Lake Asbury has a Master Plan to help transform Clay County. If you live in or are familiar, then the many changes ahead are clear to see. Aside from Henley Road now seeing much more traffic as a five-lane road, the new toll road is seeing steady progress which will then connect the entire westside all the way down to St Augustine. In the meantime, while that is in the works, there is new commercial space going up which will welcome medical services, a McDonalds and certainly other businesses.
As all of the new home developments off of Henley Road like Village Park as well as off Sandridge Road like Cross Creek and Granary Park, all of these new homeowners will have a need for new schools, shopping and entertainment. The plans for a more modern downtown Green Cove Springs for shopping and residential homes are already in the works. The area is seeing significant growth with military families, white collar professionals, small business owners and greater diversity. Since the pandemic along with the growth of online companies, businesses like Onassis Krown are able to run fashion brands essentially from home. This will ultimately help to transform how brick and mortar companies do business.
New communities are sprouting west and south of the city. Thousands of homes are planned, as well as the First Coast Expressway and a shopping center that will make the more than 175 stores at St. Johns Town Center seem like a weekend flea market. That means more retail shopping, personal services, clothing stores, restaurants, jobs and, of course, money. It also means a lot more traffic and challenges to an infrastructure that’s already struggling to keep pace.
Developers of the Nocatee and eTown residential and commercial communities in Duval and St. Johns counties have turned to Clay County for a large project. The Davis family and The PARC Group intend to develop more than 3,000 acres in Green Cove Springs west of U.S. 17 and north and south of the First Coast Expressway under construction. They intend to develop a master-planned community with about 4,000 homes and a mix of retail and offices.
A news release posted to The PARC Group’s Facebook page said the timing for development will be tied to completion in Clay County of the First Coast Expressway, so no development is expected for several years. The expressway is a limited-access toll road to link Interstate 10 in Duval County with Interstate 95 in St. Johns County. The last of the three phases, including a new Shands Bridge, is expected to start in 2023.
PARC’s vision for the community will include a focus on lifestyle including recreation, nature trails, and a dedication to preservation and conservation. The property has been known Governors Park, the name of its Development of Regional Impact. A 2019 Governors Park Planned Unit Development document describes it as a mixed-use, master-planned community on 3,112 acres around the future interchange of the First Coast Expressway and the Green Cove Springs Bypass.
The preliminary concept shows four village districts: Town Center; Governors Creek; Oak Ridge; and Springbank. Residential use will account for the largest space, at 1,394 acres; followed by 800 acres for open space; 214 acres for golf course use; and the rest for light industrial; commercial; office; hotel use; and parks. Although the uses can be modified, for now the PUD shows up to 4,000 single-family homes, 2,000 multifamily units, 840,000 square feet of commercial space, 700,000 square feet of office space, 400 hotel rooms and 2 million square feet of industrial space.
The 46-mile First Coast Expressway is expected to cost $1.9 billion and be completed in 2030. In southern Duval County, The PARC Group is developing eTown, a 1,500-acre mixed-use project at Interstate 295 and Florida 9B. In northern St. Johns and southern Duval counties, it is developing the 14,000-acre Nocatee residential, commercial and retail community.
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