News and Announcements

2016 St. Johns County
Economic Development Department
Activity Update

With Economic Development as the #1 priority of the Board of County Commissioners, the County’s Economic Development Department works cooperatively with local, state and federal resource agencies to assist businesses interested in locating and expanding into the County. This update is intended to provide a quick glance to highlight specific department activities performed to encourage these outcomes. 2016 Economic Development Activity Report

St. Johns County Snapshot

St. Johns County Snapshot: Facts and Advantages

2016 Was Big Year for Home Building; 2017 Expected to be Bigger

St. Augustine Record, December 27, 2016. The last year was a healthy one for home building in St. Johns County, and it's likely to be just a step toward a peak that's coming in the years ahead. St. Johns County will end up with hundreds more new houses this year than 2015 — when more than 2,500 new detached, single-family home permits were issued. And some builders are saying the coming year will see even more activity. 2016 Big Year for Home Building

St. Johns County Recognized as One of the “Dixie Dozen,” Small Towns, Big Deals, by Southern Business & Development Magazine

SB&D, Winter 2016. In Florida's St. Johns County, local manufacturers grow through exporting. The area is home to a diverse group of manufacturers producing a diverse range of products from military aircraft and aluminum fencing to acoustic wood panels and power supply systems. Dixie Dozen

What the Resumption of this Flight Means for St. Johns County Economic Development

Jacksonville Business Journal, December 22, 2016. Frontier Airlines announced it will resume nonstop service at Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine to Philadelphia International Airport on April 21. Frontier Resumes Flight

Industrial Development Pushed South into St. Johns County

Jacksonville Business Journal, December 22, 2016. As the housing market continues to boom in northern St. Johns County, development of industrial facilities is being pushed south. Industrial Development

St. Johns County Unemployment Rate Stayed at 3.8 Percent in November

St. Augustine Record, December 17, 2016. The unemployment situation in St. Johns County was unchanged from October as the rate remained at 3.8 percent in November, lower than all but one other county in Florida. Unemployment Unchanged in November

New Retailers to Join Nocatee Town Center

Ponte Vedra Recorder, December 15, 2016. Three retail stores, a fitness center and a sub shop will be coming to Nocatee Town Center in 2017. Artsy Abode, Gwen Berlin, GNC, Jersey Mike's Subs and Orangetheory Fitness have committed to occupy a new building. Retailers Join Nocatee Town Center

Census Data: St. Johns County Recovered Better than Florida Overall from 2010 to 2015

St. Augustine Record, December 12, 2016. As Floridians trudged through the economic recovery in the first half of the decade, new data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows St. Johns County residents have emerged better than the state in general. SJC Recovered Better Than FL

St. Augustine Shopping Center Gets Publix, Other New Tenants

Jacksonville Business Journal, November 30, 2016. Publix Supermarket Inc. has signed a 20-year lease to anchor the Palencia Commons shopping center in St. Augustine where a Food Lion had been. Publix at Palencia Commons

Ideal Aluminum Lauded for Creating Quality Jobs by Florida Governor Scott

Aluminum Insider, November 21, 2016. Florida's governor Rick Scott visited aluminum fence and gate manufacturer Ideal Aluminum on Friday, holding the firm out as an example of a successful local manufacturer that has excelled over the past several years at putting Floridians to work. Ideal Aluminum Creating Quality Jobs

Local Owner Plans to Move HVAC Company to St. Johns County

St. Augustine Record, November 16, 2016. In a move that could bring a few dozen high-paying jobs to St. Johns County and a lot of satisfaction to one business owner, Clarke Story of MAS HVAC took a step toward relocating his company to the county on Tuesday. Plans to Move MAS HVAC to SJC

County Sees Growth of Workforce; Unemployment Rate Stays Low

St. Augustine Record, October 22, 2016. St. Johns County has seen an increase in its overall workforce in the last year and has experienced an almost equal boost in jobs as the unemployment rate remains low, government data released Friday show. County Sees Growth of Workforce

ViaAir Adds More Seats to/from St. Augustine, FL and Charlotte, NC

Northeast Florida Regional Airport Press Release, October 20, 2016. The Northeast Florida Regional Airport is pleased to announce the addition of jet service on ViaAir's nonstop service to Charlotte, North Carolina. The Embraer Regional Jet began flying the St. Augustine to Charlotte route on Sunday, October 2nd and has been well received by passengers. ViaAir Adds More Seats

St. Johns County Commission Approves Economic Development Incentives for New Burkhardt Headquarters, Distribution Center

