When the Twin Creeks development was first proposed more than a decade ago, the plan for a new community off County Road 210 near U.S. 1 seemed like something that would attract a lot of buyers with such a prime location.
But the project just didn’t come to life.
Changes in ownership of the property, a foreclosure, the collapse of the housing market and the recession helped shelve the project, which was first proposed as a Development of Regional Impact in August 2005 with 5,000 total homes.
In 2012, Encore Capital Management took control of the property. As leaders there watched nearby Nocatee flourish and saw the overall housing market in North Florida reignite, they decided it was time to make the development finally happen.
Although much different than originally planned, Twin Creeks is about to emerge as one of the busy developments in the northern part of St. Johns County.
Three different communities are opening in the area, starting with Creekside at Twin Creeks. Creekside, with 591 home sites, is the smaller portion on the development on the southern side of C.R. 210.
Also on the southern side is Beacon Lake, which is slated for 1,280 single-family homes and 196 town homes. That parcel is being developed by BBX Capital Real Estate.
On the north side, developer John Kinsey and his partners are developing Beachwalk with 850-900 homes and the giant Crystal Lagoon.
Kinsey, who will lead a groundbreaking next week for Beachwalk, said St. Johns County is appealing to his group for the same reasons it appeals to everyone else: schools, quality of life, etc.
And unlike other developments, Creekside, Beacon Lake and Beachwalk are just minutes from Interstate 95 or U.S. 1. It also has the added benefit of the ongoing expansion of C.R. 210 from two lanes to six lanes in the area.
“You can’t find a better location anywhere than what we think we have in all three of these communities,” Kinsey said.
The first few homeowners are already moving into Creekside, which features homes in the $200,000s on up into the luxury market.
“It’s an exciting area,” he said. “You look at the mix of what we have here at Creekside, (and) you’re attracting pretty much the entire range of people that live here.”
To serve customers, Kinsey has attracted builders Pulte, Drees and Lennar to Creekside.
Pulte representatives said their participation in Creekside is just a continuation of the ongoing strategy to stay involved in the North Florida market.
“We opened new communities at Las Calinas and in Palencia, where we are generally targeting family buyers,” said Clint Ball, vice president of operations for PulteGroup’s North Florida Division in an email to The Record. “We also were extremely excited to be able to launch our Pulte Active Adult brand in Jacksonville, with Bridge Bay at Bannon Lakes, where we will have our grand opening in April.”
Ball said getting in at Creekside was a goal for Pulte, as well.
“Creekside is a location that we have targeted for a number of years,” he said. “The location off of C.R. 210 is phenomenal, with access to both I-95 and the 9B less than 5 miles from the entrance to the community.”
Lennar is also building in St. Johns County communities Windward Ranch, Palencia and Oakridge Landing. Lennar director of sales and marketing Matt Figlesthaler said his company was anxious to join Creekside for the same reasons as the other builders.
“We wanted to be part of this big sleeping giant master plan of Twin Creeks,” Figlesthaler said in an email to The Record. “The driver was its location, school districts, and value we could offer in Creekside at Twin Creeks.
“We are located right next to Nocatee but much more convenient to I-95 which makes for an easy commute to all of Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas.”
With the popular Nocatee just a few minutes down the road, the many developments happening west of I-95 and all the emerging and established communities along U.S. 1, competition for buyers is going to be serious for the Twin Creeks neighborhoods.
Kinsey said it’s clear what new developments have to do in order to stay relevant in the area.
“Nocatee is the one that kind of got the ball rolling six years ago, and they’ve set the standard that everyone else has to meet or exceed,” he said.
Despite so much activity from so many companies in St. Johns County, Kinsey said his research shows that demand is going to be solid moving forward.
“The largest single group that is buying new homes are millennials,” he said. “For many years, people said millennials will never buy homes. Builders are finding this nationwide: that millennials are very actively jumping into the home market just like every generation before them. There’s no reason to think that’s going to all the sudden stop.”