Economic Development

Overview

Economic Development is a top priority of our Board of County Commissioners.

St. Johns County, in Northeast Florida, is a highly desirable, amenity-rich location of choice for starting, relocating or expanding your business. Bordered by the scenic Atlantic Ocean and St. Johns River, St. Johns County embraces its historic heritage and uniquely diverse communities such as the City of St. Augustine — the Nation’s Oldest City; St. Augustine Beach, Ponte Vedra, and Hastings — the Potato Capital of Florida; which have attracted visitors for centuries. Capitalizing on its global appeal, St. Johns County is poised for economic growth through its strategic location, favorable climate, local economic development incentives, and outstanding community services.

Why Choose St. Johns County?

St. Johns County offers businesses and residents alike:

  • Top-ranked Florida Public School System
  • Lowest Overall Tax Structure in Northeast Florida
  • Florida’s Healthiest County
  • Comprehensive Transportation Network
  • Highly Educated Workforce
  • Growing Population
  • Expanding Regional Airport
  • Beautiful Natural Amenities
  • Partnership with the Business Community
  • Unwavering Commitment to Economic Development

Our Business-Friendly Environment

Economic development is a top priority of our Board of County Commissioners. The Board shares a unified commitment to attract new business development, to expand and diversify the tax base, and to create jobs for our local residents.

St. Johns County Economic Development Office is the designated primary partner with Florida Commerce’s Select Florida, the state’s economic development organization. Our office provides assistance to businesses interested in locating and expanding into the County including site selection, incentive negotiation, and other due-diligence requests. We are here to help with any questions that you might have about starting, relocating or expanding your business.

Coordinated efforts through the County, the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), and other resource partners bring a team approach to positioning St. Johns County as a highly desirable location of choice for business expansion and relocation.

Upcoming Events

August 19-20, 2024: Small Business Success Summit

The Florida SBDC Network is hosting its annual Small Business Success Summit in North Florida this year on August 19-20, 2024, at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra. Every year the summit is hosted in a different SBDC region around the state, and we are fortunate to have it in our region this year. The summit brings together small businesses from all around the state to connect business owners with resources needed to reach new limits and to encourage success and growth. The summit will also feature keynote speakers, breakout sessions and networking opportunities that will allow small business owners to walk away with strategies and connections to help further their business. 

Learn more and register – 2024 Small Business Success Summit – Florida SBDC

Latest News

St. Johns County Administrator Joy Andrews Presents Update at Chamber EDC Breakfast

On Feb. 23, 2024, St. Johns County Administrator Joy Andrews presented an update to more than 200 attendees at the Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council Quarterly Breakfast, held at the World Golf Village Renaissance St. Augustine Resort, 500 South Legacy Trail, St. Augustine.

Andrews provided insight regarding the infrastructure upgrades taking place across the County and how those improvements factor into the County’s long-range plans for growth management. St. Johns County continues to be one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, presenting new opportunities and challenges.

“It is so important for us to have an informed community,” Andrews said. “We want the community to tell us what they want their County government and home to look like. The only way to have that authentic, meaningful dialogue is when they are informed. It is on us, on County staff including myself, to go around this community and make sure that our neighbors are in the know.”

The key components of the presentation focused on growth and infrastructure, financial stewardship, open governance and transparency, and economic resiliency. The complete presentation can be viewed here.

“We are excited for the future and grateful for our partnership with St. Johns County,” St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Isabelle Renault said. “It is vital for our business community to know what to expect regarding upcoming infrastructure so they can make plans for their own business in the future and see where they want to grow.”

Pictured from left to right: St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Economic Development Scott Maynard, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chair Berta Odom, St. Johns County Administrator Joy Andrews, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Isabelle Renault

The University of Florida Bullish on Investing in Northeast Florida

Jacksonville Daily Record

UF Health broke ground Feb. 21 on the Durbin Park hospital that it expects to open in late 2025.

By Dan Macdonald | February 21, 2024

University of Florida officials spoke glowingly Feb. 21 of the opportunities Northeast Florida presents to the school at the groundbreaking of the UF Health Durbin Park medical facility.

The university is focusing on St. Johns and Duval counties because of their growth, said Mori Hosseini, chair of the UF board of trustees.

Hosseini said Jacksonville is the fifth-fastest growing destination in the nation.

Northeast Florida is the only location in the state with both UF Health and Mayo Clinic in Florida, which regularly place first and second in surveys ranking health providers in the state.

“You decide between Mayo and UF Health. You are picking between the best of the best,” Hosseini said.

