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NAS Jax Air Show 2014

October 24th, 2014 · No Comments


Are you ready for the return of the Blue Angels? The NAS Jax Air Show is this weekend and a variety of military and civilian demonstrations are in store, with a grand finale from the Blue Angels. Gates open at 9am and the show begins at 10am both days. The show takes off this Saturday and Sunday, October 25 and 26, at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. A variety of military and civilian demonstrations are in store, with a grand finale from the Navy’s Blue Angels at 3:00pm. Plan on arriving at 12:30pm in order to see the Blues.

Gates open at 9am and the show begins at 10am both days. The event offers both free admission and free parking to the public.

For more info on the performers and parking, visit the NAS Jax Air Show website: http://www.nasjaxairshow.com/

And LIKE its Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/nasjaxairshow2014

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ULI Recognizes Real Estate Development Projects Throughout North Florida

October 23rd, 2014 · No Comments

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) North Florida announced the finalists of the 2014 Awards for Excellence, an annual awards program that recognizes real estate development projects throughout North Florida based on ULI’s mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

The 2014 winners includes Peter S. Rummell received the Visionary Leader for his more than 40 year career in the real estate development industry.

The New Town Success Zone was honored in the Downtown Sector category for its $16 million capital campaign to provide homeownership to 135 families and complete 300 projects for homeowners already living in the neighborhood at Kings Road and West Beaver Street.

Mellow Mushroom received the Private Sector award for its 9,000 square foot restaurant in Avondale for bringing new life and energy to a piece of property which had an existing historic structure and abandoned gas station.

Cascades Park in Tallahassee was recognized in the Public/Open Space Category for its community-wide impact including improved water quality, enhanced traffic circulation and revitalized ecosystems.

St. Augustine Distillery and Ice Plant received the Reuse/Repurpose Sector award for its conversion of the 100 year old St. Augustine Ice Plant and converting the building into an iconic distillery and restaurant/bar.

Winners were presented with a bronze sculpture by local artist David Ponsler.

The ULI North Florida District Council was formed in 2005 and currently has more than 360 members from Flagler to Escambia Counties, including Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Panama City and Pensacola. More information about ULI North Florida is available online at www.northflorida.uli.org or www.uli.org.

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NEFBA Announces Candidate Endorsements

October 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

Early voting for the General Elections began Oct. 20 in Duval and St. Johns counties, Oct. 21 in Nassau County and begins Oct. 25 in Clay County. The Northeast Florida Builders Association has endorsed the following candidates who are in contested races.


Governor Rick Scott – Governor

CFO Jeff Atwater – Chief Financial Officer

Duval County

Rep. Lake Ray – State House, District 12

Rep. Janet Atkins – State House, District 11

Jay Fant – State House, District 15

Rep. Charles McBurney – State House, District 16

Samuel Hall – Duval County School Board, District 2

St. Johns County

Sen. John Thrasher – State Senate, District 6

Rep. Doc. Renuart – State House, District 17

Jay Morris – County Commissioner, District 4

Todd Neville – St. Augustine Commission, Seat 4

Grant Misterly – St. Augustine Commission, Seat 5

Nassau County

Rep. Janet Atkins -State House, District 11

Stephen Kelly -County Commissioner, District 2

Clay County

Rep. Travis Cummings – State House, District 18

Gavin Rollins – County Commissioner, District 4

Kenny Leigh – Clay County School Board, District 1

Ashley Gilhousen – Clay County School Board, District 5


The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 4. Click here to see a list of early voting locations.

For more information about NEFBA’s endorsed candidates or the voting process, contact Jessie Spradley at jspradley@nefba.com.

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Staging your Home to Shine

October 21st, 2014 · No Comments

By Judith Sisler Johnston, President of Sisler Johnston Interior Design and allied member, ASID


I’m often asked for tips and tricks to improve the impression of homes that are being sold.  I can share some suggestions for simple modifications to “stage” your home that will enhance your homes’ look and feel. You want potential homebuyers to leave your home with a positive lasting impression. But, be forewarned: After implementing these suggestions, many homeowners decide to remain where they are!=

Here are some topics for consideration when preparing your home to shine:

First Impressions – Let’s talk curb appeal.  Could the flower bed use some bright, cheerful flowers?  Maybe the chairs on the porch need new cushions?  What about a fresh coat of paint on the door?  The buyer will make many decisions about the home before they even walk through the door – make this first impression count!

