With music, refreshments and fanfare, Watson Realty Corp. held the grand opening of its new Nocatee office last week, marking the latest business to establish a presence in the booming master-planned community.
Local Realtors and members of the business community attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Watson-built building on Marketside Ave. in Nocatee Town Center. In his welcoming remarks, Watson Founder and Chairman William A. “Bill” Watson, Jr. made it clear that the company’s decision to open an office in Nocatee came down to the three most important aspects of real estate: location, location, location.
“If you’ll look down the street you’ll see Publix – that is the largest Publix grocery store in Northeast Florida,” Watson said. “I would assume they did some research and they wouldn’t have put their biggest store here if they didn’t figure they were going to need it. So we took that as a good omen.”
As of March 21, Watson noted, the company had invested more than $1.7 million to build the 5,995 square-foot Nocatee building, 1,800 square feet of which is leased to the newly opened Ponte Vedra Wellness Center.
“The message in that is that we are committed to this area,” he said. “We want to be an active participant and help the Nocatee community prosper and grow.”
Designed for the community
To that end, Watson said the company designed the new offices to fit into the Nocatee community. On a tour of the facility with The Recorder, Watson highlighted its “café” – an open, collaborative workspace featuring a kitchen and numerous computer workstations where Realtors can connect with clients and colleagues and take advantage of the latest technologies.
“We’ve found this configuration encourages communication among Realtors,” Watson said. “One agent may be working with a client looking for a certain type of home and another Realtor will say, ‘I just listed a home like that.’”
The café also features adjacent rooms where clients can make private phone calls; across the hall, meanwhile, is a large classroom space where Watson staff can conduct meetings and training seminars for up to 25 people.
The offices also feature a conference room where Watson clients will be able to conduct closings.
“Client have already been to our offices, so it’s more convenient for them to come here for the closing than to have to travel to another location,” Watson said. “That’s a tremendous advantage and provides better service to our customers.”
To capitalize on the significant amount of foot traffic the office has already seen, Watson President Ed Forman said the Nocatee office will soon install an interactive storefront.
“We have a great opportunity here to be visible to all of Nocatee, and as the weather gets warmer, we’re going to be seeing lots of people out walking, riding bicycles, pushing strollers…” Forman said. “Through the interactive storefront, passersby will be able to stop and search every listing on the market.”
Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, the Nocatee office is currently staffed by a team of 11 agents, some of whom live in the Nocatee community. That local connection is important to the company, said Mark Rosener, managing broker for the Nocatee office.
“Mr. Watson has a long history of being an active part of the local community,” he said. “It’s a real honor for us to be here to serve the real estate needs of Nocatee.”
Those needs are as diverse as the community’s residents, Watson Realtors said.
“There’s a real demand right now among empty nesters,” said Paul McLester, a Realtor at Watson’s new Nocatee office. “People are moving here from up north and they’re drawn by the active lifestyle and a desire to downsize.”
Also popular, Realtor and Nocatee resident Melissa Naldzin added: homes for growing families.
“They’re drawn here by St. Johns County’s A-rated schools,” she said.
Noting that Nocatee was built on the site of the Davis Family’s former D Dot Ranch, Watson marveled at the community that has developed there in the past few years.
“It’s fun to look at a place and say, ‘I wonder what this place will be like in 10 years, or 20 years or even 50 years,” Watson said. “I see just a fabulous lifestyle here in Nocatee for the next 50, 60 or 100 years.”