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Let’s get real here. We certainly understand why South Carolina would want to lay exclusive claim to the lowcountry. After all, it’s one of the most naturally beautiful, culturally rich regions in all of North America. But sorry, Charleston, you’re not the only place that has sea islands, long beaches and an inland geography characterized by lush forests and wetlands brimming over with wildlife. 

The geographical fact is, the lowcountry extends from the Santee River north of Charleston down past Savannah, Georgia, all the way to the St. Johns River that runs through Jacksonville. In fact, all you have to do is hop on Google maps and look at that stretch of the Atlantic coastline, and you’ll say to yourself, “Yep, that all looks pretty much the same.” 

Of course we also understand that the lowcountry is more than a certain kind of geography. It’s a unique intersection of cultures and cuisines. And we happily acknowledge that as you travel from South Carolina to northeastern Florida, the cultural tone changes. It’s still lowcountry, but it gets more relaxed. More beachy. Instead of the quaint formality of Charleston and Savannah, you find the laid-back vibe of Amelia Island. You could say that in Florida, the lowcountry trades in its bow tie and seersucker for board shorts and a pair of flip-flops.

Then there are the homes. As with other places around the globe, classic lowcountry homes are a direct response to local weather. A raised first floor was a defense against high water. Tall ceilings helped to keep the indoors cooler. And a big front porch provided a shady place for everyone to come together and enjoy a cold drink and some neighborly conversation. In Wildlight, we’ve created a fresh interpretation of lowcountry style. Here you’ll find plenty of porches and high ceilings. But the forms are simpler, more streamlined. With a contemporary flair that just feels … right.

Fortunately, what doesn’t change with Florida’s version of lowcountry is the yumminess of the food. The shrimp are just as fresh, the grits are just as creamy and the lowcountry boil is just as delicious and messy as anywhere else along this magnificent stretch of coastline. Maybe even a bit tastier. And around here, you can follow it up with a slice of made-from-scratch key lime pie.

Our Porchfest Model Home Tour was a fun-filled couple of weeks, and a celebration of community—from the fresh homes to the fresh food and the fresh air. We gathered together to celebrate neighbors, nature and all the things that make Wildlight so special.

For those who couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed: live music from local artists (a feast for the ears), six beautiful model homes to tour (a feast for the eyes) and delicious fare from local eateries (a feast for … well, a literal feast).

It was our way of showcasing the wonderful way that Wildlight lives. We like to say we’re a new kind of Florida lowcountry. A town in nature, where your new home is an easy walk or ride (bike or golf cart) from a town center full of shops, restaurants, a YMCA, parks and trails. A place where, whether you prefer coastal or Craftsman, you can find a home that fits your flavor. And a spot where, without a doubt, the porch is the perfect place to spend time with family and friends.

We already can’t wait for next time.

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WILDLIGHT, FL – Sept. 28, 2020 – Skinner Bros. Realty is expanding in Nassau County with the completion of its second multi-tenant retail complex in Wildlight. The new mixed-use retail and restaurant space will continue to transform the master-planned community’s central Village Center, with new tenants slated to open winter 2021.

“The pandemic has maximized Wildlight’s need for more convenient access to service retail,” said Chet Skinner, vice president of Skinner Bros. Realty. “As Nassau County continues to grow at an impressive rate, especially in the area near Interstate 95, there is increased demand for services that retain homebuyers. Our newest retail complex strengthens the appeal of the Wildlight market by providing access to additional amenities and everyday services that area locals desire close to home.”

Skinner Bros. Realty began construction on the commercial complex located at 40 Homegrown Way in early 2020 and finished development in September 2020. The new mixed-use building is an extension of The Village Center’s first multi-tenant complex that opened early last year, adding 11,670 square feet of additional retail and restaurant space. It is designed to capture the inspiration of an open-air market with spaces that flow into each other, including an outdoor courtyard and covered dining area.