Smell and Lighting – The first thing many buyers will notice (even if they don’t realize it) is the smell and lighting of a home.  Have your entire house steam cleaned (furniture and floors) and insist that residents and guests smoke outside. To add a welcoming scent use a clean, simple scent like Fresh Linen and steer away from sweet scents like Vanilla or Cookie Dough.   Lighting is also critical – add a lamp to a dark corner or add brighter light bulbs to the fixtures.

 Neutral shades on walls and accent lighting can help prospective homebuyers imagine their families in these rooms.

Furniture – is there too much?  Too much furniture in a space can make the space look smaller than it really is.  Maybe that bulky recliner in the corner should be put in temporary storage?  Is there too little?  A simple café table placed in an empty breakfast nook could add that quaint finishing touch.

Color – Does your home have a bright pink accent wall in the family room or a den that is emerald green?  It might be a good idea to repaint those walls a neutral shade of beige or tan. 

Personalization – It’s hard for a buyer to picture themselves living in the home if it is full of family photos on every mantle, book shelf and counter top.  Remove the photos and put them away for safe keeping until they are in their own new home.

Windows – The home should be as bright and cheerful as possible.  Windows and window treatments should be examined for cleanliness, condition and weight.  It’s effective to replace old blinds with new ones and heavy drapery with lightweight panels that let in abundant light.  

A bright cheerful room framed by light window treatments showcases this home.

All That Stuff.  This is the tricky part because this isn’t a model home, it’s a home.  It’s going to be full of stuff.  Consider getting a temporary storage facility and move many extra items to the facility – this may include furniture, knick knacks, toys, countertop kitchen appliances, books, etc.


 First impressions matter and this room is organized to highlight the view. Minimize personal itmes on mantles and shelves.

Look for every chance you have to make small, but important, changes to make your home as special for its next owner as it was for you.


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Linda Sherrer Addresses JAX Chamber’s GrowJAX on Boldness in Business

October 20th, 2014 · No Comments

Maxine McBride, Linda Sherrer and Gwen Griggs

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty Founder, President and CEO Linda Sherrer recently spoke to JAX Chamber GrowJAX participants at the CEO Forum at Jacksonville University.

Sherrer shared stories from her business career that required bold decisions for her company to succeed.

The CEO Forum, a program of the JAX Chamber, is a complimentary program for second stage businesses to provide economic development in Northeast Florida.

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Sisler Johnston Interior Design Completes New HabiJax Model Home in New Town

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments

Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville (HabiJax) has opened a new fully furnished model home in the growing neighborhood of New Town. The new HabiJax model features the interior design of Sisler Johnston Interior Design.

“The programs and services offered by HabiJax are helping many realize the dream of homeownership,” said Judith Sisler Johnston, president of Sisler Johnston Interior Design and allied member, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). “I believe our show home will inspire and encourage potential homebuyers to contact HabiJax for more information on purchasing a home.”

Featuring 1,064 square feet of flexible living space and priced from $101,000, the Wiley model showcases three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. The home features an open and spacious living room and dining room perfect for family living and entertainment, a stylish kitchen equipped with designer oak flat panel cabinets and Formica countertops, and a master bedroom with master bath and walk-in closet.

For the home’s lively design, Sisler Johnston selected a color palette of warm neutrals with vibrant accents of crimson, apple green and honey. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the vibrant elements and style of the Spiderman-themed children’s bedroom.

The model is located at 1308 Tyler St., Jacksonville, Fla. 32209. The model and homes built by HabiJax in New Town are part of a revitalization project underway in the historic neighborhood west of downtown.

“Our new model home designed by Judith Sisler Johnston is a reflection of the change taking place in New Town,” said HabiJax President and CEO Mary Kay O’Rourke. “We are thrilled that the community has embraced our initiative to make a difference in New Town and help families realize the dream of homeownership. I encourage everyone interested in purchasing a home to contact us for information on how to become a new homeowner.”

