EDITOR’S NOTE: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace column.
Despite a nightmarish decline in property values around the U.S. over the last five years, still there are houses that carry a cheerful price tag — especially here in North Florida.
A published report revealed the top 50 houses in North Florida based upon their assessed/market value. Most of them are clustered along the Atlantic Ocean between Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach (and farther south beyond Palm Valley). There are seven houses along the St. Johns River from downtown Jacksonville into Green Cove Springs.
In addition, there is one to the south in St. Augustine, and one in the northernmost region — Amelia Island. The house on Amelia Island has some notoriety, however. It carries the highest price tag of all: $6.1 million.
The 22,809-square-foot house is located on Ocean Club Drive on Amelia Island. It has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, hardwood floors, a pool, an elevator, two fireplaces and views of the ocean and a golf course.
The approximate market value of the house is $9.8 million, and it is owned (according to the Nassau County Property Appraiser’s Office) by the Bessember Trust Company of Florida. Ocean Club Drive is an exclusive street within the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.
Not far behind in second place is a 24,223-square-foot house on Ponte Vedra Blvd. in Ponte Vedra Beach. The house is appraised at $5.8 million, with a market value of $8.3 million. It has 10 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, a pool, beach access, marble floors and a private gate. A partnership, EagleStar Intertrade Ltd., is listed as owner.
Some of houses are owned by recognizable names, like a 27,151-square-foot house belonging to former Florida State University (and later New York Jets) wide receiver Laveranues Coles. It is located in St. Johns County with six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a pool and a private gate — and valued at $2.7 million.
Another house on S. San Pablo Road in Jacksonville belongs to former Winn-Dixie chairman A. Dano Davis. It boasts 14,225 square feet with three stories, five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and an elevator. Its market value is almost $3.2 million
There is also a Jaguar connection among several of the houses: former team owners Wayne and Delores Weaver own a 22,878-square-foot house valued at $4.5 million, and current player Rashean Mathis has a 15,374-square-foot house valued at $3 million.
Professional golfers are also present on the list. Fred Funk owns a 13,654-square-foot house on Harbour View Drive in Ponte Vedra Beach (along the Intracoastal Waterway), and Jim Furyk has an 11,352-square-foot house on Ponte Vedra Boulevard. Both golfers’ houses are valued in the $3 million range.
Last, but not least, former Montgomery Wards chairman and CEO Bernard F. Brennan holds a “smaller” house along Ponte Vedra Boulevard that was built in 1986. Its market value is $4.6 million.
While these price tags are certainly lower than they were five years ago, they still represent impressive values and high-profile owners. They also represent the top, or ceiling, of the housing market here — so let’s all lend a supportive cheer.
(The housing report “Top 50 Most Valuable Homes Throughout The First Coast,” was published at http://www.Jacksonville.com.)
Investment Class, Florida State College, Yulee Campus
A four-week continuing education class, “Investing in Today’s Financial Markets,” will be offered beginning Oct. 23 at the Florida State College campus in Yulee. The class will cover all aspects of the financial markets including stocks, bonds and popular investment vehicles like mutual funds. Local financial advisor, Steve Nicklas, will teach the class.
The schedule is: Oct. 23, 2012 Investing in stocks; Oct. 30, 2012 Investing in bonds; Nov. 6, 2012 Investing in mutual funds, IRAs and insurance; Nov. 13, 2012 Developing a financial plan. The cost of the class is $36, and each session will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The college can be reached at 904- 548-4432 to register.