Northern St Johns County Welcomes Beachwalk
A new community in Northern St. Johns County called Beachwalk will have residents living there before the year ends. Beachwalk is planned to be an upscale neighborhood anchored by what is essentially a 14-acre swimming pool. Plenty of work has already been done, and developer John Kinsey and others associated with the development were in town Thursday for the official groundbreaking ceremony. The enormous Crystal Lagoon has been dug out and is taking shape. Water should fill the Lagoon as soon as July of this year with residents living around it by fall.
The project being done by Art Falcone’s Encore Capital Management and Kinsey’s Twin Creeks Development, brings a man made lagoon into the project and makes it part of the unique character of the community. The architecture, landscaping and amenities will be different from any other community in the area. It will offer a beach vibe with palm trees rather than live oaks and sandy beaches around the lagoon.
Kinsey stated that it is a departure from what you see everywhere you go. Working on the whole idea of Beachwalk two years ago, Art and Kinsey came to the conclusion pretty quickly that this area didn’t need more of what was being built and sold in every other community. There is certainly a huge amount of building activity in the area with no signs of that letting up. Beachwalk is off County Road 210 between Interstate 95 and U.S.1.
It’s close to many new neighborhoods and other established ones that are still growing, including the largest ongoing development, Nocatee. At more than 1,000 acres, Beachwalk will contain about 900 homes and a 175,000-square-foot retail village that will provide waterfront dining and shopping.
Houses will start in the$300,000s and go up from there with several options. That’s typical of what’s in the area now. But while most communities have some kind of amenities center, nobody has anything like the lagoon. “There’s only so many different ways you can sell the same style of house, the same lifestyle, the same landscaping. You look the same as everybody else,” Kinsey said.
Uri Man, CEO of Crystal Lagoons U.S. Corp., said the lagoon in Beachwalk is the 15th contracted project his company has in the United States.
Kinsey said the lagoons are growing in popularity for exactly the reason Kinsey wanted one here: They set communities apart from the competition. “The big benefit for the real estate community is, in addition to being environmentally sustainable, in addition to the fact that it creates this dramatic lifestyle, is the translation into economics,” Man said. “Which is much stronger sales pricing, much stronger sales velocity.” Man pointed to the community of Epperson, north of Tampa, which is a Crystal Lagoon community. He said builder DR Horton has seen a huge boost in pricing due to demand for homes near the lagoon, which at 7.5 acres is much smaller than the one here.
“The Crystal Lagoon is so dramatic and so different,” he said. “Here, you can see this project will become the No. 1 community certainly in St. Johns County.”
Neil Eisner of Americrest Luxury Homes said he decided to become a partner in the development because of the Crystal Lagoon and because he thinks Beachwalk is in the perfect location. He also said it’s a good compliment to the other parts of what was first approved as the Twin Creeks Development of Regional Impact on the south side of C.R. 210: Creekside at Twin Creeks (591 homesites) and BeaconLake (almost 1,500 homes).
Americrest, with headquarters in Boca Raton, will build about 500 homes in Beachwalk. “In our circle, St. Johns County is probably the new jewel that’s ready to just now literally take off,” Eisner said. “This area will become a centralized destination. With what we’re proposing to do with the villages, with the entertainment district, with stores, this will become a complete destination. “That’s one of the reasons why it appeals from a home-building point of view, why I would want to participate here.”
Lennar is also building in Beachwalk as well as in Creekside, which is already selling homes. Matt Figlesthaler, director of sales and marketing for Lennar’s Jacksonville division, said his company is offering exclusive products to Beachwalk buyers with homes ranging from 2,000 square feet to more than 4,000 square feet.
“We expect the lagoon and amenities associated with Beachwalk to be something no community in the area can offer or compare to,” Figlesthaler said in an email to The Record. “I hear almost every day from someone new the excitement out there for this community and people wanting more information from us as they await our brand new product release.”