Skinner Bros. Realty leased the building’s available space to four tenants that will begin buildout this fall and join a cohesive mix of hospitality and lifestyle services at The Village Center. Family-owned restaurant Anejo Cocina Mexicana will bring fresh, from-scratch dishes and an upbeat atmosphere to the area, expanding from its current Ponte Vedra Beach location and new planned location in the Brooklyn neighborhood near downtown Jacksonville. Hana Sushi & Asian is a fast-casual service concept that will offer Asian fusion cuisine and sushi, blending fresh ingredients with exotic flavors.

Additional tenants confirmed to open at the site include DEP Nail Salon, a luxury salon that will offer nail, eyelash extension and waxing services, and Firehouse Subs, a locally founded fast-casual restaurant chain that will bring hot specialty subs and more. They’ll join Royal Amelia Dance Academy, Great Clip’s, Cold Stone Creamery and Tasty’s Fresh Burgers and Fries, all of which opened last year at The Village Center.

“We’re very pleased to continue working with the talented Skinner Bros. Realty team to further define Wildlight as an ideal place to live, work and play,” said Chris Corr, president of Raydient Places + Properties. “Their deep understanding of North Florida’s real estate market has helped us ensure the community remains a safe and quality investment for residents and future homebuyers by providing the conveniences of an established town with a rich mixture of amenities at The Village Center and beyond.”

In addition to the new multi-tenant complex, Wildlight recently began development on its second neighborhood, Forest Park. The growing neighborhood will bring more than desirable homes to the master-planned community by nationally recognized builders Mattamy Homes and Riverside Homes. Yulee KinderCare and St. Clare Early Learning Center also opened in Wildlight this summer, providing additional early education and faith-based learning opportunities for the area. The UF Health Rehabilitation – Wildlight center is slated to open in October 2020, which will offer residents a new style of healthy living.

For more information about Wildlight, please visit www.wildlight.com.

About Skinner Bros. Realty

Skinner Bros. Realty Company, established in January 1999, is a developer, investor, owner and manager of retail, office and mixed-use properties. The firm specializes in acquisition, planning, permitting, development and marketing of real estate as well as the representation of individual and corporate clients in the search for premier business locations.

About Wildlight

Wildlight is envisioned as a new town inspired by a character, culture and pattern of living that we call “Florida Lowcountry,” where play is a part of every day and the natural world is a natural part of life. The plan for Wildlight includes a mix of homes, townhomes and rental apartments together with shops and restaurants, a new elementary school and a system of trails and pathways intended to make it healthy and walkable and connect it all together. Our Phase 1 plan is flexible and currently designed for about 1,000 homes across about 260 acres plus nearly 350 acres of permanently preserved open space. Wildlight will offer comfortable and friendly Florida Lowcountry living 20 miles north of Jacksonville, just east of Interstate 95 on A1A, with easy access to both Amelia Island and the Jacksonville International Airport. Wildlight is being created by Raydient Places + Properties, a taxable subsidiary of Rayonier Inc., a real estate investment trust. For more information please visit Wildlight.com.

These two simple words are the driving force behind what makes Wildlight the unique Florida Lowcountry community we love to call home. But what does it mean to be thoughtfully designed and how does it set Wildlight apart from other master-planned communities?

One of the most common things we hear from prospective homeowners about what drew them to Wildlight is its connection to nature. With over a thousand acres of conserved forest land, miles of hiking and biking trails and plenty of open green space, there are endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors without having to leave the neighborhood.

This deep bond with the natural Northeast Florida environment is intentional and one of the main facets of Wildlight’s design. And it doesn’t stop at the doorstep of our homes. Each single-family home and townhome is built with a variety of green features including sustainable materials and landscapes, energy-saving natural gas and more.

Wildlight’s walkability furthers this connection with nature by reducing carbon emissions and also promotes healthy living, another key component of the community’s thoughtful design. Interconnected pathways join nature, neighborhoods, amenities, Wildlight Elementary School, local businesses and health facilities.

Our strategic collaboration with the University of Florida and UF Health gives residents convenient access to health services at UF Health’s Medical Office Complex, Urgent Care and Rehabilitation facilities. The new First Coast YMCA, scheduled to open in October, will offer residents even more ways to stay healthy with fitness equipment, group exercise classes, sports programs and health education.