St. Augustine Record, October 17, 2016. St. Johns County commissioners unanimously approved drafting an agreement earlier this month awarding $426,141 in economic development incentives to Burkhardt Distributing Company. The beer distributor plans to build an $11 million, 113,000-square-foot office/warehouse in the county to serve as its headquarters and distribution center. Economic Development Incentives for Burkhardt HQ

Builders Trying to Keep up with Housing Market Demands

St. Augustine Record, September 27, 2016. Lack of inventory is holding back sales of new homes in the country, according to a report from the Commerce Department released Monday. As reported by The Associated Press, new home sales dropped 7.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 609,000 units. Builders Trying to Keep Up

St. Johns County Mega Development Ahead of Schedule, to Start Clearing Land Next Month

Jacksonville Business Journal, September 27, 2016. Phase One of St. Johns County's 1,700-acre commercial development the Pavilion at Durbin Park will start clearing land next month as road construction of the 9B interchange is ahead of schedule. Pavilion at Durbin Park

Amenity Center Arms Race is on in St. Johns County

Jacksonville Business Journal, September 21, 2016. Walter O'Shea remembers when he was planning Palencia in the early 2000s and residents' preferences began to shift. At that time, residential developments in Northeast Florida offered golf courses, tennis courts and pools, but not much else. Amenity Center

St. Johns by the Numbers: Census Survey Shows Fast-Growing County is Well-Educated, Affluent

St. Augustine Record, September 16, 2016. St. Johns County is the richest in the state of Florida, according to new information released this week from a national survey. Richest in State

Flagler College Earns its Highest Ranking in U.S. News & World Report

St. Augustine Record, September 15, 2016. Flagler College received its highest recognition in the U.S. News & World Report's 2017 Best Colleges guide that was just released. Flagler College Earns Highest Ranking

Lots of Activity, Low Inventory in Regional Housing Market

St. Augustine Record, September 14, 2016. There continues to be a scarcity of available homes in Northeast Florida, despite the uptick in new construction activity, according to area real estate professionals. Regional Housing Market

Building Momentum: New Home Permits Almost Equal to 2015 Total

St. Augustine Record, September 12, 2016. Less than halfway through September, the number of building permits issued for new single-family homes in St. Johns County has nearly eclipsed the figure for all of 2015. New Home Permits

Economy Drives Strong Commercial Real Estate Market

Financial News & Daily Record, September 6, 2016. Jacksonville's commercial real estate market remained strong through the second quarter of 2016. Commercial Real Estate Market

Why St. Johns County had an Exhibit at a Major CRE Summit

Jacksonville Business Journal, August 23, 2016. Developers often tell St. Johns County's officials the area is underserved and in need of more retail space. CRE Summit

Indoor Sports Facility Planned for Northern St. Johns County

St. Augustine Record, August 20, 2016. Lisa Davis says she is no expert in the demographics of families and participation in sports in North Florida, but she has enough personal experience to know the landscape could be better. Indoor Sports Facility

St. Johns County Reports Unemployment Rate Well Below State Rate

St. Augustine Record, August 19, 2016. Despite a slight increase compared to the previous month, St. Johns County reported the second-lowest unemployment rate in the state in July. Low Unemployment Rate

The Center of Jacksonville's Office Market Could be Shifting South

Jacksonville Business Journal, August 18, 2016. As residential development continues in northern St. Johns County and retail development starts to catch up, some real estate experts argue there's a shift underway in which the center of the area's office market space is shifting south from J. Turner Butler Boulevard. Office Market Shifting South

County Counting on New CNG Facility to Save Money, Attract Businesses

St. Augustine Record, August 18, 2016. St. Johns County's status as a place of innovation in the area of alternative fuels was celebrated Wednesday with the ceremonial opening of the Nopetro compressed natural gas station. CNG Facility

Nopetro and St. Johns County Open CNG Fueling Facility

Nopetro, August 18, 2016. Nopetro has announced the grand opening of its newest compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling facility, in St. Johns County, designed to serve both county-owned commercial vehicles and the public at-large. CNG Fueling Facility

Crystal Lagoon Moves Closer to Being a Reality

Jacksonville Business Journal, August 18, 2016. The crystal-clear waters of a man-made lagoon in northern St. Johns County could soon be moving closer to a reality as earthmovers widen Country Road 210. Crystal Lagoon

St. Johns County Jumps into Natural Gas Economy as First CNG Facility Opens

Jacksonville Business Journal, August 17, 2016. A new compressed natural gas facility means more growth for Northeast Florida's efforts to become an alternative energy hub, with the first facility outside of Jacksonville making the effort truly regional. Natural Gas Facility