The 42.5-acre UF Health Durbin Park hospital campus is at 100 Flagler Health Way near Racetrack Road in Saint Johns. 

The 395,000-square-foot hospital, which is expected to be completed in late 2025, will have 150 beds.

It will focus on orthopedics, neurosurgery, cardiovascular medicine and women’s services. 

The hospital will offer acute, intensive and emergency care.

The project is expected to bring 1,500 to 2,000 new jobs. UF Health, which has two hospitals and multiple other facilities in the area, will have 12,000 employees in Northeast Florida when Durbin Park is at full employment.

A medical office building is already under construction near the hospital’s footprint.

UF Health has 10 hospitals in the University of Florida health system including the teaching hospital at UF Health Jacksonville in Springfield north of Downtown.

In North Jacksonville, UF Health North has a medical campus at 15255 Max Leggett Parkway east of River City Marketplace.

UF Health also has opened three Jacksonville-based Emergency & Urgent Care Centers.

The Durbin groundbreaking follows the UF Health merger with Flagler Health+, which was completed Sept 1.

Flagler Health+ became UF Health St. Johns and Flagler Hospital became UF Health Flagler Hospital.

In June 2020, Flagler Health+ announced the purchase of 40 acres in Durbin Park, where it would construct its third Flagler Health+ Village. 

Over time, the University of Florida will have invested $1 billion in new facilities and workforce in Northeast Florida, Hosseini said.

“Our bold vision will let us accomplish great things together. When it comes to going bold, UF knows a thing or two. Make no mistake. The University of Florida does not make small plans,” he said.

UF President Ben Sasse said integrating AI technology is important in all facets of a UF education.

“We aren’t just preparing students for their first job. We need to prepare them for their third job in a sector that doesn’t even exist today,” he said.

Sasse had little to say about the proposed health and financial technology graduate center in or near Downtown Jacksonville.

Announcements about the graduate center would come on or after March 26, Sasse said after the groundbreaking. He gave no hint about where the school will be built.

He said he had no firm answers about funding because legislation concerning the proposed Jacksonville facility are in the Florida Legislature.

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Publix Central Fill Pharmaceutical Facility Coming to St. Johns County

The St. Johns County Economic Development Department is proud to announce a groundbreaking development that will shape the future of our community. Publix Super Markets, Inc. is set to establish an innovative pharmaceutical manufacturing facility right here in St. Johns County, assisting with economic growth and approximately 400 new jobs. Anticipated to be operational in 2026, this state-of-the-art central fill pharmaceutical facility will be strategically located in a 168,480-square-foot building within the industrial park of Legend Point Logistics Crossing at 200 Accolade Ave. in St. Johns.

The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has displayed foresight and commitment by approving an economic development reinvestment package totaling $5,821,779 over a nine-year period for the project. The Publix central fill pharmaceutical facility will bring more than 150 new jobs initially, growing to 400 new jobs to St. Johns County.

“We are thrilled to announce the establishment of Publix’s central fill pharmaceutical facility in St. Johns County,” St. Johns County Administrator Joy Andrews said. “This endeavor has been an incredible journey, showcasing the collaborative efforts of our dedicated economic development staff, growth management team, utility services, and building officials. Together, they have worked tirelessly to bring this transformative project to fruition. What makes this announcement truly special is the resounding support and unwavering commitment from the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners. Their unanimous backing not only underscores the immense significance of this venture but also speaks volumes about their dedication to reinvesting in our community. It’s more than commendable; it’s a commitment to crafting a future filled with high-quality jobs and unparalleled wealth-building opportunities. This project stands as a shining example of the incredible outcomes that emerge when public and private sectors join forces for the greater good.”

The project was introduced to the St. Johns County Economic Development Department by JAXUSA Partnership, the County’s regional economic development partner. The project is within St. Johns County’s target industries of advanced manufacturing and health/life sciences and will bring career opportunities to the residents of St. Johns County. Publix provides stable employment opportunities with competitive pay and benefits, including its Employee Stock Ownership Plan that is provided at no cost to Publix associates.

At the Sept. 5, 2023, BOCC regular meeting, the BOCC unanimously approved a motion instructing the County Attorney to draft an economic development incentive agreement for the project and place the proposed incentive agreement for consideration by the BOCC at a later regularly scheduled meeting. Today, the BOCC approved the agreement at its regular meeting as part of the consent agenda.

