Pier and sunset in St. Augustine, Florida

Greenbriar Downs will put active adults near historic St. Augustine.

The Jacksonville real estate market continues to grow, with a proposed age-restricted community in St. Johns, Florida getting closer to the approvals necessary to begin building. Greenbriar Downs will include a 55+ community built by Lennar Homes, and it will be located less than half an hour from Jacksonville.

Planning Greenbriar Downs

The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners recently approved rezoning the 784 acres of land at County Road 210 West to be used for mixed-use development and to house the residential community that will provide 818 single-family and attached properties.  

Plan were initially introduced for residential development in 2016, and were not approved due to concerns about school capacity and the impact on local roads. The fact that Greenbriar Downs will be a community for active adults means schools will not have to worry about taking in new students, and developers will preserve 356 acres of wetlands and donate a vacant 6-acre section of land for public use.

The community is set to be developed over 20 years, and according to its rezoning application, will “help residents lead an active lifestyle after retirement and allow older adults to remain autonomous by offering specific amenities such as structured activities, socialization, and a sense of community.”

In addition to the residential units, developers are planning to create an 18-hole golf course, install recreational amenities, and set aside up to 160,000 square feet of commercial space within the neighborhood. Presumably, the commercial space will include grocery stores, restaurants, and other major retailers that will provide convenience and shopping opportunities to residents.

Amenities are likely to include a clubhouse and fitness center, pool, and indoor and outdoor spaces to help residents stay active and social. A homeowners' association will be available to assist with communal areas, maintenance, and recreation. Assuming two residents per property, the expected population at Greenbriar Downs once it hits capacity is around 1,636.

The land is found east of the planned extension to Veterans Parkway, between Longleaf Pine Parkway and Greenbriar Road. It’s currently zoned as open rural space.

Attracting Active Adults to St. Johns, Florida

Greenbriar Downs hopes to attract people from all over the country considering a Florida retirement. The area is more affordable than other retirement-rich destinations like Miami, Tampa, and Atlantic Coast markets. St. Johns is ideally located south of Jacksonville and close to St. Augustine. The region provides endless opportunities for 55+ buyers who hope to keep busy with golf, sports, beach activities, nature, and other types of recreation.

Golfing in the area includes the St. Johns Golf and Country Club in St. Augustine, as well as The Golf Club at South Hampton and World Golf Village, where players can also visit the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Residents will also be able to enjoy Jacksonville’s beaches, which provide opportunities for sunbathing, surfing, fishing, boating, and watching dolphins. Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Ponte Vedra Beach each have their own unique feel, and for something natural and windswept, Big Talbot Island is a special part of the Atlantic where visitors are treated to serenity, tons of birds, and the remains of cedar and oak trees covered in salt and seashells.

St. Johns is an ideal place for nature lovers. Hiking is impressive at Gourd Island and biking and wildlife viewing is also pretty great at Twelve Mile Swamp Conservation Area, were wildflowers come alive in the springtime. The St. Johns River is to the west, and flows north. Anglers will enjoy fishing on the banks of the river, and there are also ample opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and sunset cruises.

Communities Near St. Johns, Florida

Greenbriar Downs will be constructed in two 10-year phases. For 55+ buyers eager to find Florida homes for sale in the area right now, there are a lot of options.

Del Webb Ponte Vedra has new and resale single-family homes and condos, and Freedom at Azalea Ridge is right across the river, in Middleburg. WaterSong at RiverTown is nearing completion in St. Johns, and there are dozens of other active adult communities in the Jacksonville area as well as around St. Augustine.

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