Such a physically interconnected community naturally fosters yet another important connection—the human one.

Even with social distancing guidelines in effect, you’ll find neighbors chatting from their front porches, small groups of friends enjoying socially-distanced backyard barbecues and joggers waving as they pass by. And once life goes back to normal, residents will once again enjoy neighborhood potlucks, community events in the heart of town and fun nights out in nearby Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville.

All of this—interconnectedness between people, places, nature and health—is part of the thoughtful design that makes Wildlight a wonderful place to live, work and play.

WILDLIGHT, FL. – June 19, 2020 – Raydient Places + Properties announced today that Mattamy Homes and Riverside Homes have been selected as the newest homebuilders in Wildlight. Together, the nationally recognized companies will bring single-family homes to Forest Park, a new neighborhood being developed in the Nassau County master-planned community.

“We have partnered with Riverside Homes and Mattamy Homes because of their exceptional commitment to their customers,” said Chris Corr, president of Raydient Places + Properties. “As respected industry leaders, they have a reputation for architectural excellence and understand our Florida Lowcountry philosophy for the Forest Park collection of homes.”

Founded in 1978, Mattamy Homes is recognized as North America’s largest privately-owned homebuilder. The leading homebuilding brand has built more than 100,000 homes across North America and has a long history of offering exceptional townhomes and single-family homes in desirable locations throughout Northeast Florida. Mattamy’s expansion into Nassau County is the latest example of the company’s commitment to having a major presence in the Florida homebuilding industry.

“Mattamy Homes is excited to become a part of Wildlight and enter the Nassau County market,” said Cliff Nelson, Jacksonville division president of Mattamy Homes. “The desirable area’s high opportunity for growth nicely complements our other Northeast Florida markets. We look forward to continuing Wildlight’s existing vision and Florida Lowcountry brand, while also introducing our unique and thoughtful designs to future buyers.”

Riverside Homes is a locally owned homebuilder founded by visionaries Chris Wood and Matt Roberts who have a combined two decades of experience in the Jacksonville market. Applauded and recognized for their exceptional craftsmanship and commitment to continuously elevating the standard in new home construction, Riverside Homes was cast into the international spotlight as the builder of the 2019 Southern Living Idea House in Amelia Island. As an award-winning builder, the company provides value, quality and innovative designs that fit the way buyers live and goes above and beyond to build each customer home as if it were their own. Riverside Homes will offer homes set on 70-foot “manor” lots, the largest available homesites in Wildlight’s Forest Park neighborhood.

“As a Northeast Florida builder, Riverside Homes understands the deep roots of Nassau County and its distinct character and culture that defines Florida Lowcountry,” said Chris Wood, vice president at Riverside Homes. “We are excited to work with Wildlight to bring these philosophies to life within the homes of Forest Park and look forward to creating a signature experience that exceeds the expectations of prospective homebuyers.”

Forest Park will join Wildlight’s first neighborhood, Founder’s Park, and offer close proximity to community amenities and businesses such as Wildlight Elementary School, the First Coast YMCA at Wildlight and Waterbug Park. Influenced by the surrounding natural landscape and nature trails, the architecture of the homes will embody a Florida Lowcountry and coastal luxe aesthetic. The homes will also feature family-friendly floor plans and outdoor living spaces, such as sweeping porches and large lanais, high-quality building materials and sustainable landscapes.

Additional construction plans and designs are forthcoming. Riverside Homes and Mattamy Homes are expected to begin construction on the model homes this summer with completion slated for fall.

About Wildlight

Wildlight is envisioned as a new town inspired by a character, culture and pattern of living that we call “Florida Lowcountry,” where play is a part of every day and the natural world is a natural part of life. The plan for Wildlight includes a mix of homes, townhomes and rental apartments together with shops and restaurants, a new elementary school and a system of trails and pathways intended to make it healthy and walkable and connect it all together. Our Phase 1 plan is flexible and currently designed for about 1,000 homes across about 260 acres plus nearly 350 acres of permanently preserved open space. Wildlight will offer comfortable and friendly Florida Lowcountry living 20 miles north of Jacksonville, just east of Interstate 95 on A1A, with easy access to both Amelia Island and the Jacksonville International Airport. Wildlight is being created by Raydient Places + Properties, a taxable subsidiary of Rayonier Inc., a real estate investment trust. For more information, please visit www.wildlight.com.