$118,784 Economic Development Incentive Approved for Vermeer Southeast

At the Jan. 16 St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting, the BOCC voted 4-1 to approve a motion instructing the County Attorney to draft an economic development incentive agreement totaling $118,784 for Vermeer Southeast Sales & Service, Inc. and place the proposed agreement for consideration by the BOCC at a later regularly scheduled meeting. The agreement would provide incentives for Vermeer Southeast to bring its regional headquarters and 18 high-wage jobs to St. Johns County. The average annual wage of these jobs would be $69,722, providing $1.75 million annually in labor income for St. Johns County.

“The 260-plus employee-owners at Vermeer Southeast are incredibly excited about relocating our Northeast Florida branch to the vibrant and growing community of St. Johns County,” said Patrick McCollum, Director of Operations at Vermeer Southeast. “This move represents not only a significant milestone in our journey but also reflects the ongoing expansion and vitality of Northeast Florida. We extend sincere appreciation to our dedicated customers, whose trust and support have been instrumental in our growth. We also owe a special thanks to St. Johns County for their exceptional assistance and welcoming spirit, which greatly facilitated this upcoming transition.”

Vermeer Southeast is a construction equipment merchant primarily selling machinery and parts required to conduct vital agricultural and manufacturing operations, as well as sales of associated parts and services. As part of this proposed agreement, Vermeer Southeast plans to build a 32,000-square-foot regional headquarters facility near the intersection of U.S. 1 and International Golf Parkway by the third quarter of 2025.

“We are proud that Vermeer Southeast selected St. Johns County for its regional headquarters location,” said Colin Groff, Deputy County Administrator for St. Johns County. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Vermeer Southeast team as they integrate their operations into the County, creating a positive economic impact for our community.”

Vermeer Southeast anticipates investing approximately $7.7 million into the project, which includes land, building construction, and equipment. Vermeer Southeast’s operations are projected to produce $3.3 million annually in gross county product.

For more information about Vermeer Southeast, visit www.vermeersoutheast.com. For more information about the St. Johns County Economic Development Department, visit www.sjcfl.us/economicdevelopment.

Small Business Development Center Offers Vital Resources for Small Businesses

The St. Johns County Department of Economic Development has a long-term partnership with the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida (SBDC at UNF) to offer no-cost business consulting services for prospective and existing small business owners in St. Johns County. Small businesses are a key part of both the St. Johns County and United States economy, making up more than 90% of all businesses in the United States. Since 1976, the Florida SBDC at UNF has helped more than 60,000 small businesses in an 18-county area.

Marge Cirillo, senior small business consultant, is the dedicated consultant in St. Johns County with an office located within the Growth Management Department building at 4040 Lewis Speedway in St. Augustine. Marge has extensive knowledge in operating small businesses, owning three successful restaurants and a catering business for eight years. She has also worked at the SBDC for more than 12 years and was awarded regional consultant of the year in 2023. Marge’s areas of expertise include lending, restaurant/retail operations, marketing and agribusiness. Marge’s expertise is backed by a team of more than 20 people within the regional SBDC office that provides additional support for business owners.

Small business consulting services offered through the SBDC include business startup, financial analysis, marketing and research, funding options, business planning, disaster preparation and recovery, search engine optimization (SEO) and online presence, among other services. Also, training is available both online and through in-person classes and includes topics such as QuickBooks, government contracting, cybersecurity and more. The SBDC offers networking opportunities on a regular basis as well.

Mochiatsu, a franchise in St. Johns County that serves mochi donuts, Korean hot dogs and boba started by owner Linda Zhou, is a SBDC success story. Linda reached out to Marge for assistance with marketing ideas. After working with Marge, Linda updated her marketing strategy to go beyond the franchisor resources. Marge assisted with the ribbon cutting event and marketing to local officials and businesses. She also encouraged Linda to network with the local business community to help get the word out about her location. When asked about her experience working with the SBDC, Linda said, “I am very grateful for all the help received from Marge, and I think every business owner and prospective business should use the services of the Small Business Development Center.”

For questions or to schedule a no-cost appointment, Marge can be reached at 904-209-1295 or m.cirillo@unf.edu. Also, to accommodate all schedules, virtual appointments are available during regular business hours as well as early-morning, evening and weekend hours. For more information about the SBDC and to view the schedule of events, visit www.sbdc.unf.edu.

St. Augustine Featured in National Geographic’s Best Beach Towns for Fall List

The City of St. Augustine is world-renowned for its charm and history. From cobblestone streets to beautiful oceanic and riverside views, visitors and residents alike have fallen in love with St. Augustine for hundreds of years. This fall, National Geographic recognized the Nation’s Oldest City once again by naming it one of the country’s best beach towns to visit in the fall.