What to Expect in Residential Development in St. Johns County

Jacksonville Business Journal, August 3, 2016. Residential development in northern St. Johns County has continued to pick up speed as the economy has improved as another massive, master-planned community revealed its amenity center Saturday. Shearwater Development

Skinner Bros. Bring Large-Scale Project to St. Johns County

Jacksonville Business Journal, August 3, 2016. The success of northern St. Johns County's residential development has garnered widespread news coverage, but the southern end has also seen growth and recently some commercial development. Redeveloping Moultrie Square

West Augustine Ready to Welcome Family Dollar to the Neighborhood

St. Augustine Record, July 21, 2016. When Greg White presides over the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning for the new Family Dollar store on West King Street, it will be the happy end of a yearslong process to bring a national chain to the West Augustine community. Welcome Family Dollar

First Phase of Durbin Park Could Open in 2018

Financial News & Daily Record, June 30, 2016. By next year this time, ground should be broken and likely some tenants announced for the first phase of the 1,600-acre Durbin Park in northern St. Johns County, expected to bring jobs, stores and services to area residents. First Phase of Durbin Park

Developer Says Durbin Park Mixed-use Development will Open in 2018

St. Augustine Record, June 29, 2016. The kind of development St. Johns County politicians and economic leaders have been coveting for years finally seems to be coming to fruition. Durbin Park, a 1,600-acre, mixed-used development near the Duval County line, is going forward, according to a Wednesday announcement by Gate Petroleum Company and Gatlin Development Company. Durbin Park Open in 2018

Gate Petroleum, Gatlin Development Talk about St. Johns Development

Jacksonville Business Journal, June 29, 2016. The massive, 1,600-acre mixed-use development in northern St. Johns County continues to inch closer to the day when raw land is transformed into a shopping behemoth that could one-day rival the St. Johns Town Center. St. Johns Development

Gate and Gatlin Development Announce Plans for Durbin Park

Gate/Gatlin Development News Release, June 29, 2016. GATE Petroleum Company, one of Florida's largest privatelyheld companies, and Gatlin Development Company, a real estate investment corporation, today
announced plans for Durbin Park, a 1,600 acre, super-regional, mixed-used development in St. Johns
County. Durbin Park

New State Road 9B to Open

News4Jax, June 1, 2016. The new State Road 9B, connecting U.S. 1/Philips Highway to Interstate 95, is scheduled to open to traffic in stages starting this weekend, the Florida Department of Transportation announced Wednesday. State Road 9B to Open

Made in St. Johns County: Local Manufacturers Grow Through Exporting

Florida Export Guide, 2016. Florida's St. Johns County is home to an eclectic blend of small businesses and major employers who manufacture a diverse range of products, from military aircraft and aluminum fencing to acoustic wood panels and power supply systems. Florida Export Guide

St. Johns County's Unemployment Rate Third-Lowest in State in April

St. Augustine Record, May 20, 2016. For the first time in about a year, the unemployment rate in St. Johns County was not the second-lowest in the state last month. But the information released Friday still showed the county in a good position. Unemployment Rate Third Lowest

St. Johns County Development on Display, Nocatee Developer Shares Tips

Jacksonville Business Journal, May 20, 2016. St. Johns County is one of the fastest growing areas in the state, not to mention the country. That fact was on display Thursday night as the Urban Land Institute held a community meeting where more than 150 people heard from the county's developers about several housing projects and master planned communities. SJC Development on Display

Census Report: Housing Unit Growth in St. Johns County Among Highest in Nation

St. Augustine Record, May 19, 2016. To no surprise of its residents, St. Johns County was among the nation's fast-growing counties in the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. In a document released Thursday, St. Johns County was No. 36 on the list of fastest growing counties with 5,000 or more housing units: July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015. Housing Unit Growth

Special Report: North Florida Regional Airport Growing, Diversifying

Jacksonville Business Journal, May 13, 2016. The North Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine is having a moment. The small airport restarted service with Frontier Airlines about three weeks ago, opened a $4.5 million permanent terminal and is now exploring a new master plan that includes a designated logistics facility. NFRA Growing

All Cylinders — St. Johns Grows its Base Beyond Tourism

Florida Trend, May 2016. The historic sites of St. Augustine and the golf resorts of Ponte Vedra Beach make tourism a driving force in the St. Johns County economy. But other sectors are clicking as well: Along with leisure and hospitality and construction, "our manufacturers are also growing;' says Melissa Glasgow, director of economic development in St. Johns County. Beyond Tourism

