1 year ago

Discover Jacksonville 2017


COMMUNITIES deep southern end of Duval County, was founded in the 1800s to serve nearby sawmills and turpentine plants. Named for a member of President Grover Cleveland’s Cabinet, Thomas Francis Bayard, it was a stopping point for wagons, coaches and Florida East Coast railroad trains headed between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. While it still features a popular antique village perfect for shoppers who crave garage sale-type bargains, the area has seen a recent influx in commuters. The I- 295 loop around Jacksonville connects to U.S. 1 by Bayard, and 9B also connects to U.S. 1 just south of Bayard, making it a higher traffic area than before. Also close to the area is Baptist Medical Center South, a high-tech state-of-the-art hospital at the southeast corner of I-95 and St. Augustine Road. The average home price is $328,250. Baymeadows Mixing it up On any given day in Baymeadows, you might find families looking for starter homes, empty-nesters scaling down in house size or growing families moving up. The many apartments mean that Baymeadows is often the choice of singles who have just moved to the city. The landscape is a mix of mature trees and large yards with the conveniences of city living. You don’t have to go far to get to the places you need to go, but still have the feeling that you live among nature. With Southside Boulevard and an easy connection to I-95 from Baymeadows Road, residents can be downtown in 20-25 minutes — if traffic isn’t heavy (popularity of the area has brought increasing traffic tie-ups). Nearby are The Avenues mall, Deerwood Village Mall and St. Johns Town Center, an openair shopping area with restaurants and many high-end stores. The area has a range of home types and prices, including patio homes, condominiums, townhouses and singlefamily homes. A condo home or small single-family detached can be purchased for less than $100,000, and the average home listing price is $123,720. Many neighborhoods include amenities such as tennis courts, playground equipment, pools, security gates, soccer fields and parks. A sign spinner stationed outside The Brooklyn Riverside apartments grabs the attention of passing motorists. (Bob Self/Florida Times-Union) 34 | 2017 DISCOVER JACKSONVILLE Beauclerc A tree-lined spot Straddling the eastern bank of the St. Johns River at one of its widest points, and nestled between Mandarin, San Jose and Baymeadows lies Beauclerc, an idyllic, tree-lined neighborhood conveniently located with easy access to greater Jacksonville. Sections of the neighborhood have developed an overhanging canopy, with the branches of trees on opposite sides of the roadway interlocking high above and providing a shaded pathway for residents and cars. Beauclerc homes have proven to be good investments, with the median sales price of $312,500. The area’s larger lots translate into homes with more floor space and bigger yards, some encompassing more than half an acre. Though many homes date from the 1970s, most homeowners have steadily updated interiors, giving most properties a modern touch with few renovations needed. Home styles range from traditional to contemporary to colonial, the variety of architecture stemming from the many different builders who constructed homes over the years. Many houses feature brick construction.

COMMUNITIES Beauclerc is centrally located to shopping areas; proximity to I-295 allows residents access to many other parts of the city. The St. Johns River marks the neighborhood’s border, so boating is a popular recreational outlet. A number of marinas dot the area, including the Epping Forest Yacht Club, a half-mile north of the Epping Forest neighborhood. The club’s centerpiece is a beautiful Spanish Renaissance-style mansion, originally built by a duPont family heir in 1927. Brentwood Reclaiming a neighborhood Old photos of Brentwood reveal its past as a former military base with barrack-style housing. Crime was rampant in an area of racial disharmony; in 1975, the privately run golf course closed. Part of the property was sold to the Duval County School Board for the construction of the A. Philip Randolph Academies of Technology. The remaining property reopened in 2000 as a nine-hole course with driving range under the direction of the First Tee of Jacksonville, an organization focused on impacting the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. In 2013, Brentwood Golf Course earned the PGA Excellence Award for its outstanding performance in growing the game of golf. The most significant and galvanizing change in Brentwood is $34 million in new public housing. The Jacksonville Housing Authority complex is a mixed-income, 32-acre area with 328 public housing and subsidized units. An adjacent 18 acres holds 94 HabiJax, the local arm of Habitat for Humanity, single-family homes. Seniors can choose to live in a separate section of apartments, and families can transition more smoothly into owning a home. Residents continue to work hard to reclaim their neighborhood from crime. Older developments, such as 589-unit Brentwood Park, have reported fewer crimes after massive rehabilitations. Repairs occur more quickly, federal laws help evict criminals faster and more police patrol the area. Brentwood home prices average $60,266. Brooklyn A quickly emerging community The historically residential Brooklyn area, between Riverside Avenue and Park Street, has seen its share of progress. In October 2004, Jacksonville approved the Brooklyn Neighborhood Strategy Plan, which called for the creation of mixed-income residential, parking and commercial development for south Brooklyn, to the tune of $290 million in projects for up to 1,050 residences, 167,000 square feet of retail space, 250,000 square feet of office space and a central park. 220 Riverside and The Brooklyn Riverside added nearly 1,000 residential units. The Brooklyn Riverside development, in addition to apartments, features a Fresh Market, restaurants, boutiques, hair and nail salons, and specialty shops. Unity Plaza, an urban park associated with 220 Riverside, was designed to be a public gathering spot, with scheduled activities such as concerts and art shows, festivals and free yoga, and meditation sessions. The developers of 220 Riverside and Unity Plaza will begin construction on a hotel and on more apartments, tentatively called 200 Riverside, which should take about two years to complete. Across Riverside Avenue the Winston Family YMCA has undergone its own renaissance. In August 2016, the new 72,000-square-foot branch, which overlooks the St. Johns River, opened. The $22-million facility containing wellness spaces, group exercise spaces, an indoor track, locker and shower facilities, healthy living spaces, an aquatics center, meeting spaces, a café, outdoor café seating, outdoor lawn areas, and a future splash park is expected to be completed early 2017. Officials say its proximity to I-95 and downtown make Brooklyn a marketable area, with home prices expected to be an average of $205,699. Cedar Hills/Confederate Point/Jacksonville Heights Westside resurgence The close-knit neighborhoods of Cedar Hills, Confederate Point and Jacksonville Heights received renewed interest as residential communities as well as retail and commercial areas several years ago. These long-standing communities on the Westside lie east and west of I-295 along 103rd Street experienced resurgence in the construction of new subdivisions, the remodeling of existing homes and opening of new stores and shopping centers. Major thoroughfares that connect these communities to Jacksonville include Old Middleburg Road, Blanding Boulevard and Lane Avenue. One of the last vestiges of a simpler, country Jacksonville lifestyle, developments took place in the area in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, resulting in homes built in a variety of styles. An extensive housing price range is one of the area’s biggest assets, with the average price being $175,571. Property values are increasing, but not skyrocketing. Residents are a short drive from the Cecil Field Commerce Center, an area of growing industry and several recreational facilities. Dames Point Diamond in the rough This area in Jacksonville offers an abundance of waterfront property and pristine views of the St. Johns, Trout and Broward rivers, and Dunn Creek. It is an area where industry and nature coexist. Jacksonville’s Northside is a diamond in the rough, offering an expanse of land to those desiring a quieter lifestyle. 2017 DISCOVER JACKSONVILLE | 35