Yulee Growth: New Homes, Traffic & Commuting
For those thinking about moving, a few things are usually a factor, such as affordability and lifestyle. For those not yet retired, jobs and commuting time is also a consideration.
According to Nassau County School District data, the majority of growth here in Nassau County, Florida over the last decade or so has been in the Yulee area. Consider that Yulee has reportedly experienced more than double the number of new dwelling units (4,800), since 2006, as the remaining Nassau County district areas combined.
Locally, one of the first decisions movers make is whether to live ON or OFF Amelia Island. Those choosing to live off the island often locate in neighborhoods east of I-95. For commuters, it’s about a 30-45 minute drive to Jacksonville jobs from Yulee (depending on how far south into JAX one goes). The downtown Jacksonville corporate area right on the St. Johns River is the closest, largest job marketplace. However, for those seeking some acreage and a more rural environment, areas in Nassau west of I-95 such as Callahan and Hilliard may be more desirable.
Many of the newer homes off-island are concentrated in the large subdivisions along the Amelia Concourse roadway, off State Road 200/A1A (east of I-95). These neighborhoods include the gated community, Amelia National Golf & Country Club, the Golf Club at North Hampton, Flora Parke, Amelia Walk, the Amelia Concourse subdivision, Timberlake and Harbor Concourse.
Even though this Amelia Concourse area is off Amelia Island (an area formerly considered Yulee), some off island neighborhoods have attained a “Fernandina Beach” mailing address with zip code 32034, instead of Yulee zip code 32097. However, newcomers in the neighborhoods noted above are zoned for Yulee schools, not Fernandina Beach schools on Amelia Island. Note that potential Nassau County home buyers with kids should always confirm school zoning with the Nassau County School District 904-491-9900. School zoning changes were made in 2017 affecting some Yulee/Fernandina Beach residents living off the island.
Commuting & Traffic
A large percentage of Nassau County, Florida’s working residents commute to employment located outside of Nassau. With the growing traffic of State Road 200/A1A (read more about this further below), many of those commuting to employment outside of Nassau County seem to choose living in neighborhoods closer to Interstate 95. There’s also the affordability factor, with home buyers typically able get more house for less when locating in neighborhoods off Amelia Island on the mainland.
Those heading north to the Kings Bay, Georgia Navy base can also save a bit of time in daily routines by living in Yulee area vs. on Amelia Island.
State Road 200/A1A
The increases in traffic along the main A1A corridor between Interstate 95 and Amelia Island’s Shave Bridge has not gone unnoticed, especially by residents who have lived here for a few decades or a lifetime. Looking back twenty five years, from the I-95 exit heading east on A1A, one could have said then“the coast is clear.” At that time, drivers could get off I-95, cruise along A1A through mostly rural landscape, and easily arrive on the island in 15 minutes or less.
As a result of the area’s growth, including retail, residential, and tourism since the early 1990s, it’s a different experience now along this east/west route. Many new home developments and commercial projects have sprouted up over the years. Adding to traffic woes is a huge road construction project along State Road 200/A1A. (Read more about road construction further below and watch video about the future “Diverging Diamond Interchange” at I-95).
Drawing traffic to the Yulee area is Nassau County’s largest shopping concentration where A1A intersects the Amelia Concourse and Chester Road. This is where big box retailers have located (including Target, Home Depot, Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx, Ross Dress For Less, and Jo-Ann Fabrics). Plus many other retailers like Ulta Beauty and franchise restaurants such as Panera Bread, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Chili’s. This shopping district is also the location of the AMC Yulee 10-screen movie theatre and the second Publix location in Nassau County.
Nassau County, Florida’s population is on track to have doubled in a 30-year period through 2020. This is based on a population of 43,941 (as of the 1990 U.S. Census), to the 2020 population projection (a range of 84,500 (medium) to 89,600 (high), according to the Bureau of Economics & Business Research Population Studies. Note that Nassau County’s most recent U.S. Census population estimate for the year 2016 is 80,622.
With the emergence of a huge, new community near I-95 in Yulee called Wildlight (the new elementary school opened in August 2017), it seems likely much of future growth/new home units may be concentrated around that area (and more traffic is coming down the road). News update 2/26/2018 about Wildlight and East Nassau Community Planning Area (ENCPA), “Nassau County Development Controversy.”
Road Construction Underway
The work being done on A1A is to expand the existing four lanes to six, needed to accommodate area growth. The State Road 200 construction completion estimate extends into the year 2019.
New FDOT Diverging Diamond
More road construction, building a new “Diverging Diamond Interchange,” is happening at the Amelia Island/Yulee I-95 Exit 373. This huge Florida Department of Transportation construction project is projected to be completed by sometime in 2020.
Watch the FDOT video below. See what the futures holds for this area of Nassau County, FL and Interstate 95. This “Diverging Diamond Interchange” is said to be the first of its kind for the northeast Florida region.
The pace of growth of new construction housing and commercial space goes hand in hand with supply and demand and a cyclical real estate industry. It’s been a rising Florida real estate market for several years. How long the current upward trend continues, remains to be seen. But continued growth of Nassau County over the long term seems inevitable.