One of several large developments off County Road 210 between Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 is about to commence building in a market full of competition and high demand.
Beacon Lake developer BBX Capital Real Estate announced Tuesday that Dream Finders and Mattamy Homes each plan to build about 150 single-family homes in the community, starting next year.
The area west of the interstate on C.R. 210 has been growing steadily for the last couple of decades, but now the area to the east is starting to take off.
Beacon Lake is one of three major developments in that part of the county that has recently opened or is about to open. It joins Beachwalk and Creekside, which are operated by a different developer.
Like those other developments, Beacon Lake was originally part of one Development of Regional Impact (DRI), but has since been broken into several pieces. The plan for Beacon Lake is to have about 1,280 single-family homes and 200 townhomes at final build out.
The first phase of the development calls for 302 homes with models built in the first quarter of 2018, said Bruce Parker, managing director for BBX Capital Real Estate. Phase one includes 43- and 63-foot-wide home sites offered by Dream Finders and 53- and 73-foot-wide home sites offered by Mattamy Homes.
Parker added it’s a good time to be opening a new development in St. Johns County, which is currently on a record pace for new home building.
In July, there were 376 permits issued for detached, single-family homes in the county. That’s the second-highest monthly total since the recession, with only March being busier with 382 permits.
For the calendar year, there have been 2,452 new homes permitted so far in 2017. That’s almost as many as the entire year in 2014 (2,533).
“I feel the market is very strong here in this part of the county,” Parker said. “It’s a place that people have been migrating to.
“I would say the schools are the biggest draw. Also, jobs are coming in and there’s a bunch of commercial retail development. It’s a great place to be.”
The builders clearly agree.
“The growth potential of this market is exciting and we’re pleased to continue to be a part of it,” Cliff Nelson, division president for Mattamy Homes Jacksonville, said in a release.
Among the other draws, Parker said the county has done a good job upgrading its infrastructure. New roads and expansions have eased traffic or are expected to in the near future.
C.R. 210 is currently being widened to six lanes in the area of the DRI and to four lanes the rest of the way to I-95. And the State Road 9B extension is also anticipated to be major improvement for those commuting to Jacksonville.
“The road system is much better than it would have been back then (before the recession),” Parker said. “It’s set up much better to handle the growth that’s going on.”
But plenty of other developments will also reap the benefits of the improving roads. Parker said its important that Beacon Lake stands out by offering the most attractive layout possible as well as competitive amenities.
“There are a lot of choices,” Parker said. “Part of it is location. We think we have a fantastic location. And every lot — the majority of the lots — in our community is backing up to a lake or backing (up to) a conservation area.”
And although Beacon Lake is not directly affiliated with Beachwalk and its Crystal Lagoon project nearby, Parker said it will be a draw for buyers interested in being near the unique development with a 14-acre man-made lake.
Residents of Beacon Lake won’t have free access to the whole lagoon, but they will be able to visit the retail/restaurant portions of the mixed-use development.
“That’s definitely a help,” Parker said. “Some of the restaurants and whatnot are planned to be built on the side of the (lagoon). They’ll be able to see that as an amenity. I think it does help.
“And I think we help them because we have another 1,400 rooftops and they’re going to be building, whether it’s a Publix or whatever grocery or restaurant, our rooftops support them. So it’s a very good synergy between us.”