New Terminal at St. Augustine Airport Nears Completion as New Service About to Start

Florida Times Union, April 12, 2016. Frontier Airlines flights through the Northeast Florida Regional Airport will resume Thursday, and the terminal experience promises to be an improved one for those passing through. In the last 3½ months, the airport authority has overseen a renovation of the terminal building. Terminal Nears Completion

Florida Community Nation's Fastest Growing

WTLV, March 24, 2016. For the third year in a row, the retirement community The Villages in central Florida was the nation's fastest-growing metro area. New figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show that The Villages had the nation's fastest population growth rate at 4.3 percent from July 2014 to July 2015. Nation's Fastest Growing

Study Shows St. Johns is Healthiest County in Florida While Nearby Duval Ranks in Bottom Half

Florida Times Union, March 16, 2016. The healthiest county in Florida is St. Johns, while Duval lags significantly. That's according to a study released Wednesday measuring the overall health in almost every county in the United States. The report breaks down the numbers into two categories: health factors and health outcomes. Both lists show St. Johns County is the healthiest in Florida. Healthiest County

Why St. Augustine is Becoming a Millennial Hotspot

Jacksonville Business Journal, March 7, 2016. Just a few years ago, St. Augustine was primarily a tourist destination for baby boomers who spent their nights at area bed and breakfasts and their days walking around St. George Street. Now, the historic city, buoyed by a growing craft cocktail and beer industry, an emerging culinary scene and growing live music culture, is attracting more and more individuals from the younger demographic. Why St. Augustine is Becoming a Millennial Hotspot

Maple Street Biscuits Opening Second Restaurant Concept in St. Augustine

Jacksonville Business Journal, February 29, 2016. Following the success of its biscuit-and-chicken restaurants, Jacksonville-based Maple Street Biscuits will be opening a second restaurant concept in St. Augustine. The restaurant, B Street Eats, will open in the two-story building behind Maple Street Biscuits' store in St. Augustine at 41 Cordova St. Maple Street Biscuits Opening Second Restaurant Concept in St. Augustine

Miami Developer Seeks to Bring Beachfront Lifestyle to Inland Communities

The Washington Post, February 25, 2016. When valuing waterfront property, real estate experts often say "they can't make any more of it" — so therefore, it will always hold onto its appeal. While it's not possible to create more oceanfront land, Crystal Lagoons, a Miami-based company, is introducing Caribbean-style beachfront property to locations around the world. The largest of these, a 14-acre "crystal lagoon," is planned for Twin Creeks, a community under development in St. John's County, Fla., between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Miami Developer Seeks to Bring Beachfront Lifestyle to Inland Communities

St. Johns County's Growth in North Nowhere Close to Finished

St. Augustine Record, February 13, 2016. Northern St. Johns County's time as a forested, mostly uninhabited area is nearly history as huge developments and ever-widening roadways now occupy the space. It's been the area that has absorbed the brunt of the county's population rise of about 100,000 residents in the last 15 years. And judging by the number of those seeking approval for new major developments, the revival of older projects or the continuation of established neighborhoods, it's clear there's more of the same in store for years to come. St. Johns County's Growth in North Nowhere Close to Finished

St. Johns Schools #1 in State High Marks

St. Augustine Record, February 12, 2016. The school grades for the 2014-15 school year may be about six months tardy, but it's better late than never for the St. Johns County School District. St. Johns County was one of 22 A-rated school districts but posted the highest total points earned, at 528, boasting the highest scores in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies of Florida's 67 school districts. Fourteen elementary schools, five middle schools and all of the School District's K-8 academies and high schools received an A this year. St. Johns Schools #1 in state High Marks

January Permits For New Homes Highest For The Month in a Decade

Florida Times Union, February 2, 2016. Led by St. Johns County, last month was the busiest January for new single-family building permits since 2006. According to the Northeast Florida Builders Association, a total of 572 permits were issued in the four-county area. That's over 100 more than January 2015 and almost 350 more than were issued in January 2009 at the depths of the housing recession. New Home Permits Highest in Decade

Although Manufacturing Down Nationwide, Local Companies Find Growth

St. Augustine Record, February 1, 2016. While a report issued Monday suggests that manufacturing is slowing — if not contracting — some local companies say that any downward trend nationally isn't affecting them. According to The Associated Press, U.S. factory activity shrank in January for a fourth straight month as a strong dollar and weak demand overseas pinched American manufacturers. That information came from a report by the Institute for Supply Management released Monday. Local Companies Find Growth