About Mattamy Homes
Mattamy Homes is the largest privately-owned homebuilder in North America, with more than 40 years of operations history across the United States and Canada. Every year, Mattamy helps more than 8,000 families realize their dream of home ownership. In the United States, the company is represented in 10 markets – Charlotte, Raleigh, Phoenix, Tucson, Jacksonville, Orlando (where its US head office is located), Tampa, Sarasota, Naples and Southeast Florida – and in Canada, its communities stretch across the Greater Toronto Area, as well as in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. Visit www.mattamyhomes.com for more information.

About Riverside Homes

Riverside Homes is a locally owned homebuilder that is committed to providing exceptional value, quality and innovative designs that homeowners are looking for. As an award-winning homebuilder, Riverside Homes was recently voted “Best of St. Augustine,” winner of “Best of Houzz” three years running and the recipient of many other awards and accolades. Riverside Homes is currently building in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, St. Johns and Fleming Island. For more information about Riverside Homes, call 904-530-4720 or visit www.MyRiversideHome.com.

These days, getting outdoors is a rare retreat, and hiking is a great way to enjoy the best of nature while getting some exercise in as well. You can take in the sights, discover local plants and animals, and soak up the sun. Plus, you’ll knock out your daily steps goal and get a healthy dose of cardio in for the day.

Wildlight is proud to announce its first set of hiking trails has opened, part of a larger plan for more than 10 miles of hiking throughout its community. With a variety of options including paved and natural paths, with routes of varying lengths, anyone can find the perfect route for an outdoor excursion. It’s one more way nature meets the neighborhood in this Floco community.

But wherever you hike, it’s important to be prepared to make sure you have a fun and safe experience on the trails. Here are a few tips for a healthy, happy hike:

  1. Think feet first. Get a comfortable pair of hiking boots or walking shoes. After a few miles, a little cushioning will make a world of difference.
  2. Stick to the trail. Unless you’re a seasoned outdoorsman or experienced with a map and compass, you don’t want to get lost. Maintained trails are the best way to know where you’re going.
  3. Consider a hiking backpack for small children. Young ones love to get outdoors, but may need to rest sooner than you’d like. A hiking backpack with a child seat avoids the issues of a stroller on the rough terrain, and protects your back by distributing the weight appropriately.
  4. Stay hydrated. Even a leisurely hike can use up your body’s water, so be sure to bring a bottle of water or other hydrating beverage to avoid cramps and heat afflictions.
  5. Plan to eat. In addition to hydrating, refueling is critical to finishing that hike without feeling miserable. If it’s an all-day hike, be sure to have a lunch that will provide some protein and carbohydrates to keep you going. For shorter hikes, snacks like nuts, trail mix or cereal bars will keep you going.
  6. Be a good trail neighbor. When you come upon other hikers, be courteous and make room for others to pass; it only takes a few seconds and makes everyone’s day easier.

Download Map

WILDLIGHT, FL. – June 4, 2020 – Today, Raydient Places + Properties announced the opening of a new, expansive recreational trails system in Wildlight. Spanning more than 10 miles, the system brings additional natural and healthy living amenities to the Nassau County community including pathways, parks and scenic observation sites. The network of trails will launch in two phases with the first phase currently open to residents and the general public.

“Wildlight was designed to set a new standard for well-being and healthy living by creating a closer relationship between community and the natural environment,” said Chris Corr, president of Raydient Places + Properties. “The extensive trails network brings together active lifestyles and outdoor recreation with the richness of Florida Lowcountry that is distinctly unique to Nassau County. As another wellness amenity, it furthers our vision to enhance walkability and the area’s quality of life through easily accessible outdoor and wellness resources.”

