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movingdown Nov 22nd, 2004 07:34 AM

Jacksonville Neighborhoods
I did a search on Jacksonville and posts regarding relocation but it was almost inbformation overload. I am considering moving down and would love some help regarding good places (areas and even specific subdivisions). I am married in early 30s. Like to have access to good social scene (Landings) and the beach. Would be looking to buy a house in the $250k range. Also, a good public school district would be of consideration. Thanks as I am really struggling and want to get going ASAP!

Meredith Nov 22nd, 2004 08:22 AM

I think you would find that the Landing, and in fact all of downtown, doesn't provide much of a social scene - at least, not yet. The city has been focusing on redeveloping downtown for a few years now. I'd say it's gotten a lot better, but it's still not the social scene you would find in other big cities.

I personally think the best social scenes are in San Marco (which is actually very close to downtown - just across the river), Riverside and the Beaches. (There are three beach towns - Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach. Of the three, Neptune Beach is my favorite - but I am biased, as we used to live there! You could also venture into Ponte Vedra Beach, just south of Jax Beach in St. Johns County, although I believe the cost of living is higher in St. Johns County than Duval County.)

San Marco and Riverside are great neighborhoods, but they are about 20 to 30 minutes away from the beach.

As for housing in the $250K range, I think you could find that in Riverside or Jax Beach, whereas San Marco and the other beach towns might exceed your range. There are also about a zillion subdivisions in between - I can't really comment on any specific subdivisions, but as far as I know, the housing market in Jacksonville is still pretty affordable compared to other cities.

Hope I didn't confuse you even more... Good luck!

Marci_77 Nov 22nd, 2004 01:41 PM

I think Meredith gave you pretty good advice. I would also add Avondale as a nice upscale neighborhood. San Marco, Avondale, Riverside are all historic neighborhoods/areas of town that all include shopping and offices as well as lovely homes--not so much subdivisions.

The "north" and "west" sides of the city seem to be the less desirable areas to live. Most of the new growth is heading towards St. John's county to the south.

If you will be driving to work, you may want to consider renting a place for a few months while you get everything figured out. Friends of mine just bought on the southside of Jax and will now have a commute of over an hour.

Scarlett Nov 22nd, 2004 03:34 PM

Yes, rent first! We bought our house here after seeing it once, after being in Jax for a weekend. It is such a large city - spread out -that you need to be here a while to get a feeling for where you would like to be.
We were just lucky, we live off of San Jose, near San Marco.
We are actually looking at houses and neighborhoods now-
I agree with San Marco, Avondale and Riverside. Ponte Vedra is good if you want to live near the beach but pay a premium price for a tiny nothing house- We are looking in San Marco and Avondale..both have very nice, old traditional homes for sale in the high 5's and up. The closer you are to the River, the higher the cost of housing.
We are 5 blocks from the river.
There are multitudes of new developments going up with big brand new houses in the 250 really need to start looking at the MLS listings. Contact a realtor in Jax that can send you listings by email.
Downtown is nothing. Looks good, but there is nothing there aside from the Landing and where the ballets and symphony perform..Jax is still a long way from having any sort of downtown place to go to eat, be entertained.
You sort of make your own social scene here.
There are some very good restaurants here.
Whatever you do here, you have to drive.
Best schools right now are the Mandarin schools (so they say) and some of the "satellite" schools that are public but the student must have perfect grades to go there..they have Music and Dance, etc.
From our house to Ponte Vedra is 20-30 minutes..not a big deal.
Come down and spend a week with a realtor and just look at houses as much as possible.
Look at Amelia Island and Fernandina too, we did that first :)
Email me if I can help any further..

Meredith, you live here in Jax now?

movingdown Nov 23rd, 2004 05:58 AM

Thanks very much. I am starting to narrow it down a bit. We do plan on coming down in mid January and looking around.

We live on Long Island now and one of our favorite thiungs to do i ride our bikes to the beach and along the boardwalk in our town. Is this a possibility in Jax or are the beach areas not really set up for that? What about along the River? Could we bike there?

Thanks again. I am liking the idea of Jax more and more.

Meredith Nov 23rd, 2004 08:03 AM

Hi, Scarlett! No, I don't live in Jax anymore, but I did live there from 1992 until this past January, when my husband and I relocated to Atlanta. My parents are still in Jax, as are many of our friends. We lived in the Hodges Blvd. area for several years, and most recently we lived in a great little apartment across the street from the ocean in Neptune Beach. Also, I worked for the City of Jacksonville for several years, so I feel pretty in tune with the local government. Oh, and I got married on the veranda of the Sea Turtle Inn in Atlantic Beach!