In September, National Geographic’s Catherine Toth Fox wrote in recognition of St. Augustine.

“Forty-two years before the English colonized Jamestown and 55 years before Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés stepped onto Florida’s shores and declared the settlement St. Augustine,” Fox said. “Now it’s considered the oldest, continuously occupied settlement in the U.S. Stroll the redbrick streets lined with centuries-old buildings or hop on an Old Town Trolley tour. The City Gate, built with coquina blocks in 1808, and the González-Alvarez House, the oldest surviving Spanish colonial dwelling in the city, are just two notable points of interest. Less humidity in the fall means pleasant walks around the historic city and its 42 miles of sandy shores. Go horseback riding on Crescent Beach, or look for shark teeth at Mickler’s Landing Beach, known for its pink sand made from crushed coquina.”

KeHE Distributors Celebrates Start of Construction of $88.5 Million Facility

On Nov. 17, 2023, KeHE Distributors and Stotan Industrial, with support from St. Johns County, held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of the construction of a new, premier facility. The Chicago-based developer Stotan Industrial is developing a 530,474-square-foot built-to-suit development for KeHE Distributors at 3800 Deerpark Blvd., Elkton, FL. The event heard remarks from James McGill, President/Principal of Stotan Industrial; Chris Sieburg, Executive Vice President, Operations at KeHE; and Vice Chair Sarah Arnold, District 2, St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners.

“We are breaking ground on history,” Commissioner Arnold said. “Today marks a benchmark moment in the County, establishing a new level of economic development and growth. We are keeping a thriving and growing corporation here in the County. KeHE has a long history as an organic food distributor here in St. Johns County, but most importantly, they are a valued member of our community.”

“We were fortunate to be selected as the developer of KeHE’s new Southeast regional headquarters,” McGill said. “KeHE’s strong growth in the Southeast resulted in the need for a larger and more modern facility to handle this growth and customer requirements. All of us at Stotan Industrial are very excited to be part of this project and the journey.”

KeHE is the largest distributor of natural, organic, specialty, and fresh products to more than 31,000 natural food stores, chain and independent grocery stores, e-commerce retailers, and other specialty product retailers throughout North America. With more than 6,800 employee-owners, KeHE, a Certified B Corporation, drives its mission of serving to make lives better throughout all aspects of its operation. KeHE will utilize the property as one of its Southeast distribution centers, which will include 29,887 square feet of office space for employees, 390,000 square feet of dry warehouse, and 105,000 square feet of cooler/freezer space. The facility will serve several of KeHE’s key retail partners throughout parts of the Southeast. The total value of the land and equipment is assessed at more than $88.5 million. KeHE will retain 345 jobs and add another 100 jobs as a result of this new facility, with a focus on hiring residents of St. Johns County.

Additionally, the development will improve safety at the intersection of State Road 207 and Deerpark Boulevard, as a new traffic signal plan will be implemented as part of the County’s incentive agreement.

“We thought, at all costs, we have to keep them here,” County Administrator Joy Andrews said. “Their employees are family and they are putting food on the table for our families. We went through a number of sites to try to find the right solution for them, where there is adequate space, where there is room for future growth, and where there will not be a compatibility issue for the community around them. We found the perfect spot.”

“We’ve been in St. Johns County since the early 1970s with a company called the Tree of Life,” Sieburg said. “At this particular location, we have several hundred professional warehouse workers and professional truck drivers. It was so important to us that we picked a location where we didn’t have to build a new team because we already have an amazing team. There are great demographics in St. Johns County and it’s a growing County. We’ve got great roots here and we’re excited about staying here.”

Business Spotlights

Future Friends

Future Friends, established in 2012, is a branding and design studio based in St. Augustine, led by owners Danielle and Luke Brodersen. St. Johns County recently launched a new brand designed by the team at Future Friends and thought the community would enjoy knowing more about this creative group of local Flagler College graduates and why St. Johns County is such a great fit for their company.

Danielle and Luke, Flagler College grads (both ’09), share their thoughts on being business owners in St. Johns County.

Q: What inspired you to select St. Johns County as the home of your business?