Beginning at the intersection of Wildlight Avenue and State Road 200, the trails system features various paved, gravel and natural routes that link neighborhoods, amenities, school systems, local businesses and shopping areas in Wildlight. The network’s first phase to open features more than six miles of trails across five different routes. The routes and loops range from less than a half-mile to nearly three miles in length and are designated on public lands maintained by the East Nassau Stewardship District. Once completed, the second phase of the system will bring more than four additional miles of trails to the community.

The expansive system’s curvilinear routes offer views of changing landscapes ranging from the surrounding Florida Lowcountry-inspired neighborhoods to natural wetlands. Its moderate terrain is ideal for all skill levels of walking, hiking and biking activities. Scenic overlooks for wildlife observation and picnic areas have also been created along the pathways to allow for moments to enjoy recreational activities and programming.

UF Health Jacksonville and White Oak strategically collaborated with the Wildlight development team to design the trails network, which also includes interpretive learning opportunities.

“We are proud to have collaborated with Wildlight on its new trails system,” said Brandy Carvalho, development & sustainability manager of White Oak. “The system will be a lasting legacy for the community and help further our conservation mission in Nassau County by educating the public about the compatibility of neighborhoods and nature. It also gives opportunities for those of all ages and interests to enjoy outdoor recreation amid wildlife in a natural environment.”

“The trails network is just one of the essential elements that Wildlight has established in order to create a health-conscious community focused on well-being,” said Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., MHSA, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and dean of the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “One of the intentional aspects of the network is its connection to the First Coast YMCA at Wildlight that is scheduled to open by the end of the year. We also plan to utilize the network as another way to promote our mission to make healthy living a top priority and easily accessible across all of Northeast Florida.”

About Wildlight

Wildlight is envisioned as a new town inspired by a character, culture and pattern of living that we call “Florida Lowcountry,” where play is a part of every day and the natural world is a natural part of life. The plan for Wildlight includes a mix of homes, townhomes and rental apartments together with shops and restaurants, a new elementary school and a system of trails and pathways intended to make it healthy and walkable and connect it all together. Our Phase 1 plan is flexible and currently designed for about 1,000 homes across about 260 acres plus nearly 350 acres of permanently preserved open space. Wildlight will offer comfortable and friendly Florida Lowcountry living 20 miles north of Jacksonville, just east of Interstate 95 on A1A, with easy access to both Amelia Island and the Jacksonville International Airport. Wildlight is being created by Raydient Places + Properties, a taxable subsidiary of Rayonier Inc., a real estate investment trust. For more information please visit Wildlight.com.

Memorial Day Weekend is usually a time to enjoy being with friends and family as we remember and honor our nation’s fallen heroes. If your annual traditions involve attending parades and family picnics or traveling long distances, you may be feeling down that COVID-19 has put a damper on this year’s plans. The good news is that you don’t have to stay stuck at home all weekend. Here are a few ways you can spend the weekend close to FLOCO while safely social distancing.

EXPLORING AT FORT CLINCH STATE PARK

Several state parks are now open for limited activities, so why not enjoy a day at one of our own local gems? Fort Clinch offers many things to do for nature and history lovers alike. Though all campsites appear to be booked for the holiday weekend, you can still enjoy hiking the Willow Pond Nature Trail, wildlife watching, shark tooth hunting on the beaches, and of course, checking out the incredible 19th century fort.

RELAXING ON FERNANDINA BEACH

The best reason to live on Florida’s First Coast is our beautiful beaches. Thankfully, Fernandina Beach is open from 6am-9pm with parking available in select areas. Many Fernandina Beach restaurants are open for takeout so you can grab lunch at one of many great places on your way to or from the beach. Check out the list of open restaurants here.

Though there won’t be a parade this year, The Marine Corp League will be hosting a Memorial Day ceremony at Fernandina Beach’s Veteran’s Memorial Monument at 11:00am on Monday. Visitors are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing.

