The St. Joe Company Uniquely Positioned to Execute ``New Ruralism'' Strategy Designed to Position Inland Land for Higher and Better Uses; JOE Outlines New Development Concept for Rural Land.
While sharing key principles with New Urbanism, New Ruralism is focused on reestablishing connections with the land that once was at the heart of America's farms, ranches and rural communities. Rummell described New Ruralism as a value creation strategy applicable to potentially tens of thousands of JOE's inland acres that is designed to position them for higher and better uses.
"We believe JOE is uniquely positioned to implement both New Ruralism and New Urbanism strategies on a large scale," said Rummell. "With approximately 850,000 acres concentrated primarily in Northwest Florida, JOE is one of few developers with well-placed land resources suitable for a broad application of both approaches.
While New Urbanism principles have currently been applied primarily to projects on the 340,000 acres JOE owns within the ten-mile coastal zone, New Ruralism products introduce a line of land offerings ideally suited for our large inland acreage holdings, as well as in select near-coastal locations. JOE has also assembled the broad mix of management skills, ranging from land planners and construction managers to foresters and wildlife biologists, required to implement New Ruralism strategies."
Products developed under the New Urbanism and New Ruralism philosophies are targeted to satisfy the desires of two distinctly different niche markets. While they have common defining characteristics shared by all great places created by JOE, including an emphasis on clear boundaries, authenticity and environmental stewardship, two key differences, beyond setting, distinguish places created under the two strategies.
New Urbanism promotes community through planning that mandates the interaction of neighbors designed to recapture the sense of community that was once the defining characteristic of American small town life. The small home sites and close proximity of homes stimulate a sense of community. In a New Ruralism setting, participation in community activities is more by choice with privacy options carefully preserved. Larger home sites, often separated by nature preserves or agricultural land, provide a buffer between neighbors. Here the front porch is a place to scan the vastness of your domain. The collection of multiple RiverCamps, farms or ranches provides an opportunity for community of like-minded neighbors, but only as desired.
Day-to-day experiences contrast as well. New Urbanism development stresses community connections as one might find in small-town America, while New Ruralism development stresses connections with nature and the land found in rural America. Experiences in the New Urbanism setting are based on planned connections within the community. In contrast, New Ruralism provides a setting where experiences are directly linked to the rhythms of nature: rise with the sun, fish with the tides, and rest with the moon.
"JOE's New Ruralism products are for people seeking a simpler life from a simpler time and wanting to reconnect with the land without the need to make a living from it," said Rummell. "Technology provides a way to reconnect with the world, but at a safe distance."
Currently, JOE is creating and bringing to market three New Ruralism real estate products - RiverCamps, WhiteFence Farms and Florida Ranches - to provide a way for people to reconnect with nature and the land.
JOE's RiverCamps are planned settlements in rustic settings, offering personal retreats in private preserves. RiverCamps' low-density home sites are sold fee-simple and are surrounded by a large common area preserved for conservation. Two RiverCamps locations are currently being developed with other potential RiverCamps locations in Northwest Florida being evaluated.
RiverCamps on Crooked Creek
JOE's first RiverCamps site is located near one of Northwest Florida's most beautiful bay systems. The site provides boating and fishing with water access to St. Andrews Bay and its creeks, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. Plans call for the sale of home sites and homes. A full menu of owner services, with emphasis on outdoor recreation, is now being developed.
RiverCamps on Crooked Creek, located in Western Bay County, is entitled for up to 450 home sites on approximately 1,500 acres of former timberland and features views of West Bay, the Intracoastal Waterway and Crooked Creek.
"We have seen strong demand and pricing at RiverCamps on Crooked Creek," said Rummell. Home site prices for the most recent release averaged $342,900 and ranged from $174,500 for an interior site to $1 million for a bay-front site.
An increasing number of RiverCamps buyers are coming from outside the local market. Buyers from beyond a 120-mile radius of RiverCamps on Crooked Creek increased from 48 percent for RiverCamps' first release in 2003 to 60 percent for the second release in 2004, and to 70 percent for the third release in the first quarter of 2005.
RiverCamps on Sandy Creek
RiverCamps on Sandy Creek features views of Sandy Creek and Little Sandy Creek and access to East Bay in eastern Bay County. Pending the receipt of land-use approvals and environmental permits, sales are planned for RiverCamps on Sandy Creek in 2006 or 2007.
JOE's WhiteFence Farms, formerly called farmsteads, are large home sites with room for a variety of outdoor activities. To be developed in a number of locations in Northwest Florida, WhiteFence Farms are being designed to feel 'old farm and equestrian.' Each farm site includes a home site for a main farmhouse along with sites for other optional buildings such as barns, guest houses and stables.
Predevelopment planning started in the first quarter of 2005 at the first location near Tallahassee. It is expected to total approximately 1,000 acres with each individual farm site consisting of 5 to 20 acres. Initial pricing is now expected to range from $20,000 to $75,000 per acre for a typical farm site. Sales of WhiteFence Farms are expected to begin in 2006.
Predevelopment planning started in early 2005 on the initial Florida Ranch properties in several locations in Northwest Florida. Florida Ranches are expected to consist of 50 to 150-acre sites located within a 1,000 to 3,000-acre community. Florida Ranches are being designed primarily as second-homes for outdoor enthusiasts.
Florida Ranches are being planned to offer a wide range of recreational opportunities, with some shared sporting areas. Many may be on or near rivers and land suited for wildlife habitation. Improvements include clearing, fencing, road stabilization and entry features.
Initial pricing for Florida Ranch parcels is expected to range from $4,500 to $10,000 per acre, and sales are expected to begin in 2006.
The St. Joe Company, a publicly held company based in Jacksonville, is one of Florida's largest real estate operating companies. It is engaged in town, resort, commercial and industrial development, land sales and commercial real estate services. JOE also has significant interests in timber.
More information about JOE and our approach to New Ruralism can be found at our web site at http://www.joe.com.
Statements in this press release that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty, and there can be no assurance that the results described in such statements will be realized. Such statements are based on current expectations and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or reissue any forward-looking statements. Risk factors that may cause our actual results to differ are described in various documents we file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2004.
Copyright 2005, The St. Joe Company. "JOE," "RiverCamps," "St. Joe," "WhiteFence Farms," and the "taking flight" design are service marks of The St. Joe Company.
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|Date:||Jun 6, 2005|
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