New Nassau County town designed for 1000 homes on 260 acres
September 20, 2017
As part of the agreement, the University of Florida and its academic health center, UF Health, will construct health and fitness facilities in Wildlight and spearhead programs and services aimed at promoting healthier living throughout the new community and the Northeast Florida region.
Earlier this year Wildlight’s developer, Raydient Places + Properties, sought a dedicated strategic partner with the capabilities and vision to create a model for community development that promotes better health for the people who will live, work and play there.
Wildlight is at northeast Interstate 95 and Florida A1A.
“One of our goals at Wildlight is to create a community that promotes healthier living, so we went looking for a partner with broad and deep capabilities to bring the vision to life,” said Chris Corr, president of Raydient.
“That effort led us to the University of Florida and UF Health, and we are thrilled to welcome them to Wildlight,” he said.
The Wildlight announcement follows the lead of The District, which is scheduled to begin construction on the Southbank Downtown in early 2018. Developers Peter Rummell and Michael Munz last week announced a partnership with Jacksonville University to monitor and research the effectiveness of the development’s healthy town efforts.
“I have been saying for years that in the community development business, healthy living is the new golf course,” said Rummell, former worldwide chairman of the Urban Land Institute. Rummell and Corr have had discussions about healthy towns.
“It’s the new amenity and people are going to respond to it and it doesn't take 150 acres and $10 million like a golf course does. What we're doing in The District reflects that.”
Unlike Wildlight, which will use expansive acreage to implement its healthy town project, The District is confined to 30 acres in an urban setting. While the target demographics of the two developments may differ, Rummell said healthy living concepts can be effectively integrated into both.
“There are 30-year-olds looking for a place to move Downtown and 70-year-olds who want to downsize from the big house in Mandarin and are looking for a place they can simply lock and leave,” said Rummell.
He said Wildlight “requires a completely different approach while ours is dense and urban and mixed use.
“I think it’s fantastic news for Jacksonville. These are two innovative ideas and they are both going on right here,” he said.
One of Wildlight’s key objectives is to create a community where people can live, work and play in a dynamic environment. An individual’s health and well-being — including mind, body, spirit and the social aspects of life — are essential elements to the goal.
As Wildlight’s strategic partner, the University of Florida will provide the knowledge, faculty and resources to ensure healthy living is integrated into the Wildlight community through health, education, fitness and recreation programs.
“The expertise of our faculty and health care providers will contribute to promoting a better state of health for the whole person, inside and out,” said David Guzick, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.
UF and UF Health’s first step in the multiyear project is to construct the community’s first health care facility on Florida A1A, which will include urgent care staffed by emergency medicine faculty, primary care using a patient-centered model focused on prevention and early diagnosis, and an imaging center.
Providers initially will include faculty physicians in adult primary care and pediatrics. Eventually, other medical specialists may be added in areas such as obstetrics, sports medicine, dentistry, orthopedics and occupational and speech therapy, depending on the community’s needs and interests.
In the coming months, the University of Florida and UF Health will advance planning and design with the objective of breaking ground on initial facilities next year. Final approval of the project is contingent on approval by governing boards, including the UF board of trustees.
Other facilities in the planning stages include a fitness and lifestyle campus as well as services focused on early childhood development, sports injury prevention, smart parks and community nutrition.
UF envisions using Wildlight’s high-speed communications network to connect and communicate with residents and community members and offer virtual programs through smart apps and social media.
Wildlight is envisioned as a new town including a mix of homes, townhomes and apartments along with shops and restaurants, parks, gardens and playgrounds, an elementary school, and a system of trails and pathways intended to make it a healthy and walkable community.
The first phase is designed for about 1,000 homes on 260 acres plus nearly 350 acres of permanently preserved open space.
“These are two big ideas here and both of them reflect in my mind where I am,” Rummell said. “One of them is healthy living, which I think as you get older is more and more important. The other thing The District will focus on is this whole idea of multigen-erationalism.
“I am 71 and I don't want to spend my life with a bunch of 71-year-olds,” Rummell said. “I want some younger people around and I have found some young people who don't mind a 71-year-old being around. That's my idea of healthy living."
For more information about Wildlight, visit wildlight.com. For more about The District, visit thedistrictjax.com.