Founded in 1988, HabiJax has become the largest non-profit affordable housing provider in Duval County, helping improve urban core neighborhoods in Jacksonville, including New Town. HabiJax is one of the most successful Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the United States, having provided homeownership opportunities and other housing services to more than 2,000 families. In addition, HabiJax is an advocate for affordable housing, fair housing policies and economic development and provides workshops and other trainings to help families improve their opportunities for wealth building. For more information, visit www.HabiJax.org.

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Tamaya Hosts Jacksonville Symphony Guild Membership Coffee Welcoming New Music Director Courtney Lewis

October 16th, 2014 · No Comments

David Pierson, Allene Groote and Courtney Lewis

ICI Homes of Tamaya, developers of a new master-planned Mediterranean-style community located midway between Downtown and the beaches, hosted The Guild of the Jacksonville Symphony as it welcomed the orchestra’s new Music Director, Courtney Lewis, to the Guild’s Fall Membership Coffee at Tamaya.

Dorothy Nutort, Barbara McTiernan and Suzanne Martin

Lewis was named the new music director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra earlier this year. A rising star, Lewis is renowned for his clear artistic vision, subtle musicality, innovative programming and deep musical understanding.

Iris Simmons, Ben Johnson and Jennifer Barton

He made his major American orchestral debut in 2008 with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and has led orchestras throughout North America and abroad. He is the eighth music director to lead the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in its 65-year history.

Kathy Cosnotti, Allene Groote and Lorraine Roettges

For 65 years, the Guild of the Jacksonville Symphony Association has worked to foster an awareness of music and to create strong community support of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra through fundraising events, educational projects and community involvement activities.

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HabiJax Receives ULI North Florida Award for New Town Success Zone

October 15th, 2014 · No Comments

(L to R) Irvin “PeDro” Cohen, New Town Success Zone; Greg Matovina, HabiJax; Pam Paul, New Town Success Zone; Angela Leatherbury, HabiJax; Mary Kay O’Rourke, HabiJax; and Alfred Arzuaga, HabiJax

Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Inc. (HabiJax) has been honored by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) North Florida with an Award for Excellence (Downtown Sector category) for The New Town Success Zone.

“We are thrilled and honored to be recognized by ULI North Florida for our work and partnerships in New Town,” said HabiJax President and CEO Mary Kay O’Rourke. “Our work in New Town has been extremely rewarding and we are so proud to assist in the revitalization of this historic neighborhood. We firmly believe in providing affordable housing to people in need so they may build better lives for their families.”

In 2011, utilizing more than 600 volunteers, HabiJax completed a visual assessment of more than 1,000 residential properties in the New Town area of Jacksonville. HabiJax embarked on a $16 million capital campaign to provide home ownership to 135 families and complete 300 renovation projects for homeowners already living in the neighborhood.

Since embarking on the campaign, HabiJax has partnered with almost 100 families who have purchased homes and completed more than 150 projects for existing homeowners in the neighborhood.

HabiJax partners with families whose income level is between 35 percent and 60 percent of the Area Median Income to purchase a home of their own with zero percent interest mortgage. Families that apply for a home must qualify for a mortgage with adequate income and acceptable credit. Families attend homeownership, budgeting and maintenance workshops. They make a down payment and contribute a minimum of 300 hours of “sweat equity” labor working on their home and other HabiJax homes. After purchasing the home, their mortgage payment is usually less than the cost of previous rent payments.

The HabiJax program is unduplicated in the Jacksonville area and fills an unmet need. In addition, HabiJax also provides services to low income and elderly homeowners to help with basic needed repairs with the goal of providing a safe and sustainable home for families to age-in-place.

The Awards for Excellence was started in 2012 to showcase ULI North Florida’s efforts in identifying and promoting the “Best Practices” in all aspects of real estate development and place making. The ULI District Council includes 34 counties from Flagler to Escambia including Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Pensacola and Panama City.

