April 23, 2024
St. Joe's Agenda

Photo: St. Joe Co.

Hotel Indigo in Panama City is one of five hotels St. Joe Co. debuted last year.

Economic Backbone: Commercial Real Estate

St. Joe's Agenda

From hotels to hospitals, here's what Northwest Florida's largest commercial developer is working on in 2024.

Carlton Proctor | 3/22/2024

With a 169,000-acre footprint in five counties, the St. Joe Co., headquartered in Panama City Beach, is the largest private landowner in Northwest Florida and also its largest commercial developer. CEO Jorge Gonzalez shares with Florida Trend his outlook for the company’s growth in 2024 and beyond.

Hospitality: “In 2023 we opened five new hotels. That’s a lot of hotels to open in a calendar year and, in fact, we opened all five hotels in seven months during 2023. That was an addition of 646 rooms, bringing our total portfolio of hotel rooms to 1,177.

Hotels are very operationally intensive assets, so our focus for 2024 in terms of hospitality is going to be to obviously stabilize and refine our operations at those five hotels. We do have one more new hotel — a Residence Inn — that's opening in late spring or early summer which will add another 121 rooms bringing our hotel room portfolio to 1,298.”

Key Projects: “In 2024 our commercial development segments are focused on three major areas: One is the Watersound Town Center where we’re adding a couple more commercial buildings. The second area of commercial focus is the West Bay Town Center that’s within our Latitude Margaritaville restricted age retirement community. And the third is the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare-FSU Health campus where we’re building an 80,000-sq.- ft. medical office building."

Growth Drivers: “Driving this commercial growth is a major change in the geography of where our visitors come from. If you go back historically a decade or two, our visitors typically came from a fairly static area in the Southeast. Today within our hotel portfolio we’re seeing visitors come from our all 50 states.

The Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport definitely has added a significant number of visitors to our commercial properties. In the past we’ve always been a ‘drive to’ market. Today we're still a ‘drive to’ market, but we’ve also become a ‘fly to’ market thanks to the very rapid growth of the airport.”

Tags: Real Estate, Feature, Economic Backbone: Commercial Real Estate

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