Gulf County....with our beautiful sugar white beaches, marshes full of wildlife and our basic raw beauty, this is truly a one-of-a-kind place.   The opportunity to become a part of this special place is now.  To quote one of our local establishments, Indian Pass Raw Bar, "Throw  open the car door and kiss the ground.  You are here." 

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~NEW UPDATE coming soon!~ 

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Development

Port St. Joe is old Florida at its best.  However, the face of the town, located on what has been called Florida's Forgotten Coast, is about to change dramatically.  In the next five years, the plan is to have this sleepy coastal community evolve into a thriving waterfront village.

Port St. Joe, in Gulf County, has long been the emotional heart of The St. Joe Company (www.joe.com) and it is the community from which JOE takes its name.  For decades, the town and its paper mill were the foundation of the company's timber and paper business.  But now, Port St. Joe is transforming itself into one of the most unforgettable places in Florida.  (Source:  The St. Joe Company 2005 Annual Report, NYSE: JOE)

WINDMARK BEACH.  WindMark  Beach is a 2000 acre high-end resort coastal community being developed by the St. Joe Company.  At build out, it will hold 1,662 homes, with over 1,000 acres dedicated to open spaces, parks, natural preserves and conservation.   Plans include over 17 miles of interlinking boardwalks leading to a 5-mile waterfront beachwalk, an uninterrupted pedestrian path along a beautiful stretch of natural Florida coastline.  This extensive boardwalk and beachfront trail system will link WindMark Beach's neighborhoods with St. Joseph's Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  Home to the 2006 Southern Accents Showhouse, WindMark Beach is emerging as the premiere coastal development for the St. Joe Company.  Touring of the Showhouse ran from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2006, with thousands of visitors flocking to the area.  The "Village Center" in WindMark Beach opened in June 2008.  Retail shops include a fitness center, meeting hall, and trendy clothing shop.  Events are scheduled throughout the year, including art events, music festivals and movies on the green.  Accomodations include 1- , 2- or 3-bedroom townhome units located above the Village Center shops - if you are looking to possibly buy in WindMark, email me at sburke@burkeco.net for more details.

OVATION ON CAPE SAN BLAS.  Ashwood Development Company (www.ashwooddevelopment.com), based out of Atlanta, Georgia, has made a significant presence in the development of Cape San Blas.  Their first Cape development, Jubilation on Cape San Blas, was nothing short of fabulous, only to be trumped by their next creation, Ovation on Cape San Blas.  Spanning both the Gulf and Bay sides of this magnificent coastline, Ovation on Cape San Blas abounds with the signature characteristics of Ashwood:  natural, undisturbed vegetation, beautiful wildlife, and isolated land where communities are rarely built.  Community amenities include Gulf and Bay Clubs with swimming pools, tennis courts, fishing piers and docks, expansive bayside park, and access to the limitless possibilities of the Gulf and Bay waters.  Future plans include over 19,000 square feet of commercial space with a restaurant and market.  Ovation has quickly become the premiere development on Cape San Blas.  Developer-released  homesites start in the $50k's with magnificent Gulf to Bay views, Gulf Front and Bay Front.

DOWNTOWN PORT ST. JOE.  The historic downtown shopping district is where visitors to the area are encouraged to explore and discover the quaintness of the Port St. Joe community.  Most downtown shops and restaurants are run by locals who have been described as "the friendliest people you will ever meet".  For the individual who is searching for the right opportunity to leave the "concrete jungle" behind to re-invent their life, the opportunities are endless in our neck of the woods.

Nestled on St. Joseph's Bay at the heart of Port St. Joe is the old paper mill site.  Future plans are to redevelop this land into a vibrant waterfront downtown that is visioned to include retail and residential development, an entertainment district, public spaces, a 150-room hotel and a marina.  Plans for offices and shops will one day integrate the town's historic district and capture the spirit of this special place that has drawn families and visitors to the area for nearly 50 years.

Panama City-Bay County Airport

Service to the new Panama City-Bay County International Airport, officially named the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, began May 23, 2010.  Southwest Airlines now has direct flight service to four destination cities to and from Panama City.  The four cities are:  Houston, Texas;  Nashville, Tennessee;  Baltimore, Maryland;  and Orlando, Florida.  Southwest has eight daily non-stop flights to these four "gateway" cities, which amounts to at least 525 inbound seats daily to our area. 

This close proximity to Port St. Joe will eventually change our demographics from a regional market to a global market.  This airport relocation represents an opportunity truly unique in North America as we anticipate the enormous growth of the area that this will inevitably bring. 

Frommer's Travel Guide, one of the best-selling travel guides in the world with more than 75 million books sold,  named the Florida Panhandle beaches as one of its top 12 travel destinations for 2010.  Other areas that made Frommer's list are Tunisia in North Africa; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Melbourne, Australia. The only other American locale that made the list was Hawaii's Big Island.

CNN has named Panama City, just 40 miles due west of Port St. Joe, as the #1 top market for real estate growth over the next five years with an anticipated 72% increase in property values.  This growth is expected to sprawl the coast into our area as well.

Port Authority

The Port Authority is pursuing environmental permitting for its proposed port development.  Located just north of the old mill site along St. Joseph's Bay, this port will be one of just 14 deepwater ports in the State of Florida.  It will be a significant boost for local economic development and the creation of many jobs for the area.  The Port Authority envisions an operational port that will create 334 direct jobs in the county and 336 in the extended region during construction. Other employment related to port construction would add 615 jobs in the region.  After construction, 26 direct permanent jobs in the county and 40 more private sector jobs in the region would be the result of an operational port.  As for the industrial park, the location of which is no accident given the proximity to the port, construction could mean 1,635 direct jobs and 2,748 related jobs in the region.  The private sector businesses at the park once construction is completed are expected to create 82 direct permanent jobs and another 137 jobs in the region.  These would be jobs paying more than $37,300 annually, or roughly $7,000 above the county’s average annual salary.  The ripple effect from an operational port in Port St. Joe will enhance the economic prospects for the entire Northwest Florida region.

Sacred Heart Hospital

Sacred Heart Health System's new full-service 49,000 SF hospital in Gulf County is now open.  This state of the art hospital features 19 private inpatient rooms, a 24-hour emergency department, surgical services, a full complement of diagnostic and laboratory services, and a helipad to be used by Sacred Heart's regional air ambulance service to provide rapid transport for trauma or critically ill patients.  A 20,000 SF medical office building adjacent to the hospital provides physician offices, physical rehabilitation, as well as dialysis and diagnostic services.

Sacred Heart on the Gulf has created approximately 160 new jobs for our area.  Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast, located in Destin, was founded in 2002 with 140 employees. Within seven years, that number rose to 540.  Similar growth is predicted for the Gulf County hospital located on Highway 98 in Port St. Joe.  We are very encouraged that Gulf County and Sacred Heart moved forward quicker than we ever dreamed to provide access to high quality, compassionate healthcare to residents and visitors of Port St. Joe and surrounding communities.

Market Trends

Rapid Growth:  Florida is one of the nation's fastest growing states, gaining more than 1,100 new residents each day.  (Source:  U.S. Census Bureau).  Florida's population is expected to increase by 11 million by 2030.

Changing Demographics:  Florida has more than 700,000 temporary residents who spend more than 30 days in the state each year.  Their average stay is approximately three months.  (Source:  Bureau of Economic Business Research, University of Florida)

Rising Values:  The value of rural and agricultural land in Florida is increasing dramatically, driven primarily by demand for non-agricultural uses. (Source:  Florida Land Survey, University of Florida, 2005). 


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