Movingdown, to answer your bike questions, yes, you can ride bikes on the beach. The sand is pretty hard-packed, so a lot of people ride up and down the beach. Also, there is a short boardwalk (maybe six blocks long or so) in Jax Beach. And along both banks of the river downtown is the Riverwalk - they are continuously expanding it, so I'm not sure how long it is now.

Scarlett Nov 23rd, 2004 08:11 AM

Ha! Meredith, you left when we arrived! :)
What a beautiful place to be married! We wanted to stay there when we first came down but there were no rooms available.
Wouldn't you say that along the Riverwalk downtown is a good place for bikes and runners?
We take Pup, the water taxi captain lets him ride across with us :) and we do our run/walk on both sides of the river~
I wanted a house in Neptune but it would have required pretty much a gut and redo and we had no energy for that..
we moved here from NY, the beaches are not the same, nothing is the same:) but it is very nice..
You should try to stay at the Adams Mark hotel, it is a good spot to go from to all the neighborhoods.
If we were to live at the beach, I would go towards Ponte Vedra and south. We were there yesterday and I love the atmosphere, it just takes a while to find something that is both charming/good shape and under $800k :)

benj Nov 23rd, 2004 09:46 AM

I think you will enjoy Jax. My brother lives at Jax Beach & his mother-in-law is at Ponte Vedra. She has a condo there & loves it. We used to live in the Arlington area in Cove St John's. My grandmother was the original owner of the land that they developed into the subdivision. Several houses are right on the river even though they are a bit older. I think the old family cemetery is still part of the development.

Isn't the Super Bowl in Jax this year?

GoTravel Nov 23rd, 2004 09:51 AM

As a visitor, I like Ponte Vedre Beach. I know that doesn't really help you but it is a beautiful area.

JackOneill Nov 23rd, 2004 10:44 AM

nicest neighborhood in Jax= Ortega. On the river, very old houses, tree lined streets. Great place.

At the beach, check out the old Seminole Beach area.

Ponte Vedra is over-rated and over-priced and over-built. Although the beach is different.

These are merely my opinions.

sunlover Jan 11th, 2005 03:54 PM

I moved to Jax 2 1/2 years ago and agree that renting first is best. I took out a one year lease and ended up living in my apatment for 6 months to get acclimated and then bought a home. I am ealry 30s married no kids yet but soon so in a similar situation to you. AS someone earlier said traffic anad commute time are issues and I suggest not living extrmely far from where you work. I love the beach area as others do but woudl never live there because I work downtown and hte commute would be a hour each way which is not my cup of tea. Personally I live just south of Butler Boulevard (JTB) in the Gate Parkway area close to University of North Florida. I tis a nice new growth area and homes in my subdivision (James Island) are in the $300 range ther surrounding subdivisions ranges from the low 200s to 500. Twin Lakes Elementary and Middle school are right down the street and are considered the best ealry education schools in the county. You get quite a bit of house for the money here with home sizes around 2200 square ft in this area and the commute to downtown is approx 30 min each way (halfway between downtown and the beach on Butler which is a major east west artery). I love Avondale Ortega and Riverside as well with older homes but you get much less house for the same money there and the scholls are not as good in that area. Neither is that area close to malls or shopping. With the addition of the new mall ST. John Town Center opening 1 mile away from me, I have 3 malls and tons of shopping restaruants within 10 to 15 min drive.

sunlover Jan 11th, 2005 03:59 PM

Please excuse the typos above. I should never talk on the phone and type at the same time, especially when I am not using spellcheck! I promise I am an educated person who can speak intelligently on this subject even though you would never know it from the above. :(

lidevsfan2 Jun 15th, 2005 05:44 PM

I hope people are still checking here. I'm moving down also from Long Island. Since I want to be near the beach and have small children, I thought Ponte Vedra makes sense. (Everyone tells me the Duval schools are lousy.) I kind of got sticker shock, however. Its pretty expensive over there, and there seem to be mixed feelings about PV on this thread. I haven't visited those areas yet--I've only been downtown where the company is. If anyone is out there can they elaborate on the pros and cons of PV? Thanks.

