held in an aircraft hangar and attended by hundreds of media and aviation workers. Grumman Dedicates Expansion
Sunday Notebook: Businesses that are Changing the Face of Jacksonville
Florida Times-Union, April 5, 2014. MountainStar Capital, a private equity firm, has launched its operations with headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach and another office in Vail, Colorado. It was founded by Christopher Lazzara, who was managing partner in Ponte Vedra Management Group, and Marc Fraga, formerly of Orthodontic America and Orthodontic Education Co. Note: This article is an excerpt from the Sunday Notebook column and references Ponte Vedra Beach, located in St. Johns County, FL.
St. Johns County Welcomes Ideal Aluminum Products and 120 Jobs to Community
Ideal Aluminum Products, a leading manufacturer of aluminum fence, gates and railing, announced today that the company will relocate its headquarters and manufacturing plant from DeLand to St. Johns County. Making the announcement during the April 1 St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners meeting, company officials noted that starting this year up to 120 jobs will be created or relocated to St. Johns County. Ideal made the decision to relocate to St. Johns County after considering locations in Georgia and Florida. Moving its plant will allow for increased manufacturing efficiencies, improved logistics, better access to Ideal's fast growing customer base and operational savings. The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioner has identified Economic Development as a top priority and continues to pursue the recruitment and retention of corporate partners who will bring new jobs to the community, diversify the tax base, and contribute to the overall quality of life. For additional information, please read the Ideal Aluminum Products announcement press release and view the announcement photo.
St. Johns County Unemployment Rate at 5.2 Percent in February
St. Augustine Record, March 28, 2014. Unemployment in St. Johns County remained comparatively low last month, according to data released Friday. St. Johns County was tied with Bradford County with the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in the state in February at 5.2 percent. Information on the labor market was compiled and released by the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The rate was unchanged from January; however, it was 1 percent better than the rate in February 2013. Unemployment Rate at 5.2 Percent in February
2014 County Health Report Ranks St. Johns County #1 in Florida for Third Consecutive Year
For the third year in a row, St. Johns County has been ranked #1 in Florida in the Annual County Health Rankings Report released today by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "As we track and measure health outcomes and factors related to health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment, we are reminded that there is no finish line in our efforts for better health. Building and maintaining a culture of health requires the ongoing collaboration and combined efforts of a wide range of community partners from all sectors," said Dr. Dawn Allicock, Director and Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County. The County Health Rankings Report measures a variety of health indicators that relate to quality and length of life, and serves to illustrate that health is not a singular effort, but a combined work in progress across all community partners. St. Johns County Ranked Healthiest in Florida
Standard and Poor's Increases St. Johns County Credit Rating Two Levels from AA- to AA+
Citing St. Johns County's strong economy, per capita buying power, and low unemployment rate, national ratings services agency Standard and Poor's increased the County's Issuer Credit Rating two levels from AA- to AA+ in February. According to the agency, the County's strong budgetary flexibility and available reserves supported the decision to upgrade the rating. In addition, Standard and Poor's cited optimistic expenditure savings and revenue increase projections, and additional flexibility provided by St. Johns County's relatively low tax structure as factors that contributed to the rating increase. The agency also cited what they consider very strong liquidity in the County's finances, good financial practices, and strong management conditions. Standard and Poor's Increases St. Johns County Credit Rating Two Levels from AA- to AA+
Which Northeast Florida Zip Codes Have the Most Cash to Spend
Jacksonville Business Journal, March 7, 2014. Who has the most disposable income on the First Coast? The Jacksonville Business Journal partnered with demographic business analyzing company Esri to map out and rank the top zip codes. Interestingly, while you may recognize some zip codes from our previous rank which looked at overall wealth, when just examining for the amount of cash individuals had for discretionary spending, the order changed drastically. Which Northeast Florida Zip Codes Have the Most Cash to Spend
Boat Building Site Ready for Return to Business
St. Augustine Record, March 6, 2014. The property where thousands of boats were built and launched is about to see a return to the boating business after six years of inactivity. The waterfront land at the end of Diesel Road, which was once used by shrimp boat maker DESCO and then recreational boat maker Luhrs, is seeing the beginning of a major redevelopment. After getting approval Tuesday by the St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board, St. Augustine Shipyard LLC is ready to move forward on its plan to open a dry boat storage business along with another 24,000 square feet of marine-related retail space. And that's just the first step in what is expected to be a major project on about 50 acres. "We would like to create a destination for marine-oriented businesses," project manager Robert Million said. Boat Building Site Ready for Return to Business
Chipotle Coming to St. Augustine
St. Augustine Record, February 7, 2014. Chipotle Mexican Grill, one of the nation's most popular fast-casual restaurants, is opening a location here in St. Augustine. The franchise, which has more than 1,400 stores around the country, will be located in the Seabridge Square shopping center, which was once home to Kmart. Chipotle Coming to St. Augustine.
