Jacksonville is voted one of the best places in America to live, work and raise a family. It was named one of the top three "Hottest Cities" by Expansion Management magazine in 2004. In fact, Jacksonville is thriving and on course for greatness. A superior quality of life and a strong economy is a winning combination which has attracted many new residents to the fast-growing area.
Jacksonville has the Beaches, the largest urban park district in the nation, award-winning golf courses, championship tennis facilities and an active cultural scene. In addition to the warm climate, Jacksonville also has a wide array of shops and restaurants to enjoy.
The Florida Association of Realtors indicates that in 2004, the median price range of homes in Jacksonville rose 22 percent to $172,000, compared to the national median price of $188,500. Local residents and newcomers agree that Jacksonville real estate has more to offer for your money. Compared to the rest of the state, homes in Jacksonville are more affordable. Because Jacksonville encompasses the entire county and the largest footprint of any city in the U. S., there are plenty of types of neighborhoods from which to choose.
Jacksonville has a variety of homes and neighborhoods to suit every taste and budget. There are flexible terms on mortgages and payment schemes available to cater to a wide market. Jacksonville feels like home no matter where you live: in a home on the river, a condominium at the beach, an apartment, or a townhouse in a quiet neighborhood. Take a look at a brief description of Jacksonville's communities:
Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach are the three communities between Mayport Naval Station and the area around Butler Boulevard. In addition to ocean access, the Beaches boast a variety of housing styles from cottages to condominiums and mansions, as well as outstanding public schools including a National Blue Ribbon school located in Jacksonville Beach. There are many restaurants, from upscale to casual, and the area boasts a vibrant nightlife and venues featuring live performances, festivals and cultural events. Recreational opportunities including camping, hiking and biking, water sports such as surfing and swimming, and terrestrial activities like golf and tennis. They are in season nearly year round thanks to the moderate climate.
Bordered by Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park to the north, Atlantic Boulevard to the south and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west, Atlantic Beach offers a small-town atmosphere with easy access to the ocean. Approximately 3 square miles in area and mostly residential with approximately 14,000 citizens, this small community has nearly 2 miles of sandy beach and more than 65 acres of park land. The town-center, located near the Sea Turtle Inn, is a popular gathering point with many quaint eateries and boutiques.
Jacksonville Beach is 9 square miles in area with a population of more than 23,000. Jacksonville Beach has approximately 5 miles of beach. Just about any time of day, you can see people here biking or riding the waves. Cultural, music and entertainment events often are presented on the Sea Walk Pavilion stage which is the focal point of everything from blues festivals to the famous Crawfish Festival. Many entertainment and dining venues are enjoyed by residents here.
The newest and smallest of the Beaches neighborhoods, Neptune Beach is approximately 2.5 square miles in area. The city of Neptune Beach is a community of approximately 7,500 located between Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach. The primary focus of the community is to protect the residential nature of the city and to maintain a high quality of life. Neptune Beach public schools are highly regarded.
Convenience and location make Jacksonville's Southside a popular place to live. Centrally located, the Southside is bordered by Arlington to the north and east, St. Johns County to the south and San Marco and I-95 to the west. This is literally the southernmost area of urban Jacksonville and is in the middle of all other Jacksonville communities. Surrounded by San Jose, Arlington, Mandarin and the Beaches, Southside has the area's largest grouping of apartment communities. Many new developments are less than a year old. Many Jacksonville residents may think of the Southside as predominantly new development. This perception is understandable. Growth in the area over the last two decades has been rapid and well publicized. Neighborhoods range from working class, single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes to upscale gated and golf communities with many amenities. The area is home to a mix of architectural styles such as bungalow, contemporary, Western ranch, Tudor, traditional, farmhouse, Cape Cod, Colonial, French country, Mediterranean, Spanish, Victorian and brownstone. The city maintains an extensive network of parks all over the Southside including neighborhood, preservation, and community parks. Various parks offer a mix of playgrounds, swimming pools, trails, picnic and cooking areas, sports and multi-use fields, lighted tennis courts, concession areas and community centers. Commuting, shopping and recreation are convenient. Residents enjoy local golf courses, abundant dining and entertainment, grand shopping centers like Tinseltown and St. Johns Town Center, and easy access to the beaches via J. Turner Butler Boulevard.
Mandarin is situated in the southwest corner of Duval County. Bordered by the St. Johns River to the west and Julington Creek to the South, this quiet, suburban community extends as far north as Baymeadows Road and east to Philips Highway. In the latter part of the 1800s, Mandarin was the summer home to author Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote at length about the area with which she had fallen in love. In her book, Palmetto Leaves, readers are given a glimpse of life in 19th century Mandarin where she described in detail the natural endowments of the area. Today, the place where she spent her summers overlooking the St. Johns River is a destination for history buffs, along with the historic post office and museum at Walter Jones Historical Park. Historic significance is not the only asset Mandarin offers. Mandarin has been a popular family community for years. Quality education is a priority and real estate experts agree that Mandarin has excellent public and private schools. The community has several parks, marinas and more waterfront views than any other area in Jacksonville. Local residents enjoy Walter Jones Historical Park, Mandarin Regional Park, Losco Regional Park, Chuck Rogers Park, Flynn Park and Burnett Park.