Scarlett Jun 15th, 2005 05:58 PM

Ponte Vedra is beautiful in a way. But the homes are either the million dollar mansions and Country Club condos or homes back in the woods toward the Intercoastal..sort of very nice and very not so nice.
There are some good shops and grocery stores.
It is right next to Jacksonville Beach which does not appeal to me at all.
I had not heard that the Duval schools are not good, but I do know that it is getting to be hard to get a child into a Mandarin school unless you live in the area..and that is where the real estate is pretty hot right now.
Actually, all real estate here is hot! None of the homes in my area have sold for less than 300K in the past year.
Our house sold in 6 weeks.
You have to come down and spend some time with a realtor and see the different neighborhoods. We bought but I recommend renting when you move, so you can find your own niche.
Good luck~

lidevsfan2 Jun 18th, 2005 11:08 AM

Thanks Scarlett. Someone who lived there told a friend of mine that Mandarin was really good. Can you tell me more about it? I'm coming down in a few weeks to check out neighborhoods with a realtor. The knock I heard on Duval schools is that they bus in from everywhere.

lidevsfan2 Jun 18th, 2005 11:09 AM

Scarlett--if you can also tell me why you dont like Jax Beach that would be helpful.

benj Jun 18th, 2005 01:10 PM

My sister lives at Jax Beach & it is really congested but she loves it. They have been there for probably 20 years. Her mother-in-law lives at Ponte Vedra in a condo & loves it there too.I was just there about 3 weeks ago & am going back next week.I like the area around J Turner Butler but am not real up on prices. The traffic from the beach area to downtown is tough but I think you can go several ways. I know the Matthews bridge & Dames Point bridge & am not sure about the other (Fuller Warren?)are usual accesses to downtown. If you hate traffic then you might not want to risk the commute unless you plan to rent for a while & then decide on a neighborhood.

Scarlett Jun 18th, 2005 03:17 PM

Keeping in mind that we have only lived here a year and a couple of months and we are moving, here is what I know :)
Mandarin, beautiful homes and more being built. The schools are good but this bussing thing means that kids from other neighborhoods go to these schools too and they are overcrowding. It is most likely something the city will work out, it is growing a bit too fast for them to keep up with some aspects of city life..
Gated neighborhoods are big here. Personally, I find them all boring and stuffy, I don't want to live behind gates, locked in and pretending I am safe from the world.
They also have that awful subdivision sameness that you have to count which house is yours so you can find your way back to it at night..but this is all my taste.
Jax Beach..You are from Long is nothing like Montauk or the Hamptons, more like a Jersey shore town. Fast food everywhere, strip malls ( all of Fl is the same) houses are too close together and the look of the place is dull.
Ponte Vedra has the pleasure of wealth so the landscaping and homes are much prettier and more pleasing to the eye, the beaches are very nice..
JTB Blvd is the road that gets you from my part of town to the beaches. It is a fast road, they are building condo and apt complexes daily all along the highway- as well as the huge St Johns Town Center Mall ( a really nice mall)..
Like Long Island, here you get in the car to do everything, it is a lot about driving.
I would recommend getting a place to live near work. IF you are working right in town, then the Northside of town, Avondale/Riverside would be easier for commuting.
We are on the South side, Mandarin/San Jose area.
If you could find something, San Marco which is just across the bridges from town would be great..but the homes there cost a fortune ( everything is on the river)..
I would not think you would lose out that much on a Social Scene if you lived in the area around Five Points/Riverside. It is sort of funky and young there, a couple of nice parks, some great bistros and bars and shops.
You really cannot compare anything with what you know from living in NY, nothing is the same :)
My daughter lives in Avondale and works in my takes her at least 45 min- 1 hour to get home in rush hour with no problems on the bridges..during the day, I can get to her house in about 30 minutes.
Hope this helps some, I don't want to discourage you, but you really have to see the area before you can start thinking of the neighborhood you want to live in. It is just nothing like what you are used to.
Congratulations on the job and the new beginning!

lidevsfan2 Jul 7th, 2005 07:45 AM

Just went down there to look at houses. Anyone have any thoughts on Deerwood (reminds me of LI) and "old Ponte Vedra" near Corpona and Solano. The lots seem bigger there and (I think) you can get an older house at a reasonable price and build it up at some point.

lidevsfan2 Jul 7th, 2005 07:46 AM

I meant "corona" in my last email.

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