SOAKING UP HISTORY IN ST. AUGUSTINE

America’s oldest city is just an hour south of FLOCO and well worth the trip! Although the historic Castillo de San Marcos is still closed, there are plenty of other ways to spend a day in beautiful St. Augustine. Many tour companies and museums are open with social distancing protocols in place, including Ancient City Tours, The Lightner Museum, Old Town Trolley and many more. You can find a full list of open attractions, shops and restaurants here.

SHOPPING AT ST. JOHNS TOWN CENTER

If you need to stock up on summer wardrobe staples, browse new home décor or upgrade your phone, many stores at St. Johns Town Center are open. Take advantage of special Memorial Day weekend deals and enjoy curbside pick-up from select dining spots. Visit the store directory to check the status of your favorite shops and restaurants.

However you decide to spend your time right here in Northeast Florida, we hope you have a great weekend and stay safe!

The Floco Festival is coming soon — and we’re thrilled to welcome Florida’s own Sister Hazel to headline the musical festivities. Florida has a rich history with music — relaxing, getting in the groove, and lowcountry living is the perfect inspiration for great music. Here are five bands you may not realize are from Florida.

Sister Hazel
This one’s a bit of a giveaway, since we just mentioned they’re headlining our Floco Festival this year. The band blends southern rock (more on that shortly), folk rock, classic rock and a time-honored but maybe little-known treble guitar style called jangle pop*. In doing so, they captured the sound of the 90s with Billboard hit “All For You.”

Tom Petty
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Tom Petty also hails from Gainesville, Florida, where he was born and raised before he became the front man for Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers. Petty actually started his musical career in Gainesville in a band called the Epics with several future Heartbreakers. They didn’t break the Top 40 until their second album, but hit platinum with their third, Damn the Torpedoes, which featured three of their most popular singles: “Don’t Do Me Like That”, “Here Comes My Girl” and “Refugee”.

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Synonymous with southern rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd was actually one of a few bands to emerge from the Jacksonville area’s lively music scene. Famous for hits like “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama”, the band came up in the same region as the Allman Brothers Band and Molly Hatchet, bringing a country sensibility to rock ‘n’ roll culture.

*NSYNC/Backstreet Boys
It may be a hot take to group these two together, but it was also impossible to list one without the other. At the height of the teen pop craze, the only true rivals in the boy band music scene were *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, with a crowd of imitators in their wake. Mixing R&B, dance pop and hip hop, both bands topped the charts with hits like “I Want It That Way” and “Bye Bye Bye.”

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jangle

The New Year is a perfect time for big plans, living better and a happier you. Even little changes in your activities and your perspective can make a major difference in the coming months. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that Wildlight was built around, and wherever you are in 2020, we’ve got a few ideas for resolutions to make the year ahead a great one.

Spend More Time Outdoors
The outdoors rejuvenate the soul. The fresh air and open spaces let you breathe, relax or just have some fun. Whether it’s hiking a nature trail, visiting the local park or a fun-filled day at the community pool, it makes an impact on your mood and well-being. So, carve out some time to escape those four walls and enjoy what outside has to offer.

Make New Friends
New faces. New ideas. Meeting new people is the best! A friendly wave and “hello” is an easy start and might just kick of a great conversation or a lifelong friendship. So, if you’re sitting on your front porch and see a new passerby, why not say hello? Or if you’re at the store, at a party or just out and about, make a point to meet and greet new people, and you never know who you might find!

Get More Exercise
This is kind of a classic, but working out more never hurts, and there are great ways to make it fun. Walk with a friend, join a biking group or get out on the water for some kayaking or paddle boarding. Think of it less like a workout and more like playing with health benefits. Before long, you’ll wonder why exercise wasn’t a regular part of your routine.

Play More and Stress Less
Speaking of playing, having fun in 2020 is a great way to reduce stress. From the workplace, home, finances and other sources, stress affects all of us to some extent, and too much can have serious health consequences. So be sure to schedule some downtime this year. Go out with friends, take yourself on a shopping spree downtown, or find a new event or class to try out. A community like Wildlight is built for residents to live and play, but you can make your own fun anywhere. And in doing so, you’ll be making an even better 2020.

Happy New Year!