Developer Plans “Build To Rent” Single-Family Homes In Nassau

A future new Nassau County, FL neighborhood of single-family rental homes is a local example of an emerging trend across the nation.

B2R — Build To Rent Single-Family Homes

Middleburg Communities, a Virginia developer, is targeting high growth southeastern markets with strong demand for single-family rental homes (SFRs). Their near-term plans include building SFRs here in northeast Florida within Nassau County.

The Hamlet At Wildlight in Nassau County, Florida

Developers around the nation are building entire new communities for the rental marketplace. A future new neighborhood of single-family rental homes, called The Hamlet, is a local example of the emerging trend. A “Hamlet Home Rentership” neighborhood is planned to be built at Wildlight located in Yulee. Wildlight is an area also known in Nassau County as the East Nassau Community Planning Area (ENCPA).

SFR — Single Family Rentals

The Hamlet at Wildlight is one of the first four home rentership communities being developed in various states by Middleburg. The company aims to be “a dominant developer of SFR communities across the Southeast, bringing a completely new SFR design concept and community styling to growing populations of renters,” according to a news release. The first four communities that includes Wildlight is just the beginning, with Middleburg expecting to develop “30 to 35 SFR communities over the next few years,” said Middleburg Communities CEO Chris Finlay.

Some choose to rent to avoid ongoing maintenance and landscaping chores associated with home ownership. However, the escalating cost of homes in recent years (becoming far less affordable for some home buyers), has helped fuel the growth of B2R (build to rent) communities.

Maintenance Free Living In Suburbs Of Southeastern Cities

“Middleburg is building single-family rental communities for long-term ownership that offers the privacy and outdoor space of traditional single-family detached homes, but do not require a down payment or maintenance from the residents,” according to the company.

“The Hamlet blends the comforts of a single family home and the welcoming feel of a neighborhood, with the flexibility and ease of maintenance free living. Our communities are located in sought-after suburbs of dynamic southeastern cities, making for easier commutes and maximum renter appeal,” states the The Hamlet website.

How Far To Amelia Island’s Beaches?

Residents of Wildlight have easy access to get on Interstate 95 (for commuting to Jacksonville or the Navy base at Kings Bay, GA). But it’s a distance to reach the beach. Figure about a 30-minute drive from Wildlight neighborhoods to reach the Atlantic Coast seashore and park at the oceanfront beaches of Nassau County’s popular Amelia Island.

More About Other Projects At Wildlight in Yulee

Another developer is also planning to enter the Nassau County marketplace for the first time. Del Webb announced earlier this year their plans to develop a 55-plus adult living community in Wildlight. Del Webb is a national brand of PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM). Model homes are anticipated to open during the first quarter of 2022.

Retirement Living At Wildlight

The new Del Webb community will offer walking trails, an amenity center, pools, tennis courts, pickleball, and a dog park. According to Del Webb, this development project will be the biggest to date for Wildlight. The 55-plus community will reportedly have up to 660 single-family and villa homes to be built on lots sized 33 to 65 feet wide.

New Publix Grocery Store Coming to Wildlight

Also previously announced this year, a new Publix grocery store is being built in the Wildlight area. Sleiman Enterprises announced they will develop this Publix at the new Crossings at Wildlight shopping center at the corner of FL-200 (AIA) and William Burgess Boulevard in Yulee. The Crossings development encompasses nearly 90,000 square feet on just under 17 acres. Completion of the new Publix was anticipated to be in spring 2022.

The Wildlight area of Nassau County will eventually contain a large variety of neighborhoods and housing options — for sale or for rent. This includes apartments, townhomes and various single-family home communities. Wildlight also includes commercial/retail space.

The community’s YMCA and Wildlight Elementary School, along with some housing and several restaurants are already open. The first neighborhoods are “Founders Park” and “Forest Park,” plus rental apartments at “The Loft.” However, the huge ENCPA area, due to its size, is likely decades away from being fully developed. It’s also become a local development controversy.

Unresolved Legal Dispute With Nassau County, FL

A multi-year legal dispute dating back to 2018 between the Nassau County, Florida government and the developer of Wildlight, Raydient Places & Properties, remains unresolved in summer of 2021. Wildlight, as noted previously, is located within a special stewardship district, known as the East Nassau Community Planning Area (ENCPA). The crux of the dispute is about who’s responsible for the costs of parks and recreational facilities within the bounds of the huge 24,000-acre ENCPA, with fingers pointed at each other. The outcome of this legal dispute remains to be seen.