We’ve all been watching the building adjacent to the First Baptist Church on 5th Street for years. Deteriorating slowly, the square footage was a challenge to repurpose, but thanks to a little vision, money and a great plan by Silling Architects, the conceptual plan above may become a reality. The Harbor View development on South 2nd Street is another development with rooftop deck or features and great potential views.
As a broker and local, I can see the way Downtown Historic Fernandina is going through a kind of reset of value and expectations. With views like this, a potential improved waterfront and very intelligent changes to C-3 zoning, we’ll see more mixed use in the downtown area and, in my opinion, an extended period of viability to parking as uses create a need at very different times.
Acreage and exceptional views at the end of Glenwood Road is more accessible than you might think. Only minutes away from the 2018 Concours d’Elegance, you can actually buy 22 acres on the water for less than the price of a used car. $2.75 million Make that a really nice used car! Based on a rough approximation, 1800 feet of the property fronts on two named waterways. The cottage for a caretaker is currently occupied and, while modest, might create a tax advantage with existing rental onsite. Last year, according to Bloomberg’s coverage of the event, one car….the “1957 Jaguar XKSS Roadster, is expected to bring $16 million with Gooding & Co.”. www.bloomberg.com 3/7/18. Comparing some of the prices for these, admittedly, exceptional cars, I still love waterfront and, in this case, a very unusual “Glenwood Point”.
Just consider some of the changes to Amelia Island and the vicinity. Frankly, I’m surprised anything like this still exists in so close to downtown Fernandina on Amelia Island. Interested in buying? Give me a call over the weekend and I’ll have a contract ready for you to review by the end of the day. The majority of my contracts are electronic. This particular owner will consider financing with a large deposit, may take a larger condo or ocean-front property as a portion of the price or, I’m always happy to presenting offers or look for creative solutions.
A local favorite event, the greatest part of the show, in my opinion, is the exceptional support for local charities. In looking over the website for this year’s show, it took me a few minutes to locate information on donation to the foundation or a summary of the supported charities.
Please enjoy the show, take home a few memories of the island and consider the underlying accomplishment.
Now in its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March “The Amelia” draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections from around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996 the show’s Foundation has donated over $2.5 million to Community Hospice & Palliative Care and other deserving charities from Florida’s First Coast.
Do you need flood insurance? Worth remembering, we’ve flooded twice in the 1% 100 year flood areas. See below for more information, but think before removing flood insurance from your budget.
According to Nassau County Emergency Management, “Even if you live in an area with only a 1% chance annually of flooding, you should have #NFIP Flood Insurance! In the past 18 months, we’ve seen severe flooding TWICE in those “just 1% chance per year” areas.” https://t.co/8gPCptBeK9
Flood hazard areas identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map are identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). SFHA are defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood. SFHAs are labeled as Zone A, Zone AO, Zone AH, Zones A1-A30, Zone AE, Zone A99, Zone AR, Zone AR/AE, Zone AR/AO, Zone AR/A1-A30, Zone AR/A, Zone V, Zone VE, and Zones V1-V30. Moderate flood hazard areas, labeled Zone B or Zone X (shaded) are also shown on the FIRM, and are the areas between the limits of the base flood and the 0.2-percent-annual-chance (or 500-year) flood. The areas of minimal flood hazard, which are the areas outside the SFHA and higher than the elevation of the 0.2-percent-annual-chance flood, are labeled Zone C or Zone X (unshaded).
Years ago, I hoped to make a small difference on the island, so began to write something a little like this blog. I worried about a local environmental issue and the only way to get anyone to listen appeared to be by publishing information in an online forum. The blog existed quite a while before Facebook (Feb. 2004) and before most of us thought about social media. Back then, social media was pretty primitive or amounted to forums, something I also managed for a while in the late 80’s, with a bulletin board or BBS. My first domain name, www.amelia-island.net, I still have. Don’t laugh, but at the time, almost every variation of Amelia Island was available, including those without the “-“. Years later, I guess it matters less and the traffic is more about content than an actual
domain name. The palm and small island, by the way, was hand drawn one afternoon; eventually resized to be a logo for the original version of Amelia Island Net.
The environmental issue had to do with a reclaiming and disturbing an area with potential for material from an old dump disrupting the environment. Actually, I still disagree with the way it was reclaimed. Sold as a restoration, it actually destroyed quite a bit of land to change an established environment from fresh to saltwater based. The plants and animals living in the area for more than 50 years were displaced, but the actions were portrayed as entirely positive. Land was rezoned to recreational bordering the property and other landowners were told their land should be deeded over to the project. I don’t want to move too far from the subject, but the way the messaging made it to the papers and the way this was “sold”, convinced me to look for ways to produce my version of the world and what I think amounts to the truth. I still see incredibly slanted stories every day and am more convinced than ever. We need to pick the news to consume and make a point of sharing our views. I never want to passively consume questionable facts.
I market myself and real estate for a living. Being able to reach people, without paying a fortune to be given nearly worthless advertising space is part of the reason I write blogs. Over a period of years, my idea of blogging or publishing changed. At one point, I only posted information on the island and thought adding a simple contact point for the commercial side would work. As “Buy Local” and green living became an accepted idea, I started to promote local business and about that time, started an online group to encourage this called “Amelia Island Net”. The group, in a way, led to time in politics, but I’m now on a second and, I think, improved version. This image is one of the original images and you can see my focus was “LOCAL” from the beginning. I also cared about the idea of restoring the US Post Office on Center Street, anticipating an opportunity to acquire the building at a low-cost, possibly move local government to the building and protect a local landmark. I still think some of the same things and recognize the ways an idea can die. It is far easier to kill ideas and take credit for saving us from a manufactured crisis, than it is to follow through with a plan. We’re seeing the same things happen with long-term plans along the water, the marina, the airport and Alachua Street.
