Millions of dollars in both public and private investments have flowed through the beaches communities in recent years as a wave of oceanfront re-development has taken place. But, you have to look closely to see which beaches community has benefited the most because the three cities of Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach all seem to weave together along Third Street, which is also A1A. A number of hotels have been demolished altogether as developers make way for new, rather tall, trendy upscale condominium developments. The last decade has seen Atlantic Beach establish a “Town Center” at the foot of Atlantic Boulevard and Third Street. It’s an entertainment and restaurant complex that attracts young and old alike. City fathers in Jacksonville Beach, along with the City of Jacksonville government, have teamed up to fund a new pier expanding into the Atlantic Ocean. The upgraded SeaWalk Pavilion offers a spectacular oceanfront venue for festivals, concerts and outdoor movies. The area around the Pavilion has been upgraded and improved tremendously offering shops, restaurants, as well as charming office space and city offices. The beaches communities offer a large number of festivals during the summer months beginning with the Annual Opening of the Beaches. Other festivals include Fiesta Playera, a celebration of latino culture filled with great food and soulful music, and the popular Springing the Blues festival. Once considered a sleepy fishing village that gave birth to the world class Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Mayport is on the brink of a renaissance. Look for plans to come to life to create a thriving “Town Center” where retail and new home construction will peacefully co-exist to bring new families to the area.
If you travel south on A1A into St. Johns County, you will enter the upscale community of Ponte Vedra Beach. Once part of a pristine wilderness where people went to retire, this community offers a balance of residential choices, depending on your lifestyle and budget. Select from a range of condominium choices, diverse-style homes or custom waterfront properties. There are homes ranging from the starter variety up to 12,000-square-foot oceanfront palaces with wrought-iron gates surrounded by sand dunes, majestic oaks and other native vegetation. Ponte Vedra Beach is also home to the marshes and streams of the state-protected, sensitive Guana River State Park, a popular preserve offering many relaxing water activities. Today, Ponte Vedra Beach is on the verge of new heights as St. Johns County Public Schools has built a new high school to meet the demands of growth.
This community is home to the headquarters of two world-class sporting organizations, the PGA Tour and the ATP, the governing body for the men’s international tennis circuit. Ponte Vedra Beach also has its share of topnotch restaurants, shopping and commercial office space.
Northern St. Johns County is probably the fastest-growing area on the First Coast. Such spectacular communities as Julington Creek Plantation and World Golf Village as well as County Road 210 and Switzerland offer lifestyle choices as gated communities, golf communities, condominiums and apartment homes. Like many other First Coast communities, golf plays an integral role in this region. Choose from courses designed by Jacksonville native Mark McCumber to golf legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The vast amount of development on St. Johns County Road 210, offers the peacefulness of country charm that’s within a shot of the city hustle-bustle. And, further south of County Road 210 is the prestigious World Golf Village, which is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame, shops, restaurants and an IMAX theater. The area, which also has a new interchange at I-95 South, has seen a number of new hotels crop up.
Located in northern St. Johns County, this development of regional impact (or DRI) is the equivalent of an entirely new city from concept to fruition. Estimated to take 20 years to complete, Nocatee will feature a number of housing choices including an 'active adult', condominium, and single family homes as well as retail shopping, parks, office space, houses of worship and schools.