A: Danielle was born in Jacksonville and raised in St. Augustine, so St. Johns County has been a home for her for almost as long as she can remember. Luke moved here to go to Flagler College, after tiring of moving around the world growing up. We both were invested in finding a place to start a business and raise a family and St. Augustine checked a lot of those boxes for us. We started Future Friends in 2012 and we have four employees who are also all Flagler College grads (Catherine Provenza ’08, Mackenzie Rockwood ’18, Ben Becker ’21, and Crystal Jones ’08) who round out our team.

Q: What is the best part about being a business owner in St. Johns County?

A: One of the best things is being able to have personal relationships with our clients, such to where we can speak into their projects and be able to give advice about anything that has to do with graphic design or even running a business.

Q: What is your biggest business success to date?

A: Our biggest success as a business is being able to work on projects that we love and can wholeheartedly stand behind. We are proud of all the brands that we work with and we take pride in putting the Future Friends “quality seal” on every job we do.

Q: What is your vision for the future of your business?

A: Besides global domination, we tend to think quite “small.” We really enjoy the tight creative bond that our team has and we want to show how a small agency can do the big things as well as the smaller ones. We also want to keep spreading the word of how good graphic design can make all the difference.

Q: Outside of work, what activities do you enjoy here in St. Johns County?

A: At Future Friends, we all share a love for good music and good food. We are also pretty diverse in our other recreational ventures. Whether reading, antiquing/thrifting, climbing, exploring new places, our team enjoys a good adventure.

Q: Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share?

A: Whether you own a business or are starting a new one, remember that the visual “front” that you present is important to how your customers see you and how they first interact with you.

For more information about Future Friends, visit www.futurefriends.co. For more information about the St. Johns County Department of Economic Development, visit www.sjcfl.us/departments/economic-development.

Q-PAC

Q-PAC, established in 2012, designs and manufactures industry-leading fan systems for commercial air handling units used in hospitals, educational facilities, commercial plazas, office buildings and more. Led by CEO Matt Kent, Q-PAC is comprised of a team of 70 employees. In 2018, Q-PAC moved its headquarters to St. Johns County. Matt shares his thoughts on being a business owner here in St. Johns County.

Q: What inspired you to select St. Johns County as the home of your business?

A: St. Johns County has so much to offer residents and provides an excellent opportunity for us to recruit great people to our team. The natural attractions and charm of St. Augustine really boost our overall company culture. I grew up here in St. Augustine and feel very fortunate for Q-PAC to be headquartered here.

Q: What is the best part about being a business owner in St. Johns County?

A: We can have fun doing what we love to do at work and when we’re not working, we can enjoy Florida paradise with family and friends.

Q: It seems apparent that company culture is extremely important to you. What values do you look for in your team members?

A: Q-PAC is always looking for great people and has been since the very beginning. We look for people who are curious, relentless, agile, and passionate. We work hard and we play hard. We strive to be the best in the world at everything we do but also want every day to be fun and a positive experience.

Q: What is your biggest business success to date?

A: That’s tough to say, but I have to go back to our team at Q-PAC. We’ve been tremendously successful and have accomplished so much but it’s all because of the incredible team of people we have built over the last 10 years. But we do have a system in the White House which is pretty cool. Haha.

Q: Outside of work, what activities do you enjoy here in St. Johns County?

A: I love to go surfing, skateboarding, and fishing. My wife and I live on Anastasia Island and enjoy taking our two boys to play at the beach, going to the local farmers market at the amphitheatre, and walking around downtown St. Augustine.

Q: Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share?

A: This is a wonderful place to build a business, raise a family, and call home. We should do everything we can to preserve the sense of community, character, and charm that we have here. I would like to thank the St. Johns County team for everything they do for our local businesses and residents.

For more information about Q-PAC, visit www.q-pac.com. For more information about the St. Johns County Department of Economic Development, visit www.sjcfl.us/economicdevelopment.

Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine

The Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine (CCM) is a museum, event space and classic car storage facility located at 4730 U.S. Highway 1 S. Established in 2020 by the Hobbs family – Sidney, Brenda and Madison – the museum has a calendar full of events and car shows, with many of those events benefiting community organizations. The Hobbs family shares their thoughts on being business owners here in St. Johns County.

Q: What inspired you to select St. Johns County as the home of your business?  

A: We are St. Johns County locals. We have been here over 20 years and plan to stay for generations to come. The community here feels like a family, full of business owners striving to contribute to the success of the community as a whole.

Q: What is the best part about being a business owner in St. Johns County?

A: As we all know, our county is continuing to grow. We have the amazing benefit of being a tourist destination as well as a tight-knit local community. This allows our outreach to stretch beyond the St. Johns County lines as well as cater to those within the community.

