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Discover Jacksonville 2017


COMMUNITIES to small (studio to two bedrooms) singlefamily homes and small apartment buildings. Most of the residential real estate is owner occupied. Many of the residences in the Lake Shore neighborhood are older, well-established and built between 1940 and 1969. A number of residences were built before 1940, but it was primarily developed after the Jacksonville Naval Air Station boom in the 1940s. The average home price is $77,950. Because of its major road access — Blanding Boulevard, Cassat Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard cross the area, Lake Shore residents are a quick drive away from shopping at Roosevelt Square, restaurants, the river and downtown. LaVilla Bringing back vitality From its years as a bustling transportation center in the late 1800s to the time when it swung to the beat of Ray Charles, Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughan, LaVilla has had a colorful past. Its busy railway depot attracted thousands of travelers along Lee and Bay streets. In the early 1900s, its African- American community of houses and entertainment venues flourished. Today, after decades of urban decay and a controversial revitalization plan in the 1990s that left vacant lots where several longtime structures existed, LaVilla has been revitalized. The Ritz Theater has been restored to its former glory. The LaVilla School of the Arts attracts talented students from across the county. An increasing number of businesses are expanding or developing offices. While development in LaVilla — 770 acres north and west of the central downtown business district — has been commercial so far, in 2016 Jacksonvillebased Vestcor Companies proposed to build a $22 million, 120-unit affordable housing development at Bay and Lee Streets. Called Lofts at LaVilla, conceptual plans illustrate the project consisting of five stories with four residential floors above a floor of parking and amenities. Before this project can become a reality, it will need to receive federal funds through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation's Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program. One of the many perks of living in Mandarin is enjoying a beautiful sunset on the St. Johns River. (Bruce Lipsky/Florida Times-Union) 40 | 2017 DISCOVER JACKSONVILLE Loretto A bit of middle America A distinct part of the greater Mandarin area, Loretto sits between San Jose Boulevard to the west and Philips Highway to the east. It is bordered to the north by Interstate 295 and to the south by the county line. Loretto was formed by the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine. In the days of Reconstruction, Loretto sprouted up next to the nuns’ convent, dormitory and school. It is on what became Old St. Augustine Road, the highway between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. According to Wayne Wood’s Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage, the nuns were sent there to educate both the residents and newly freed slaves. As more and more new Northeast Florida residents found the area’s ancient tree cover, access to the river and convenient location appealing, Loretto and Mandarin started to grow. The average price for homes is $179,283. Many homes are built on some of the largest new construction lots in the area. Loretto is popular, too, because of all its nearby amenities. Just about every merchant, service or restaurant imaginable is on San Jose Boulevard.

COMMUNITIES Mandarin Popular, family-oriented community Bordered by the Beauclerc area to the north, Julington Creek to the south and the St. Johns River to the west, Mandarin offers residents a suburban, familyfocused lifestyle in an area that is quaint, charming and filled with history. Named for the Mandarin orange in 1830, this neighborhood on the St. Johns River was once described as “a tropical paradise” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Both Harriet Beecher Stowe, and painter Lee Adams once lived here. Mandarin is characterized by its magnificent oak trees hung with dramatic Spanish moss and boasts some of the best views of the St. Johns River in greater Jacksonville. Once an important river port for shipping oranges and other citrus fruit northward, today Mandarin is known as a family-friendly area with a blend of residential areas and shopping centers. There are plenty of choices for home buyers with prices ranging from $140,000 to more than $3 million for a riverfront home. The median real estate value is $284,900. Marietta and Whitehouse Country atmosphere Few places around Jacksonville still can claim a country atmosphere with room to move. Marietta offers unusually large lots with an average of a half-acre and an average home value of $112,500. New development, too, satisfies those looking for a good combination of rural community and modern homes. Many move to Marietta because they have animals. It’s not uncommon to see cows, horses or other farm animals. The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail also winds through Marietta. The trail, converted from the roadbeds of abandoned railroad lines to paved or graveled restricted thoroughfares, Rails to Trails, offers a pathway for bicyclists, skaters and walkers/hikers as well as horseback riders. The 14.5-mile trail runs through an area of industrial developments, farms with grazing cows, and horses that come right up to the grassy shoulders. Marietta is home not only to people looking for space, it is also home to many businesses looking for space. The Publix Super Market Division Office and Michaels Distribution Center are off Beaver Street; the Westside Industrial Park is just north of Marietta; and the Cecil Commerce Center also is convenient. Mayport Simply shipshape Mayport, the nation’s oldest fishing village, is an eclectic mix of a beach community and quaint town with a strong military presence. It is the site of Naval Station Mayport, which is one of three major Navy installations in the Jacksonville area. Mayport is the most northern of the Jacksonville beaches, and home to delicious seafood restaurants, offering their freshest catch. Residents and visitors can dine on freshly caught seafood, including the local specialty, Mayport shrimp, and enjoy nature at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, the northernmost beach on the south side of the St. Johns River. The average home price in Mayport is $89,900. Maxville A little corner of the world Maxville, a community at the intersection of U.S. Highway 301 and Normandy Boulevard in the southwest corner of Duval County to the Clay County line, is home to about 6,000 people who like to get away from it all. The first things you notice about Maxville is that homes have lots of land and that their park has softball fields that are almost always full. New residential development is anticipated due to Maxville’s proximity to the Cecil Commerce Center, an indicator that more businesses and people are probably on their way. Of existing homes, the average price is $77,900. Moncrief Pride on the Northside Pride is a word that comes up when talking about the Moncrief area, bordered by Moncrief Road and 44th Street on the south, Sibbald Road on the west and the Trout and St. Johns rivers on the north and east. The Moncrief Improvement Association has made great strides and it, along with the community’s City Council representatives, church-funded charities and other groups are continually working to beautify the area. Moncrief residents enjoy quick access to the downtown area, the airport, retail shopping centers and the core of the city. The addition of some major retailers, as well as small businesses, offer practically all of the same services and goods other Jacksonville communities enjoy. New residential construction is coming to Moncrief and the surrounding areas. The average home price is $76,000. Murray Hill Blast from the past Murray Hill was first platted in 1906, became a city in 1916 and was voted to become a part of the city of Jacksonville in 1925. Its beginnings are linked to the railroads — families settled in the area because of its close proximity to the rail yards. With a history dating back to the turn of the century, Murray Hill has landmarks that add to its uniqueness. The neighborhood boasts one of Jacksonville’s only two 1918 Sears, Roebuck and Co. kit homes. And, the original Dreamette, a Jacksonville institution, still offers soft-serve ice cream at Edgewood and Post. The borders of Murray Hill run roughly from I-10 down Cassat Avenue to Park Street, Roosevelt Boulevard, and back up to I-10. Now boasting more than 5,000 homes, ranging from small bungalows and brownstones to larger two-story homes, residents of Murray Hill are moving in or staying in the small community because of its family-oriented appeal, its location close to major arteries and downtown, its parks, and its pedestrian-friendly business district. The Murray Hill Preservation Association, which has operated under different names since 1932, can take much of the credit for making Murray Hill what it is today. MHPA, organized to preserve the neighborhood, is a key component to planning, representing and preserving Murray Hill’s unique character. 2017 DISCOVER JACKSONVILLE | 41