Standing as the most populous city in all of the American Southeast (not just Florida), Jacksonville offers the rich cultural heritage of a true American city blended with the laid-back, distinctly Floridian appeal of living so close to the tropics.
And it’s not just the people either—Jacksonville is also the single largest continuous city in terms of landmass … sprawling out over the lion’s share of its home Duval County. Even then, downtown Jacksonville’s massive bridges and distinctive skyline can easily be spotted from afar.
With so much room to roam and weather that’s far mellower than South Florida—with cool Winters and warm, brisk Summers as the City’s commonplace—Jacksonville is the perfect stage where local culture and economy can grow and thrive together.
From Jacksonville’s one-of-a-kind local history to its thriving business scene, healthy tourism and impressive golf courses, there’s plenty here for everyone to enjoy; and often at a bargain price.
Watch the local Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL Football game, or check out the Jacksonville Jazz Festival—America’s second-largest—the choice is yours in the “Bold New City of the South” …
A Bold New City with so much History
People have been calling the Jacksonville area home for thousands of years—with some of America’s oldest pottery having been discovered in the area, and dating all the way back to 2500 BC.
Throughout the process of European colonization and the American History that followed, Jacksonville played a continuously prominent role—as a powerful population center, a key port for supplies and transit, even home to defensive fortifications and more.
For a time in the early 20th Century, Jacksonville was even considered the “Winter Film Capital of the World,” a surprising precursor to Hollywood’s rise in the movie business.
While the city continued making history and developing new landmarks, it was also steadily becoming a critical banking and insurance hub for the Southeastern United States. A number of major financial organizations—from Florida National Bank to Prudential—began setting up shop in the picturesque North Florida city.
While the city has wrestled with urban sprawl in the past, it’s currently in the process of consolidation, with a more empowered local government providing better and better services with each passing year. The “Better Jacksonville Program” was approved by voters in 2000, adding a half-penny sales tax to cover some $2.25 B in important public spending, and the program has been a tremendous success …
A Booming Condo Market
The idea of having a condo market at all—let alone a booming new market—is a bit foreign for most Jacksonville natives (“Jaxons”). Locals approach the idea with a healthy dose of skepticism, but at the same time, the numbers can’t really lie …
At present, pending condo and townhome sales in the area have risen an impressive 22% year-over-year, with sales pending on dozens of units in the $500,000 to $1 Million range at any one time, and over a dozen million-dollar sales pending.
In January of 2015, a single apartment building sold for $56.6 million … one-and-a-half times as much as the previous owner had paid just over a year before. And in June 2014, a single highly sought-after Jacksonville residence sold for over $500 per square foot.
“The condo market is just through the roof,” explained the agent who completed the sale, “Everything is going up.” She even added that she’s seeing more and more competition for these properties as the months press on.
New construction is also underway, with developers taking special care to ensure that their projects fit with the city’s existing culture and aren’t seen as being ‘out of place.’ But even as developers catch on to surging demand, they’re still behind the curve.
“There’s no inventory—we have nothing,” explains a local Home Sales VP, “…everybody is looking for large square footage and there’s nothing available.”
Plenty of Impressive Sights to See
While Jacksonville definitely works hard—as evidenced by its thriving business sector—it’s important to remember that the city knows how to play hard too …
And it’s not just about the Jazz and the football either (though Jacksonville has an extremely rich history in both departments). There’s also the Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament … the Gate River Run … and a whole host of world-class museums, zoos and restaurants that will take you years to work your way through.
You can take a trip to “Theater Jacksonville,” the oldest continually-running Community theater, or the Amity Turkish Center for a dose of rich foreign culture. You can get in touch with greatness at the historic Ritz Theater, where musical legends like Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles all played at one point or another.
You can get in touch with the hometown of Southern Rock; the city where both the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd both grew up and practiced before hitting the bigtime. It’s all right there at your fingertips in Jacksonville.
It’s important not to forget, however, that Jacksonville is just a few hours from Orlando to the South and Atlanta to the North. So regardless of whether you’re looking to double-down on college sports or get your fill of extra special “Mickey Time,” the choice is yours.
Jacksonville: Florida’s Diamond in the Rough
It’s surprising—when you look at Jacksonville like this—that so many people would overlook a city that has so much history and so much promise … but then, that’s part of Jacksonville’s mystique …
Because despite their accomplishments and their thriving local culture, Jaxons are not the type to brag or intrude on anyone else’s business. They don’t market the city as aggressively to tourists, and they’re rarely if ever seeking attention on a national scale.
We like to think that’s because they’re already too busy … too busy enjoying their city’s wonderful attractions and activities. Too busy enjoying everything that their sprawling metropolis has to offer, and deciding what kind of paradise they want to live in today …