Q: How has your business focus of giving back to the community impacted both the community and your business?

A: As a 501c3 organization, we have hosted numerous charity events here at the Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine, in partnership with Classic Eventage. Since opening in 2020, we have given back around $250,000 to the community through these philanthropy-focused events. It is the heart and soul of what we do here at CCM.

Q: What is your biggest business success to date? 

A: We opened in June of 2020, which we all know as the “Covid year.” As a business, we were not completely sure what operations would look like choosing to move forward with our opening date under the circumstances of the world. However, we discovered it is just what the community needed. With our vast amount of outdoor space, we were able to host events that still remained under Covid protocol that our community was able to enjoy. We created a sense of community in the most trying of times. Through this time, we were able to build connections with those looking for a place to store their vehicles. We gained 30 storage vehicles here at CCM, which is the biggest business success to date as we are FULL and have over 100 cars for our customer’s viewing pleasure. The growth of our event company, Classic Eventage, is also continuing to grow as we gain more bookings each day.

Q: What are your future business growth plans?

A: We have some exciting new plans for growth! We are potentially getting a tenant for our restaurant site next door, looking into new building expansions, and discovering more opportunities for community involvement. Classic Eventage is also continuing to grow and expand community outreach in Madison’s efforts to plan, host and execute fantastic events that our guests love to attend!

Q: Outside of work, what activities do you enjoy here in St. Johns County?

A: We love supporting the local restaurants and shops here in St. Johns County! Most weekends are spent in beautiful downtown St. Augustine, at our stunning beaches, boating on the intracoastal, or enjoying our favorite artists at The Amp! We truly appreciate where we live and try our best to get out and support other local businesses here in the community.

Q: Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share?

A: We as a family have dreamed of opening this business for as long as we can remember, and seeing this dream come to fruition is such a blessing. The heart of our business is that “you can’t out give God, but we try to every day” and we truly live by that statement. Whether you’re a car enthusiast, need a rainy-day activity, looking for a space to host your next event, or have a charity/cause that breaks your heart and need help finding a way to spread the cause, we are here to help!

For more information about the Classic Car Museum of St. Augustine, visit www.ccmstaug.com. Video footage of Commissioner Alaimo’s visit with Madison Hobbs can be seen on YouTube. For more information about the St. Johns County Department of Economic Development, visit www.sjcfl.us/economicdevelopment.

Rulon International

Rulon International, established in 1976, is the leading manufacturer of wood ceiling and acoustical wood wall panels that can be found in universities, hotels, government buildings, corporate headquarters and more. Led by President and CEO Wayne Robison, Rulon International is comprised of a team of more than 200 employees. In 2006, Rulon International moved its headquarters from Georgia to 2000 Ring Way in St. Johns County and has expanded its building and operations multiple times since then. The team members of Rulon International share their thoughts on having a business here in St. Johns County.

Q: What inspired you to select St. Johns County as the home of your business?  

A: It was a fantastic choice – excellent school systems, beautiful beaches as well as historical sites. 

Q: What is the best part about having a business in St. Johns County?

A: The business-friendly environment is a huge draw. Relocating to St. Johns County also helped with recruiting professionals to join our company from other parts of the country.

Q: What is the company’s biggest business success to date? 

A: The growth of the company since relocating to St. Johns County has been our biggest success.

Q: What are the company’s future business growth plans?

A: We plan to continue to improve and expand our manufacturing processes and product lines, which will continue to elevate the company in our industry as well as continuing to support charitable organizations that the company and our employees are passionate about.

Q: Outside of work, what activities here in St. Johns County are enjoyed by your team?

A: Rulon employees enjoy a variety of activities in St. Johns County from hitting the beaches for a relaxing weekend, golfing, fishing, boating, as well as many other things St. Augustine and St. Johns County offers.

Q: Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share?

A: St. Johns County welcomed our business and employees when we relocated. It has become our home, and we are thankful to work, live and play here in St. Johns County.

For more information about Rulon International, visit www.rulonco.com. For more information about the St. Johns County Department of Economic Development, visit www.sjcfl.us/economicdevelopment.

Crème de la Cocoa

Crème de la Cocoa, established in 2016, is a high-end bakeshop that specializes in wedding cakes, hand-painted chocolates and custom desserts with a twist on traditional flavors. Led by owners Nils and Bailey Rowland, Crème de la Cocoa has 16 employees and is located at 299 San Marco Ave. in St. Augustine. Nils was recently a finalist on the Food Network’s Halloween Wars where he and his team created spooky Halloween displays that wowed the judges. The tasting treats he crafted on the show are now available in the shop to enjoy.

