Baker • Clay • Duval • Flagler • Nassau • Putnam • St. Johns
Florida’s Northeast is home to four Fortune 500 companies and nearly 20 major banks, insurance and investment firms on Forbes’ Global 500 list. Familiar U.S. brands thriving here include Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Fidelity National Financial, FIS, Wells Fargo and VyStar Credit Union. Foreign firms finding stateside homes here too include: Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank and Sydney-based Macquarie Group.
Making news in this sector:
• Global financial technology giant FIS has opened its new world headquarters on the edge of downtown Jacksonville in the historic Brooklyn neighborhood. The $145-million project consists of a 12-story, 377,000-sq.-ft. tower and an eight-level parking garage. Interior amenities include 25,000 square feet of client engagement and innovation centers and, for employees, a workout facility and on-site dining hall with views of the St. Johns River. With the opening of its new facility, FIS expects to bring at least 500 new jobs to Jacksonville by 2029.
• Financial tech giant Fiserv has purchased Jacksonville-based banking technology firm Finxact Inc. Fiserv was an early investor in Finxact, which was founded in 2016, and will pay approximately $650 million to acquire the remaining ownership.
• Nymbus, a leading provider of banking technology solutions, is relocating its corporate headquarters to downtown Jacksonville and bringing more than 600 new jobs in the process.
• Jacksonville-based VyStar Credit Union has announced plans to merge with its neighbor, First Coast Federal Credit Union, also based in Jacksonville. VyStar is the nation’s 14th largest credit union with more than 800,000 members and $12 billion in assets. First Coast currently has one office and about 1,700 members.
KEY PLAYERS: Fidelity National Financial, Jacksonville; FIS, Jacksonville; VyStar Credit Union, Jacksonville
Superior health care remains a hallmark of Florida’s Northeast as, for the sixth time in seven years, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville is named Florida’s No. 1 “Best Hospital” by U.S. News & World Report. The 2022-23 results placed this facility among the top 50 hospitals nationwide in seven adult medical specialties: cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and pulmonology and lung surgery. In February, Mayo announced plans to add five floors on top of its existing eight with anticipated completion in 2026.
Also recognized among Northeast facilities:
Jacksonville’s Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital was named No. 36 in Rehabilitation. Brooks has multiple facilities across Florida, including a new 60-bed hospital in south Jacksonville.
On the pediatric side, Wolfson Children’s Hospital, a Baptist Health affiliate, took top 50 honors in pediatric neurology and neurosurgery at No. 46. In April 2022, Wolfson opened its seven-story Borowy Family Children’s Critical Care Tower with two floors serving as main lobbies for Wolfson Children’s and Baptist Jacksonville, and five floors dedicated to children’s intensive care.
In other Northeast Florida health care news:
• Jacksonville’s Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital is one of three U.S. hospitals to enroll patients in a global clinical trial to study artificial intelligence-based software that could change how atrial fibrillation is treated. Trial results are expected in 2024.
• Permits have been approved for the construction of a $64-million, 173,200-sq.-ft. VA outpatient clinic and 30,000-sq.-ft. domiciliary with 32 units on Jacksonville’s northside. The domiciliary will provide residential rehab and treatment services for homeless veterans. Anticipated completion: summer 2023.
Ready availability of educational opportunities at all levels ensures that talent thrives in Florida’s Northeast. St. Johns County, home to Florida’s oldest city, St. Augustine, is one of only two school districts in Florida to receive a grade of A each year since 2010. And three Jacksonville high schools were among the nation’s top 200 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best High Schools, 2022": Stanton College Preparatory School (No. 75); Darnell Cookman Middle/High School (No. 142) and Paxon School/Advanced Studies (No. 178).
With a combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment topping 17,000, University of North Florida is on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges — National Universities 2022” at No. 263 and cited among “Top Public Schools” at No. 132. In addition, UNF’s Coggin College of Business has been named among the 2002 “Best Business Schools” by The Princeton Review for a 15th consecutive year.
Newly unveiled at Coggin College: a “Women in Business Initiative” with funding from some of Jacksonville’s most prestigious companies — including Borland Groover, CSX, the Adecco Group and Truist — and structured to provide female students with mentorship and advancement opportunities.
And to support this region’s thriving logistics sector, UNF continues to partner with Crowley Maritime as the Crowley Center for Transportation and Logistics takes shape with the aim of providing state-of-the-art training to ensure that JaxPort is always staffed with a full complement of skilled workers who are prepped and ready to join this region’s busy maritime industry.
Jacksonville University’s Davis College of Business & Technology is fintech focused too, offering two new programs in financial technology: a major in fintech on the bachelor’s degree level and a fintech concentration on the master’s degree level. And brand new this year: the Jacksonville University College of Law, welcoming its first class of would-be lawyers to its downtown campus in fall 2022. Anticipated graduation: May 2025.
Also making headlines across the region:
• Edward Waters University, Florida’s first independent and historically black institution of higher learning, with the receipt of a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service for the preservation of its Centennial Hall Library. Built in 1916 to house a gymnasium and several classrooms, the building became the college library in 1976 and today contains nearly 13,000 print volumes along with access to more than 250,000 electronic books.
• Flagler College in St. Augustine, which began life as Henry Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel in 1888 and was repurposed 80 years later as a liberal arts college in 1968, once again ranked No. 4 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Regional Colleges South.”