Another historical area, San Marco is famous for its curved streets which show off trees and scenic vistas. Bounded by Interstate 95, Philips Highway and Greenridge Road, San Marco sits on the banks of the St. John's River and originally was part of an 1818 Spanish land grant, the 350-acre parcel purchased by William McKay in 1836 and became known as Magnolia Plantation. A series of property transactions and a devastating fire in 1901 brought unprecedented development to San Marco. Telfair Stockton and William Pitkin were an integral part of the concept and character of San Marco. Combining European architecture and culture with what at that time was state-of-the-art suburban planning, these two important developers established the area in a way unique to Jacksonville at that time. The central part of San Marco with its grand square patterned after St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, and a fountain presided over by kingly lion sculptures have remained a focal point. The first residences were completed behind the square in the Marco Lake area and boasted homes in a variety of opulent styles, including Mediterranean Revival, Tudor, Georgian and Colonial. Although some have been refurbished and somewhat changed over the century, these homes retain the elegance and grace their builders intended. Many homes are within walking distance to a brick-paved road which leads to trendy shops, theaters and restaurants. Schools here are among the most respected. Two prominent medical facilities and several medical offices are right here.
Arlington has abundant waterfront property, surrounded by the St. Johns on the west and north and the Intracoastal on the east. Fort Caroline National Park overlooks the site of a former colony of French Huguenots. Jacksonville University, Jones College and a small airfield are located in Arlington. There are many apartment complexes; homes come in all styles and price ranges. Arlington has easy access to schools, churches and downtown.
Fort Caroline is located 15 miles east of downtown Jacksonville on the southern shore of the St. Johns River. It's a glimpse of old Florida with breathtaking views of the river, rolling terrain and stately oaks. Families that live in Fort Caroline take advantage of the natural surroundings by hiking, kayaking and fishing.
Northside of Jacksonville runs roughly from 20th Street north to the county border and from Interstate 295 on the west almost to the Atlantic Ocean. This is a vast area with waterways, new housing developments, and attractions, including the Anheuser Busch Brewery, the expanding Jacksonville Zoological Gardens, Huguenot Memorial Park and Little Talbot Island Park. Growth is due in part to the opening of the Dames Point Bridge in 1989, the expansion of the airport, and business activity in Imeson Industrial Park and the International Tradeport. North Jacksonville has convenient shopping, restaurants, medical facilities, schools, churches, and residential communities, and is only minutes from Downtown.
There is a renewed interest in living in the historic district of Springfield. Established in 1869, it is the city's first and, therefore, oldest subdivision. The neighborhood grew into one of the wealthiest after the Great Fire of 1901 forced many of Jacksonville's prominent citizens to relocate there. This building surge produced a variety of architectural styles that fill the area from Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and the Stick style to Prairie School, Bungalow and Mediterranean. In fact, the city's most influential architect in the first portion of the 20th century, John Klutho, resided there. Today, Springfield is experiencing a new resurgence as historic structures are adapted for modern lifestyles and new residents are embracing the concept of a real neighborhood. Many are drawn to the charm of homes that feature wrap-around porches, grand staircases and warm fireplaces. These homes are being bought and restored to their original glory. The city has begun a $25 million renovation project completely revitalizing Eighth Street and Main Street with new roadways, sidewalks, traffic lights, utilities and foliage. Parks and recreational facilities comprise almost 5 percent of Springfield's total land area.
The Westside is a large community starting just north of I-10 to Clay County, bordered on the east by I-295 and stretching west to Baker County and east to Riverside. Four small incorporated towns make up the Westside: Baldwin, Marietta, Maxville and Whitehouse. Other neighborhoods on this side of Jacksonville are Argyle, Riverside, Avondale, Ortega, Ortega Forest, Ortega Hills, Lakeshore, Venetia, Cedar Hills, Hyde Grove, Murray Hill and Normandy. Much of the area is wooded, offering hunting and outdoor activities. Both NAS Jacksonville and NAS Cecil Field are located here, as well as Herlong Airport, a small, general aviation fixed base operation. Homes and apartments are available in all sizes and price ranges. Many homes have been in families for generations. The area is close to downtown and has easy access to interstates, the airport and Beaches.
Argyle is a relatively new neighbood on the westside that saw rapid growth in the mid-1980s. Originally ranch land, Argyle has become a popular and affordable choice for middle class families settling in Jacksonville.