Nils and Bailey share their thoughts on being business owners here in St. Johns County.

Q: What inspired you to select St. Johns County as the home of your business?  

A: We are both originally from Gainesville but spent many summers and weekends in St. Augustine. We always considered St. Augustine our home away from home. After graduating from college at UCF in Orlando, we both thought St. Augustine would be the perfect place for two Hospitality Management Majors.

Q: What is the best part about being a business owner in St. Johns County?

A: The local love and support for our small business and many others has always been prevalent. We love the community here and the appreciation for our craft that we have received since opening.

Q: What is your biggest business success to date? 

A: That is a difficult question to answer. However, we would say that the biggest success is seeing the same customers consistently and most all of them being locals. We love being a part of the most special occasions of their lives.

Q: What is your vision for the future of your business?

A: We are currently working on a second location in our hometown Gainesville, FL. Bailey’s dad had a business in the same building for 40 years and it feels really special to keep the building in the family and utilize the space for our own business.

Q: Outside of work, what activities do you enjoy here in St. Johns County?

A: We have two boys, 5 and 6 years old, that we enjoy spending time with at the beach, fishing and visiting the Alligator Farm.

Q: Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share?

A: We would just like to take a moment to thank everyone for their continued support. It means the world to our family and our team.

For more information about Crème de la Cocoa, visit www.cremedelacocoa.com. For more information about the St. Johns County Department of Economic Development, visit www.sjcfl.us/economicdevelopment.

Property Highlights

IGP/95 Logistics Park at World Commerce Center

IGP/95 Logistics Park at World Commerce Center is an industrial logistics park coming soon to St. Johns County for light industrial and warehousing uses. The three-building site is located at World Commerce Center near SR-16 and International Golf Parkway and will offer a combined 509,900 SF of space. Leasing of the space is now available through Foundry Commercial.

The three buildings range in size from 205,700 SF, 193,600 SF and 110,600 SF and are scheduled to be complete in the second quarter of 2024. The logistics park will have modern building features and will include dock-high doors, intermediary ramps, and speculative offices that can be delivered with the building for fast tenant occupancy.

“The IGP/95 Logistics Park at World Commerce Center is uniquely positioned to serve a large population base, as St. Johns County is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s fastest growing counties. There’s really no better location than World Commerce Center – St. Johns County’s premier business park – to establish a foothold in the county,” said Mark Scott, Partner at Foundry Commercial.

The logistics park is conveniently located in the center of St. Johns County with quick access to I-95. The site’s location provides access to nearly 1.5 million consumers within a 30-minute drive. Also, nearly 1.3 million people make up the workforce available within a 45-minute drive.

According to CoStar, St. Johns County’s occupancy rate for industrial space is 96%, making this an important project to increase available industrial space in the county. There is a large demand for such space by St. Johns County businesses looking to expand and new businesses looking to relocate to the county.

Foundry Commercial’s regional office is based out of the Jacksonville area. In total, the company has more than 2,000 associates operating from 11 markets. Additional information about IGP/95 Logistics Park can be found by visiting www.igp-95logisticspark.com or calling Mark Scott with Foundry Commercial at 904-699-3518.

For more information about the St. Johns County Economic Development Department, visit www.sjcfl.us/economicdevelopment.

Legend Point Logistics Crossing

Legend Point Logistics Crossing is new master-planned industrial development in St. Johns County located at County Road 210 and US 1 off Accolade Avenue. The project consists of two phases. Phase one is complete and comprises of three speculative warehouse buildings totaling 345,027 SF. Phase two can accommodate build-to-suit opportunities up to 500,000 SF or two spec buildings totaling 547,000 SF.  Leasing of the space is currently available through Cushman & Wakefield.  

The commerce park, developed by Scannell Properties, meets the needs of various types of industrial tenants by providing flexible warehouse sizes. The site also offers rear load configuration and ample parking capabilities.

“This has been one of the more exciting industrial developments in St Johns County history and it provides a great opportunity for St. Johns County industrial occupiers from 30,000 SF to 500,000 SF,” said Jacob Horsley, Executive Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield.

The industrial park is conveniently located in the northern part of St. Johns County with quick access throughout the region by multiple interstates. The site’s location provides access to approximately 1.3 million consumers within a 30-minute drive. Also, more than 1.2 million people make up the workforce available within a 45-minute drive.

