August/September Business View Magazine

228 229 ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA St. Johns County, GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY Florida T aking its name from the St. Johns River that flows along its western border, St. Johns County was estab- lished in 1821-one of the two original counties of Florida, created after the area was ceded to the United States from Spain. Its main city, St.Augustine, is the oldest perma- nent European settlement in the country. For most of its histo- ry, St. Johns County was essentially rural; its primary economic drivers being agriculture, tourism, and retail,with only a handful of major employers outside of the education,medical, and gov- ernmental sectors. Today, St. Johns County has established itself as a good place to live and do business, and thus, its population has increased 28 percent since 2010, to 244,000,making it the 14th fastest-grow- ing county in the nation in that timeframe. It issued more than 4,000 single-family residential permits last year, a number that far-exceeded all surrounding counties, and it is on track to exceed that number in 2018.Over the last seven years, 1,200 new busi- nesses have opened, creating 18,000 new jobs. AT A GLANCE ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA WHAT: A county with a population of 230,000 WHERE: Northeast Florida between the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean WEBSITE: