Growing St. Johns County population draws more developments

Shearwater community using amenities to attract families

By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - The population in St. Johns County is booming, and so is the demand for residential developments.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has seen over 20 percent growth since 2010. That number has dozens of developers clearing up space for more housing communities. Driving around St. Johns County, you can see that there are houses popping up everywhere.

"Schools are a big part of that, employment centers are continuing to move into St. Johns County, and the demand for residential developments are coming back,” said Mike McCollum, project manager with Freehold Communities.

Northern St. Johns County has seen a more than 400 percent population growth in the last five years. Shearwater is one of its newer developments off County Road 210.

Developers say it's a prime location with easy access to the St. Johns Town Center and beaches with the completion of State Road 9B.

“Great location in northern St. Johns County, right in the middle of everything going on: awesome golf courses, awesome schools, lots of activity in our area,” McCollum said.

That can mean a lot of competition when it comes to housing developers.

Shearwater is just one of dozens of communities building or planning to build, like Durbin Park. So community developers are stepping it up when it comes to what they offer families -- outside of location – including opening up amenities like a fitness lodge, kayak club and pool with just a few dozen families living there.

They said it's all in an effort to attract more families to the area.

Last weekend, Shearwater opened its water park to the public and attracted more than 2,000 people, including families interested in properties.

Right now, about 500 lots have been sold, but there's room for future developments.

"We have space for 2,600 homes at Shearwater, so we will be expanding,” community director Jill Flores said.

Developers said they don't expect population growth in St. Johns County to slow down anytime soon.

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