Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Tract, 5,460 Acres, Is Sold to Gate; A Portion of the Northern County Land Is Headed for Development; 3,570 Acres Re-Sold

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Tract, 5,460 Acres, Is Sold to Gate; A Portion of the Northern County Land Is Headed for Development; 3,570 Acres Re-Sold

Article excerpt

Byline: TIMOTHY J. GIBBONS, The Times-Union

Gate Petroleum Co. completed its purchase of 5,460 acres of land in St. Johns County, the company said Saturday, and then immediately sold more than half the parcel to a Coral Springs-based development company.

The approximately 3,570 acres sold to the Falcon Group can be used for residential, commercial, industrial and retail buildings, with space for about 5,500 residential units and 2 million square feet of business space.

"It will eventually be used for all purposes where you can work and play," said Art Falcone, chief executive officer and president of the family-owned business.

The Falcon Group has residential projects of up to 3,000 units throughout the state, the company president said, and has been looking for land in the Jacksonville area for about five years. "We've been looking for an opportunity that's large enough for us to create a destination place," he said.

The group also has four smaller projects under contract in Jacksonville, but none of those deals have been finalized yet, Falcone said.

On Friday, Gate Petroleum purchased the property from the Cummer Land Trust, which retains about 1,000 acres in St. Johns, as well as land elsewhere in North Florida. All parties involved in the various transactions declined to discuss the price any of the land was sold for.

The purchase was the second phase of the trust disposing of most of its land in the county, with the first phase having been the sale of land -- that won't be developed -- to the state water management district, according to the trust's real estate representative.

The transaction allows the Cummer Trust to get rid of a large chunk of its holdings, gives Gate an opportunity to replenish its supply of undeveloped land and gives the county a chance to retain some of its workforce that heads to Jacksonville each day.

"It's really a win-win for St. Johns County," said Jim Davidson, whose company, Davidson Realty, brokered the deal for the trust. "The county was adamant that a major part of that property would have intensive commercial development. …

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