Bordered to the west by Highway 17 and the river to the east, between Interstate 10 to the north and the Ortega River to the south, these are well-established, historic neighborhoods on the west bank of the St. Johns River. In the early 1900s, Riverside Avenue had earned a reputation for being one of the most beautiful streets in America. Much of that distinctive architecture remains today. Riverside has become an attractive spot for young professionals who want a short commute to work. Homes include modest duplexes to elegantly restored historic residences and waterfront estates. Riverside is also a medical hub with the St. Vincent's Medical Complex and private medical offices scattered along the river. Avondale is a historic neighborhood with small boutique-type shopping, quaint streets and small-town charm. Known for the quiet, tree-lined streets, Avondale is home to hundreds of quaint bungalows and large gracious homes that retain their original gentility of the 1920s. Identifiable building styles include Prairie School, Art Deco, Classical Revival and Craftsman, among others. There are five public schools located within walking distance of both neighborhoods. There are over a dozen parks with tennis courts, softball fields, and paths for jogging, walking or biking. Its close proximity to downtown makes it a great location for short commutes.
A historic settlement just south of Riverside, Ortega is bordered on three sides by water - the St. John's River, the Cedar River and the Ortega River. Bordered on the east by the St. Johns River, to the north and west by the Ortega River and south of Riverside, this community is a peninsula on the river. Here history and nature meet in this neighborhood characterized by rivers, parks, tree-shaded home sites and an eclectic collection of spectacular architectural styles. Many antebellum homes are located right on the river and the area includes hundreds of Southern Style mansions and turn-of-the-century homes. Mediterranean Revival homes sit side-by-side with Colonial or Tudor homes. The area's schools also have a fine reputation. Convenient private schools, area churches, and small parks along the river contribute to Ortega's charm. The Florida Yacht Club and Timuquana Country Club offer private social and recreational opportunities. Worth Magazine ranked Ortega 46th among the nation's top 50 wealthiest neighborhoods. The area offers just about any style of architecture and homes range in size from average sites to stately, sprawling estates. The 1920's Ortega River Bridge is one of the oldest functioning drawbridges.
With an extraordinary natural setting as a backdrop, high-rated schools, copious neighborhood amenities and lucrative job centers, Clay County has fast become one of the area's top destinations for home buyers. Some of the area's established communities include Fleming Island Plantation, Eagle Harbor, OakLeaf Plantation and other neighborhoods across the county's 601 square miles including the municipalities of Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Penney Farms and Keystone Heights. Orange Park is home to St. Johns River Community College, one of the region's major shopping malls, the Orange Park Kennel Club, country clubs, golf courses and medical facilities. Waterways are plentiful and easily accessible for boating, fishing, kayaking or jet skiing.
St. John's County has become one of Florida's major growth areas. St. Johns County Public Schools were recently named by School Match, the country's largest school selection consulting firm as ranking among the top 14% of all of the nations school districts. Moreover, families are moving to St. John's County because of the natural beauty and the accessibility to many businesses and centers of employment. Its close proximity to premier shopping, grocery and specialty stores, beaches, business centers, marinas, schools, airports and family entertainment makes it one of the most sought communities in Jacksonville.
South of Duval County, Switzerland and Fruit Cove are nestled along the east bank of the St. Johns River in St. Johns County. This area is a bedroom community for Jacksonville and St. Augustine. It is a prime location for single-family residences in a variety of subdivisions. The lack of commercial development and the preservation of the scenic Bartram Trail (Highway 13) are appealing to many residents.
Located in the northeast corner of St. Johns County, south of Jacksonville Beach along A1A, the community stretches along five miles of the Atlantic Ocean, aside carefully preserved wetlands. Many new apartment communities have been built in this area in the last few years. St. Johns County is the home of PGA TOUR and the ATP Association of Tennis Professionals headquarters. Annual tournaments attract people from around the world. There are more than 150 holes of golf and 60 tennis courts. Public beach access is limited.
The nation's oldest city, St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish in 1565, some 55 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and 42 years before the English colonized Jamestown. Rich with history, the city has more than 50 attractions, including the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the Spanish Quarter, the Fountain of Youth and Flagler College, and cobblestone streets. Single-family homes, condominiums and apartments are available. Features include fine dining, cafe-style eating, shopping and touring. On the outskirts of town are shopping malls and retail centers.
Just north of Jacksonville on I-95 is Nassau County, where Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach are located. This area is known around the globe as a resort destination with exclusive oceanfront properties and intracoastal waterfront property. Year-round residents have a variety of single family homes, apartments and condominiums to choose from at varying prices. Downtown Fernandina is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for late Victorian architecture preservation. The area features bed and breakfast inns, restaurants and recreational activities, historic Centre Street and Fort Clinch State Park. Fernandina is the home of the annual Shrimp Festival. Amelia Island Plantation hosts the annual Bausch & Lomb Championship tennis tournament. Visit the world famous Ritz-Carlton Resort or take a day cruise from downtown Fernandina.
As you can see, there is a place for everyone in the greater Jacksonville area. Jacksonville has a lot to offer and I can assist you on your tour of one of America's fastest growing cities. Our neighborhoods offer a variety of options with opportunities to meet everyone's needs. We have several exclusive neighborhoods highlighting grand estate homes, golf courses, manned gates and more. Lot sizes range from zero lot lines to 5-plus acre parcels if you prefer. Call or e-mail me for more information.
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