As northern St. Johns County continues to be developed, various master-planned communities have popped up with different niches in mind.
Located off of CR-210 near Shands Bridge, Freehold Communities’ Shearwater seems to have it all – and may very well be positioning itself as the community of the future in St. Johns.
The community opened in 2016 and is still being built out, with over 1,500 acres of land and over 2,500 houses expected by the time it’s fully realized. And its positioning near a major future roadway will keep it relevant for years to come.
Here’s a look at what makes Shearwater special.
LIVING WITHIN NATURE
One of the biggest trends in large-scale development around Northeast Florida is the incorporation of green space and an emphasis on nature. Often, these developments take root on former timberlands, so much of the existing wetlands and wooded areas can be easily incorporated into the project.
At Shearwater, senior project manager Mike McCollum and his team have taken ultimate advantage of those existing wetlands. The community’s many subdivisions are connected by a lengthy multi-use trail, allowing travel through the community (and to the nearby elementary school) by foot, bike, or even golf cart. The trails continue through the wetlands, allowing for scenic walks (or rides) in nature.
Once completely developed, the trail will span 15 miles.
The community’s subdivisions feature ample foliage, and its cul-de-sacs end in trail-heads, lakefront views, wetlands – just about anything but houses. It’s a design element McCollum emphasizes as critical to adding a sense of openness and flow within subdivisions that can often feel cramped and isolated.
A kayak launch is under development as well to take advantage of the nearby Trout Creek.
NEXT-LEVEL, FAMILY-GEARED AMENITIES
Shearwater has also managed to keep pace in the ongoing amenities war among St. Johns County developments.
At its Kayak Club, it offers two pools – one for swimming laps, and another resort-style one for leisure, both flanked with a surplus of lounge seating. If you’d rather let the water do the work for you, there’s also the Lazy Bird River – Northeast Florida’s longest lazy river. A giant open lawn provides space for fun outdoor events like Pups and Pints. Outdoor grill space and a fire pit round out the outdoor features.
Inside the clubhouse, residents can hang out at The Hub, a grab-n-go café, or attend and host events in a massive event room that features retractable windows. Community events are programmed actively by an on-site lifestyle director, whose office is also inside the clubhouse.
The fitness center features Wellbeats, a high-tech virtual fitness class system that lets you play a selection of fitness videos on a large-screen TV in the group fitness room. It also leads out into an outdoor meditation ground, looking out over four Har-Tru clay tennis courts.
There’s a clear emphasis on family-friendliness at Shearwater as well. There are multiple play areas, built with state-of-the-art material, as well as a play area within the fitness center. And the Kayak Club’s three-story water slide tower should keep the kids entertained anytime.
For the four-legged family members, two different dog parks are set to open later this year – one for small dogs, and one for bigger ones.
HOMES OF THE FUTURE
Shearwater currently features a roster of seven home builders, including David Weekley Homes, Richmond American Homes, Lennar, MasterCraft Builder Group, D.S. Ware Homes, Drees Homes, and Dream Finders Homes. There’s a variety of lot sizes available, and there’s even a gated portion of the community with larger lots available for those seeking added privacy.
While all the homes are beautiful, Lennar’s offerings stand out as unique for their “smart home” elements.
At Shearwater, Lennar is pioneering a Connected Home design that emphasizes Wi-Fi signal strength and home automation. Each smart home is constructed with a smart lock, a Ring video doorbell, a wireless router, two in-wall dimmers, a Honeywell smart thermometer, a media enclosure, and an occupancy sensor. Then, an Amazon technician comes in once you move in to activate your smart home features, adding a Samsung SmartThings hub and an Amazon Echo device as well.
The goal is to allow you to control many different facets of your home by using Alexa. After the initial activation, any Alexa-friendly smart home devices can be easily added into the smart home infrastructure. It also allows you to monitor your home remotely, providing extra security.
The Lennar Connected Home options range from the high $200,000s to the mid $300,000s.
It’s not quite The Jetsons, but we’re getting pretty close.
LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
Last but not least, it’s important to acknowledge the area in which Shearwater is being developed.
The project’s current phase of development places it along CR-210, across from the site of a planned shopping center development. It’s also a relatively short drive away from the future site of Durbin Park.
And once later phases are developed, Shearwater’s southernmost point will be right near a future branch of the First Coast Expressway which is set to replace Shands Bridge in the mid 2020s.
As St. Johns keeps growing, Shearwater is in prime position to thrive for years to come.
To learn more about Shearwater and its home options, visit their official website.