Healthy living will be the focus of a new 30-acred mixed-use development scheduled to break ground this spring in downtown Jacksonville on the south bank of the St. Johns River.
To be known as “The District Jacksonville,” the new community will feature 1,200 residential units alongside 165,000 square feet of retail space and 200,000 square feet of office space. In addition, the community will feature a hotel, a waterfront park and a 125-slip marina.Above all, developer Peter Rummell said, healthy living will be the focus of The District.
“Healthy living is the new golf course,” Rummell said in a Feb. 23 presentation to the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach. “It’s the amenity people are looking for.”
Noting that the Urban Land Institute has long advocated for community development projects that emphasize healthy living, Rummell acknowledged the term may mean different things to different people.
“Everybody’s talking about healthy living, but they’re planting tomatoes instead of azaleas,” Rummell said. “No one has really attacked it from a lifestyle sense.”
The District, he said, will focus on cultivating a healthy lifestyle through what he termed “unintentional exercise,” encouraged by building a walkable community where elevators are the exception and stairs are the norm. Beyond that, he said, The District will reflect a broader, more personalized definition of healthy living tailored to each individual.
“It’s not required that you do yoga at 7:30 and never eat red meat unless that’s what you want,” he said. “It’s your definition of healthy living.”
The second defining characteristic of The District will be a multigenerational community the developer hopes to encourage by offering units in a variety of sizes and price points for both rent and sales.
“Part of my definition of healthy living is to be involved with younger people,” Rummell said. “They are different – in a good way.”
Active in real estate for more than four decades, Rummell has overseen multiple projects that have gone on to win national recognition, such as Hilton Head, South Carolina and numerous projects for The Walt Disney Company. The former general manager of the Sawgrass Country Club hopes The District will win the same sort of national attention from developers seeking to replicate the healthy living concept.
“It’s an idea that I hope will start in Jacksonville,” he said, “and God willing will go on to other places.”