Available industrial space is in demand in St. Johns County as well as throughout Florida with St. Johns County’s industrial occupancy rate at 96%, according to Costar. As stated in an insights story posted on Cushman & Wakefield’s website titled Florida’s Industrial Stabilization 2023, “At mid-year 2023, all Florida markets maintained their high occupancy rates with an average of only 3.2% vacancy across the state. The high level of leasing demand positions Florida as a top contender amongst the Southeast region. Remaining available space under construction continues to be a necessity as limited supply persists and magnifies the need for a large quantity of industrial space to enter the construction pipeline.”

In Jacksonville and throughout Florida, Cushman & Wakefield is consistently ranked among the top brokerage firms, and it has the largest property management portfolio in Florida. Additional information about Legend Point Logistics Crossing can be found by visiting www.legendpointlc.com or calling Jacob Horsley with Cushman & Wakefield at 904-380-8335.

For more information about the St. Johns County Economic Development Department, visit www.sjcfl.us/economicdevelopment.

Services

Resources

FAQs

How can I determine the zoning and future land use of a property I am considering for a project?

This information can be found on iMap. Visit iMap at https://www.gis.sjcfl.us/Html5Viewer/index.html?viewer=iMap. Once on iMap, type in the parcel number or address at the top right corner. The information about the property will appear on the left – click on the information and it will show up on the map. Next, click on the layers tab (to the right of the printer icon) and select zoning. To determine the future land use of a parcel, follow the same steps except select future land use in the layers tab.

Where can I find information about current economic conditions and economic trends in St. Johns County?

The St. Johns County Department of Economic Development produces a monthly economic indicator report that provides such information and can be found at the following link. - https://www.sjcfl.us/monthly-economic-indicator-reports

Where can I find information about the latest projects and developments in St. Johns County?

St. Johns County has a Development Tracker map that can be found at the following link. - https://www.sjcfl.us/development-tracker Once on the map, zoom into the area and click on the circle or highlighted area. Information will then display about the project.

Where can I find information about the Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) in St. Johns County and the entitlements within the PUDs?

St. Johns County has a PUD Development Activity map that provides such information and can be found at the following link. - https://www.gis.sjcfl.us/entitlements/ You can either select an area on the map or type in the name of the project on the right. Information about the PUD will display on the left. To see the entitlements for that PUD, click on the project number button on the left. On the next screen, click on the entitlements button on the right. Scroll down and you will see a list of the entitlements and square footage for those entitlements.

Where can I find information about a particular property within St. Johns County, such as parcel ID, acreage, ownership, etc.?

Such information can be found at the St. Johns County Property Appraiser office at www.sjcpa.gov. Once on the website, select search in the top navigation bar, and it will take you to a page where you can search for a particular property through multiple options.

Where can I find all available maps for St. Johns County?

St. Johns County has a Map Mart, which provides 90+ maps in PDF, including proposed transportation improvements, zoning, community redevelopment areas, education facilities, boat ramps, parks and much more. The Map Mart can be found at the following link. - https://sjcfl.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MinimalGallery/index.html?appid=b3a3949584524e61b6f920786e8bcd99

As I start my small business, what resources are available to me?   

The Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida in partnership with St. Johns County offers a full-service location for small businesses in St. Johns County with an office located in the Growth Management Permit Center, 4040 Lewis Speedway, at the main County complex in St. Augustine. The SBDC consultant, Marge Cirillo, also travels regularly to serve business owners in other areas of the county. Marge is a certified business analyst who works exclusively with small business owners in St. Johns County to provide management advice and technical assistance with little to no cost. Appointments are available by calling 904-209-1295.

Where can I download demographic reports for St. Johns County?

ESRI demographic reports such as business summary, community profile, housing profile, traffic county profile and more for St. Johns County can be found at the following link. - https://bit.ly/49LGjmN

Where can I find if a property is within one of St. Johns County’s two opportunity zones?

St. Johns County has two opportunity zones. Visit the following link to view the opportunity zones in St. Johns County on an interactive map to determine if a property is within one of the two opportunity zones. The opportunity zones are outlined in blue on the map. - https://bit.ly/3UXOYye

How can I determine if my project is eligible for economic development incentives?

The St. Johns County Business Incentive Program has an established point system for determining a base value an applicant could receive for each of these categories: locating a new industry, expanding an existing business, or developing speculative space within the county. Visit the Business Incentive Program page for the category overviews and point systems. - https://www.sjcfl.us/business-incentive-programs