$10 Million in Tourism Landing at St. Augustine Airport
Jacksonville Business Journal, February 6, 2014. Frontier Airlines adding direct flights between New Jersey and St. Augustine is adding a big boost to the local tourism industry. America's oldest city is already a popular tourist destination, but Frontier's direct flights are expected to bring an estimated $10 million a year, according to Florida Times-Union. $10 Million in Tourism Landing at St. Augustine Airport
Frontier Traffic Expected to Steer Revenue Toward Airport
St. Augustine Record, February 6, 2014. ... [airport executive director] Wuellner and other county officials have been busy trying to fill the void left by the demise of Skybus. "We've spent pretty much all the time since Skybus left in 2008 marketing the area to different air carriers," Wuellner said. The efforts started to pay off with last week's announcement by Frontier Airlines that it would operate three flights a week between St. Augustine and the Trenton-Mercer Airport in New Jersey. Wuellner is clear, though, that the job isn't finished. "I think Frontier is the first crack in the big ice block," he said. "Hopefully it will wake up some other carriers." Frontier traffic Expected to Steer Revenue Toward Airport
Baptist Primary Care Coming to Nocatee
Jacksonville Business Journal, January 29, 2014. With the projected growth of Nocatee in Ponte Vedra, Baptist Health plans to open a family practice office within the residential planned community. The 5,000-square-foot medical complex, which is slated to break ground this spring, will occupy almost one acre off Crosswater Parkway within the Nocatee Town Center in St. Johns County. Completion is expected by sometime early 2015. Baptist Primary Care Coming to Nocatee
St. Johns County Unemployment Falls to 4.7 Percent
St. Augustine Record, January 24, 2014. While the state unemployment level remained steady at 7.1 percent in June, the local rate also was mostly unchanged. In statistics released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor, St. Johns County continued to be one of the best counties for workers with an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. That ranked the county fifth in terms of the lowest rates in the state. St. Johns County Unemployment Falls to 4.7 Percent
Northeast Florida Homebuilding Continues to Rise
Jacksonville Business Journal, January 16, 2014. Homebuilding in Northeast Florida continued its upward trend in 2013, with builders in Duval, Clay, St. Johns and Nassau counties pulling nearly 6,000 permits. Builders in the four counties pulled a combined 5,971 permits, just shy of 2007's 6,830 permits. ....As has been the case since 2011, St. Johns County led the region, with builders in that count pulling a total of 2,721 permits. Northeast Florida Homebuilding Continues to Rise
Frontier Airlines Adds Service from Trenton-Mercer Airport
to Northeast Florida Regional Airport
Frontier Airlines today announced it will expand its low-fare service at Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN), in Ewing, N.J., with the addition of nonstop service to Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine, Fla. beginning May 2, 2014. To celebrate this announcement, Frontier is offering fares as low as $49 each way through February 8, 2014. Frontier is the only airline providing scheduled service out of Trenton-Mercer Airport, the gateway to New Jersey's state capital, all of central New Jersey, and Southeast Pennsylvania, including metro Philadelphia. Frontier Airlines Adds Service to Northeast Florida Regional Airport.
Focus on Economic Development Paying Off for St. Johns County
St. Augustine Record, January 10, 2014. While St. Johns County has long been considered a desirable place to live or visit, it hasn't always been a player in the world of big business. The current county administration is trying to alter half of that. Because the area has so much to offer, County Administrator Michael Wanchick, his staff, the commissioners and other partners are trying to make the county as attractive to businesses as it is to growing families. “In the past, we were considered very business-unfriendly,” Wanchick said. “We've totally reversed our image.” Economic Development Paying Off for SJC.
Nocatee No. 5 Fastest-selling Master-planned Community
Jacksonville Business Journal, January 9, 2014. Nocatee is the fifth fastest-selling master-planned community in the U.S., according to rankings released Tuesday. Nocatee was among four Florida master-planned communities to make the list, compiled by Irvine, Calif.-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting. The rankings are based on the number of net sales in the community. The 838 homes sold in Nocatee in 2013 represent a 65 percent increase over 2012's 508. Nocatee No. 5 Fastest-selling Community.
Best Places to Open a Business in Jacksonville
Jacksonville Business Journal, January 6, 2014. Location. Location. The location of their establishment can mean success or failure. But determining the best place to set up shop can be tricky sometimes — unless you're John Rivers and tend to go with more sentimental locale. That's why I reached out to the folks at demographic and information services provider Esri and Dun & Bradstreet Inc. to find out what parts of town have the highest retail potential. Best Places to Open a Business in Jacksonville.
Business Leaders Look to Maintain Momentum in 2014
St. Augustine Record, January 3, 2014. There were a lot of positive economic numbers for St. Johns County in 2013, but many in the business community think this year could be even better. In addition to an unemployment rate that dropped to less than 5 percent near the end of the year (statistics available through November), several other indicators showed positive signs in 2013. Among the more significant numbers was the 6-percent increase (through November) in occupancy rates in county hotels — a good sign for the tourism industry in general. Looking to Maintain Momentum.