The recent changes to the blog are the beginning of another reinvention. I had two blogs, separating everything related to my business or personal life and the general posts related to the island. Blogs don’t see traffic in this way. Few people pick up a single web address to visit daily and thinking this is a mistake. Traffic does flow from social media connection and based on the subject matter in the blog. I could pay for traffic to specific posts or change my approach, consolidating efforts to a single location.
So….you’re seeing a part of an effort to influence, whether I’m hoping for something better here on the island or a property I’m developing or sharing something I love about the island. As one of the vanishing native residents, I enjoy seeing the changes, but also hope the time living here added a little wisdom and something worth sharing.
Cafe Karibo is one of the places I enjoy sharing with clients. With, literally, something for everyone, I can find a healthy choice or one of the best burgers on the island. The back courtyard is also one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen for lunch or a quiet meal. If you’ve ever considered creating an outdoor space, this is one of the best local examples of an outdoor fireplace and dining. Local color like the “Before I Die” board, local seafood and creative daily specials….this place just tops my list of local recommendations.
Today, my wife enjoyed the soup of the day and I ordered a favorite, the veggie wrap and a kombucha tea from their local supply. As usual, I thought to take a picture with only 1/4th left, but you get the idea. Completely full of fresh vegetables and tofu, this is a very healthy choice and more than enough for lunch.
Live oaks on Amelia Island are some of the most resilient local inhabitants. Unlike the water oak, they tend to live longer and weather storms. Considering the age of a tree, I’d like to estimate the age of a tree with a 72” diameter, using the formula below. Typically, the diameter is calculated by measuring the circumference at 4 to 5 feet above the ground and using that number to calculate a diameter.
The first 10 inches in diameter indicate an age of 76 years. Each inch after that adds six-and-a-half years up to age 154. After that, each inch adds six years.
72 Total Inches
First 10 inches – 76 years
Then, the next 12 inches… takes us to 154 years. After that…I’m guessing 22 inches in diameter, we still need to account for the last 50 inches at 6 years per inch. (50×6)+154= 454 years. That can’t be right! Let’s compare the “Treaty Oak” age estimate in Jacksonville. Apparently, the Treaty Oak’s estimated age is 250 years, with around 95 inches in diameter and a 25’ circumference. If I use this number, a 72 inch oak in Fernandina might be closer to 190 years in age. There is variation in growth rate, depending on location, water, surrounding vegetation, but seeing a tree like this as 150 to 200 years in age is reasonable. These trees could have been saplings when Louis-Michel Aury was on the island in 1817.
Regardless, big oaks are old and should be protected. I’d love to think the big oaks I grew up with might be around for another 200 years, but the island is changing. Looking for creative ways to develop property can preserve trees and homeowners are beginning to see the value of this preservation. Depending on the configuration of a site, sometimes losing lots can be offset by the premium for larger lots and reduced cost for infrastructure.
Driving to the office earlier, I took the shortcut, passing Rayonier’s plant on the way. The operation is almost invisible on the main roadways, other than the visible logging trucks turning down Gum Street, but this place is always on my mind. In 1939, Ed Boner, Sr., came to Fernandina from the Grays Harbor location. I grew up hearing stories about lines for jobs and chlorine leaks. Mom would take me to drop off meals a the guard house, when Dad left his lunch on the counter. All the diversity we have on the island and stability, in my opinion, are possible because the local mills provided jobs, when there were few jobs. Shrimping, once a significant part of the local economy, is still important, but now more a part of the local history, not a major economic driver.
Rayonier has been the biggest influence on Fernandina and on our county for decades. In many ways, we are taking a last bite of development and seeing a best possible plan, because Rayonier owned the majority of land in Nassau County. The luxury of being last and luxury of planned development will benefit Nassau County far more than most realize.
I grew up on the island and, at one time, I could drive the beaches from end to end. Surfing and fishing was far different and beach access meant I could access the public beaches easily with fishing gear, cooler, car and friends in the car with me. Over time, the island became more crowded and driving the entire beach became a safety concern.
While I understand the changes will probably never allow unrestricted driving, the unwritten “DEAL” or the “UNDERSTANDING” with locals and advocates for beach access, including many locals with a very long history on the island like Lowell Hall, was to stay away from further reduction of access to the beach. On Tuesday, the tiny area remaining in the city may be cut in half and, if you read the proposal, a number of restrictions may be added, including a “study” required to demonstrate need if the area is ever increased, special training and a permit?
SYNOPSIS: Parking on the beach has been permitted at the Sadler Road public access since the City Commission approved an “on-beach” parking area south of the north right-of-way line of Sadler Road to a point 600 feet south in the late 1980’s.
The City Commission wants to discuss reducing the parking area on the beach at Sadler Road from 600 feet to 300 feet which would put the terminus of this parking area at the southern property boundary line of Seaside Park if the Ordinance passes.
While I understand both sides, I disagree with further reducing the area or access in any way. I also feel anyone with a Nassau County tag should be able to access the areas without permit or any proposed special beach driving training, given available remaining space. Living in Florida my entire life, being trained for driving on the beach is somewhat absurd, in my opinion. I would hope, if training is proposed, the training is optional with a signature noting it was declined.
Paradise is changing and I find the repeated return to elimination of or reduction of beach access painful! Living on the island for the past 54 years and a native, I think I have a right to a strong opinion and the right to feel a little offended.
Politicians who actually care, Centre Street with so much variety you’ll spend weeks trying every restaurant, musicians without compare, sleepy pelicans on a working dock, a short distance to Jacksonville International and, finally, fantastic beaches are key to the island’s allure.