St. Johns County has Head Start for Success, Economist Says

St. Augustine Record, January 29, 2016. In order to achieve sustained success in the modern economy, the key is investing in the education of the future workforce, state economist Jerry Parrish says. And that's one of the areas where St. Johns County is already well ahead of the curve. Parrish, the chief economist and director of research at the Florida Chamber Foundation, spoke to members of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce on Friday morning. He said that while economic indicators are good for Florida right now, a strong dollar and global uncertainties will weigh down the current momentum. Head Start for Success

Gatlin, Gate to Launch Durbin Lakes Retail Center

Financial News & Daily Record, January 28, 2016. When veteran developer Frank Gatlin moved his company's headquarters to Jacksonville in June, he promised to bring more retail stores and restaurants to the area. That promise should start yielding results over the next year as he develops at least 600,000 square feet of commercial space in a joint venture with Gate Petroleum Co. at Gate's Durbin Creek property along Interstate 95 in northern St. Johns County. Durbin Lakes Retail Center

Could St. Johns County be Getting its Own Version of the St. Johns Town Center?

Jacksonville Business Journal, January 28, 2016. Imagine the St. Johns Town Center spread over 1,600 acres with lakes and trees and nature trails surrounding big box retailers, high-end restaurants and entertainment businesses. That is long-time developer Frank Gatlin's vision for Durbin Lakes in northern St. Johns County. The development is owned by Jacksonville-based Gate Petroleum Co. and the two have teamed up to build 600,000 square-feet of commercial space for the first phase of a massive development in Northern St. Johns County. Getting Own Version of St. Johns Town Center

Major Residential Community in St. Johns County Celebrates Opening

Jacksonville Business Journal, January 27, 2016. A 1,500-acre master-planned community in St. Johns County will open to the public this weekend. Shearwater can build a maximum of 2,000 homes on the site on County Road 210. The development includes 600 acres of preserved natural habitat with 13 miles of trails and a kayak launch point on Trout Creek as more residential developments move to healthy-living-focused themes that have gained popularity with residents. Residential Community Celebrates Opening

Bahama Lifestyle Coming to St. Johns County?

Jacksonville Business Journal, January 26, 2016. Blue waters that appear ripped straight from the Caribbean lap against sandy shores. You can almost feel the cool Bahama breeze. But this isn't some tropical island paradise, it's St. Johns County — or it soon could be. Bahama Lifestyle Coming

St. Johns County's Unemployment Rate Remained Second-Lowest in State in December

St. Augustine Record, January 22, 2016. The unemployment rate for St. Johns County was 3.5 percent in December, it was reported Friday, the same rate as in November. And again, that rate was the second-lowest in the state, trailing only Monroe County at 3.2 percent. Unemployment Rate Second-Lowest

This Man-Made Lagoon Puts Your Pool to Shame

New York Post, January 21, 2016. With turquoise waters hugging sandy shores, wide waterside boardwalks and people paddling away on kayaks, you may think you're looking out a t a beachy scene in the Caribbean. But looks can be deceiving: It's actually the coolest amenity in the middle of a 3,000-acre real estate development in northern Florida, and it's not even located on the coastline. Man-Made Lagoon

Strong Sales Keep Nocatee No. 3 Master-Planned Community in Country

St. Augustine Record, January 12, 2016. Having celebrated its 4,000th home sale last year, Nocatee was again ranked as the nation's third-best-selling master-planned community, behind only The Villages near Ocala and The Irvine Ranch outside Los Angeles. The numbers were recently released by real estate advisory firm RCLCO in its report of the top-selling master-planned communities of 2015. Strong Sales Keep Nocatee No. 3

Nocatee Third in Nation in Master-Planned Community Sales

Jacksonville Business Journal, January 15, 2016. The Nocatee community continues to see impressive sales, once again ranking as the third best-selling master-planned community in the country. Nocatee saw 1,105 houses sold in 2015, 30 percent more than in 2014, when it also ranked third, according to RCLCO real estate advisers. Nocatee Third in Nation

Frontier Airlines Adds Nonstop Service from Northeast Florida Regional Airport to Philadelphia and Chicago

Frontier Airlines, January 7, 2016. Frontier Airlines today announced it will continue its low-fare service at Northeast Florida Regional Airport (UST) in St. Augustine, FL with the addition of two new, nonstop routes to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and to Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD). Service to Chicago will begin on April 14, 2016 while service to Philadelphia will begin on April 15, 2016. Frontier's Low-Fare Nonstop Service


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