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AT&T Presents MBF Champions for Child Safety Pro Am for Monique Burr Foundation

October 14th, 2014 · No Comments


The Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc.’s (MBF) Champions for Child Safety Pro Am Golf Tournament, formerly known as Jinglebells Pro Am, presented by AT&T, will be held Monday, Dec. 1, at the Palencia Club. The tournament offers corporations and individuals the opportunity to golf for a good cause and tee off with professional golfers.

This year’s tournament honorary chairs are Fred Funk, Jim Furyk, and Mark McCumber. Net proceeds from the event will help communities throughout the state provide MBF Child Safety Matters™, MBF’s bullying and child abuse prevention program provided at elementary schools at no cost to the public schools. The program offers training and resources for students, parents and school personnel throughout the state of Florida and is currently being implemented in 54 out of 67 counties.

Registration and a Beer Pairings Party begins at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30 and the opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 1. A cocktail reception and awards ceremony are scheduled for later that day. The Palencia Club is located at 600 Palencia Club Drive in St. Augustine, Florida.

From Jacksonville, take Interstate 95 south to exit #335 for Old St Augustine Rd. Turn right at Old St Augustine Rd. Turn right onto U.S. 1 to head South. Turn left on Palencia Village Drive. At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto Market St. Turn right onto Palencia Club Dr.

Visit www.championsforchildsafety.com or contact Callie Hugo at chugo@moniqueburrfoundation.org for more information and to register. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.  Each foursome is $7,000 or $1,750 for individual. For more information about the Monique Burr Foundation for Children visit www.moniqueburrfoundation.org.

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GreenPointe Homes Offers Unique Storage Options for Homes in Cedar Bay Community

October 13th, 2014 · No Comments

When homebuyers are looking for the ideal home, one of the leading factors on the list is often the amount of storage available. Many people move when they run out of room in their current home and desire more space, want to feel more organized, or when traditional garage or attic storage just does not satisfy. Builders like GreenPointe Homes, which has popular floor plans for sale in the North Jacksonville community of Cedar Bay, are coming up with creative ways to give homeowners more storage and organization options – and in surprising places, too.

“We realize that having convenient and logical areas to store belongings is vital to the success of a residential space, and we enjoy designing storage extras for our floor plans,” said Roger Postlethwaite, president of GreenPointe Homes. “Our buyers are thrilled with the creativity of options such as our stairwell storage, upstairs linen closets, drop zones and flexible lofts.”

Every GreenPointe Homes’ residence in Cedar Bay has a large walk-in closet located under the stairwell. Accessed by a private door, this space is ideal for items such as children’s toys, cleaning supplies, seasonal outerwear or any other items needing easy accessibility.

The downstairs stop-and-drop zone is one of the buyers’ favorite signature features in GreenPointe Homes’ residences. This convenient counter space is located right inside the home in front of the garage door – the main access point to the home for most families. This out-of-sight place is ideal for leaving items that would normally clutter up a kitchen counter or front hall table.

Upstairs, GreenPointe Homes’ floor plans have a spacious loft that can be used as an entertainment area, study area, home office or playroom. It offers plenty of storage for those pursuits that need a semi-private room out of the main flow of downstairs traffic. The Hawthorne floor plan, available for touring in Cedar Bay, has walk-in closets in all four bedrooms. The upstairs storage is completed with a walk-in bonus linen closet which is 5 feet by 6 feet and accessible from all three upstairs bedrooms.

“Homeowners want to have as many storage options upstairs as downstairs,” said Postlethwaite. “The linen closet and flex loft are special touches that our buyers have responded to with very positive feedback.”

GreenPointe Homes currently has both inventory homes and homesites for sale in Cedar Bay, including several with scenic river views of the peaceful Broward River. Three-, four- or five-bedroom residences range from the mid $180,000s to the mid $200,000s.

Cedar Bay is a 153-home community located in North Jacksonville and convenient to River City Marketplace, Jacksonville International Airport and minutes from downtown Jacksonville. The Cedar Bay Community Park offers the perfect place for get-togethers, family outings and celebrations with amenities such as community grills, tables and benches that overlook the Broward River, a shade structure and playground equipment for children. Residents also enjoy a convenient location close to the city’s major employers and nearby shopping and dining opportunities.

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