Of all of Florida’s major cities, Jacksonville has struggled the most to recover from the economic recession of the mid-2000s. But now a surge in new development, rise in population and consecutive quarters of growth have led to an occupancy rate of 92.1%, which has breathed new life into Jacksonville’s retail market. This shift in dynamics means that Jacksonville is enthusiastically bouncing back to pre-recession levels.
A Healthy, Balanced Market
Jacksonville is currently experiencing a healthy market with a balance in rent and occupancy – and there is room to run. A major driver of this growth is the St. John’s Town Center, the most successful retail project within several hundred miles in any direction.
The shopping center has had a transformative effect on the Northeast Florida market over the last
decade. After being essentially unaffected by the recession, it benefited from the country’s economic growth that followed. As St. John’s continues to fuel Jacksonville’s retail market, the growth is starting to expand out to the city’s other sub-markets.
Population Changing Retail Appeal
Much of Jacksonville’s retail growth can be attributed to the growing and changing population. Between 2009 and 2014, the number of Northeast Florida residents in their 20s increased by 5%, according to the Coastal.
Forbes recently ranked Jacksonville as the second most popular city in the country that Americans are moving to. This influx is changing the city’s retail appeal. What was once a market characterized by big box stores and fast food chains, is now attracting boutique retail and high-end dining tenants.
These new investments in high quality and unique dining experiences are right in line with the country’s spending habits. Today’s restaurant sector is a dominate force, with consumers spending more money than ever dining out.
Room to Run
With a number of projects in development in the San Marco and Southbank neighborhoods capturing the new population’s demands, the rebound is continuing its upward trend. It is likely that more mixed-use, retail projects will begin springing up around Jacksonville as the city continues to experience some of the strongest market fundamentals in the country.
Additionally, St. John’s County has continued to see booming housing growth. That growth is now reaching the critical mass necessary to drive new retail development that goes beyond grocery, restaurant and service, and should bring the higher quality retailers that the residents in the area are clamoring for. The outlook is bright for Jacksonville.
About the Author
Justin Greider is Vice President, Florida Retail Lead of JLL; he is primarily responsible for overseeing the agency leasing portfolio and representing tenants for JLL’s retail clients throughout the state of Florida. Contact Justin.