Monthly Archives: August 2015
Murray Hill is one Jacksonville’s fastest growing neighborhoods, filled with trendy shops, restaurants and bars, and benefiting from the popularity of surrounding submarkets, Riverside and Avondale. Median home prices are up 16.4% year over year, and the previous quarter saw a 5.5% increase over last quarter (data provided by Zillow Real Estate Research). The Murray Hill area benefits from being close to downtown, Brooklyn area, 5 Points and King Street.
St. Augustine City Commissioners granted preliminary approval on a very controversial PUD in a 4-1 vote, which will allow for the conversion/renovation a historic property into a upscale boutique hotel (30 rooms), guest parking (26 spots) and a small bar/tavern (limited to 20 seats) on the site of the former Dow Museum of Historic Houses, located in the historic district of the nations oldest city (Cordova and Bridge Streets). The meeting was so divided, that it ran until 1:00 AM on Tuesday morning.
Locals remain torn on the topic. One side hates to see big-spending developers take on historic projects, fearing that they place a higher regard on ROI than preservation. Residents are so passionate about the issue, that lawyers have been hired to fight the issue on their behalf. Additional concerns relate to increased traffic and parking, as the site is in a residential neighborhood. Residents and locals have 31 days to appeal the decision, which is likely to occur, with this being a very high profile debate that has been going on for over a year. The developer, David Corneal, cites that in order to preserve the buildings, which date back centuries, the project must make sense financially, or nobody will take it on.
Renderings of the proposed “Healthy Town” mixed use development located on Jacksonville’s Southbank were recently made public. The renderings show multiple buildings on the site, which will include a mix of residential, retail/office/restaurant, hospitality and a marina, in addition to riverfront walking and bike paths. The key concept behind the development is that a community should promote the optimal health of the residents that live there.
A slideshow of the renderings can be viewed HERE
Calavo, a company who processes avocados, has just announced plans to open a processing plan in Green Cove Springs. The company will be leasing a 208K SF distribution center, which was most recently used by Food Lion, prior to them exiting the marketplace. This is great news for Green Cove and Clay County, as the firm plans on providing 262 jobs locally. Because of the jobs being created, the company qualified for local incentive packages. The company is based in Santa Paula, CA and had over $782M in revenue in 2014.
84 Lumber Company, who has been absent from the Northeast Florida market for 4 years, is now re-opening its doors in St. Augustine. In a recent news release, the president of the company gave the following explanation: “With a continuing upward trend in housing starts in the market we found it to be the right time to return.”
Florida broke a new state record, with over 54.1 million visitors to the state in the first half of 2015. It should come as no surprise that the number of Floridians employed in the tourism business is also at an all time high, with roughly 1,213,500 people in the business. The data was compiled by Visit Florida.
Great Harvest Bread Co., who already has a location in Fernandina Beach, is planning to open its second location in the state of Florida in Jacksonville. The new location will be near Gate and Baymeadows. The company is based in Montana and has 192 existing locations throughout the country.
Burrito Gallery, a locally owned restaurant which opened its downtown location 10 years ago, just received $10,000 in funding from the DIA (Downtown Investment Authority) to help with a major expansion project. The project will include expansion of the kitchen and dining areas. The goal of the DIA is to encourage downtown development, and Burrito Gallery has been a positive success story that could help encourage additional development and retail expansion into the core. The restaurant is in the process of opening another location nearby, at Brooklyn Station in Riverside, only a few miles away. The owners of Burrito Gallery have been long time advocates for downtown Jacksonville.
Mirroring the trend we outlined in the NEFLA 2015 Mid-Year Investment Report (Linked Here), foreign investment in the US is now at an all time high. CoStar estimates that foreign investment in the US over the first half of 2015 totaled $39B, and RCA shows over $71.5B of foreign investment activity in the last 12 months. The reason why foreign investors are drawn to the US can be traced to many factors, including economic strength, high yields, low interest rates and the “safety” provided by the US government. To read more on this topic, you can read Beth Mattson-Teig’s article titled “Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate Assets to Hit Record High”, which was published today in The National Real Estate Investor.
The top 20 retailers in the U.S. in terms of gross sales are, according to a list from BisNow.com – and two weren’t even really around 15 years ago (Amazon and Apple).
- Wal-Mart ($343B and 5,109 stores)
- Kroger Co ($103B and 3730 stores)
- Costco ($78B and 464 stores)
- Home Depot ($74B and 1,965 stores)
- Walgreens ($72B and 8,157 stores)
- Target ($72B and 1,790 stores)
- CVS/CareMark ($67B and 7,808 stores)
- Lowe’s ($54B)
- Amazon ($49N – NO STORES!)
- Safeway ($36B and 1,326 stores)
- Best Buy ($35B and 1,445 stores)
- McDonald’s ($35B and 14,350 stores)
- Publix ($30B and 1,296 stores)
- Apple ($28B and 259 stores)
- Macy’s ($28B and 821 stores)
- RiteAid ($26B and 4,570 stores)
- Ahold ($25B and 768 stores)
- Sears Holding ($25B and 1,659 stores)
- TJX Cos. ($22B and 2,569 stores)
- HEB Grocery ($19B and 317 stores)