Mayo Clinic Scheduled for $100M Expansion

15 09 2016

A rendering of the new destination medical building at Mayo Clinic.

A rendering of the new destination medical building at Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic is beginning construction on the first building within its $100 million three-building expansion project in October 2016 – and it’s setting its sights on more expansion in the future.

The CEO of Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, said work on the 150,000-square-foot destination medical center will have just under a two-year timeline, with the projected completion being summer 2018.

The building has a number of unique features, including specialized care for patients with neurological problems, as well as patients who require neurosurgery, hematology and oncology. It will also have a chemotherapy section, which Farrugia says will be private and include an outdoor patio.

Farrugia said one of the most interesting features of the destination medical center will be its ability to extend up to 15 floors eventually, making more room for expansion down the road.

The second building in the expansion – a 6,400-square-foot building that will house a cyclotron, a machine that speeds up protons to create atoms with short-lived isotopes that can be used in molecular imaging for cancers that are hard to detect otherwise – will begin by the end of this year.

The technology in that building will be used for detecting the recurrence of patients who suffer from cancers like prostate cancer, which can’t be easily detected otherwise. It is also the first facility in the southeast to use Carbon-11 Choline, which can be injected into patients and used to break down the imaging at a cellular level.

“The side benefit is that you can get an answer much sooner if you do find cancer,” Farrugia said. “Therefore, you’re going to get a better outcome.”

The third building, the “net zero” lung restoration and transplantation center, will begin construction in either the first or second quarter of 2017, and is scheduled to be completed in quarter two of 2019 as long as everything goes according to plan.

That center will be primarily focused on lung restoration and will include a 25,000-square-foot incubator. Researchers will be working with lungs that would have usually been discarded in order to advance transplantation medicine.

Farrugia said the expansion is meant to build up Mayo Clinic’s medical tourism and attract a regional, national and international reach. He said there are plans to move on additional buildings, which may be announced by the end of the year.

“Certainly our plans are to continue to invest. We’ve been able to do some fairly significant recruitment, such as Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa [former neurosurgeon with Johns Hopkins Hospital], and some remarkable robotic technology. As part of that, we know we need to continue beyond the three buildings and continue to invest locally. We want to grow as a destination medical center, and we’re setting our sights on future buildings,” Farrugia said.

Farrugia said the potential for growing Mayo’s medical tourism footprint is huge, and that there are about 37 million people that live within an hour’s flight of Jacksonville who can not just visit Mayo, but other hospitals in Jacksonville. He said the aim is to make Jacksonville a “southeastern hub” for medical treatment.

“We’re already seeing, even in 2016, the number of international patients who come to see us continue to increase,” Farrugia said.

That’s also benefiting the local economy, with Mayo already having hired 500 employees locally and looking to hire 500 by the time the expansion is completed.

Farrugia said the other goal is to make sure Mayo is addressing needs that are there. Lung transplantation is a good example of that.

“The first patient we ever did a transplantation for came to see us a week ago to celebrate his 15th anniversary. He’s seen his children grow into adults, he’s enjoyed time with grandkids. What we want to do is be inspired by the human example. We know our mortality rate is half the expected rate. We know our survivor rate exceeds the expected rate,” Farrugia said. “We want to make sure we’re doing it not just because we can do it, but because we can change people’s lives.”

Source: Jacksonvillle Business Journal

Pending Home Sales Hit a 10-Year High in April

28 05 2016

Pending home sales rose for the third consecutive month in April and reached their highest level in over a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

All major regions saw gains in contract activity last month except for the Midwest, which saw a meager decline.

The Pending Home Sales Index – a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings for homes that have not yet sold – hiked 5.1 percent higher to 116.3 in April from an upwardly revised 110.7 in March. Year-to-year, it’s 4.6 percent above April 2015 (111.2).

After last month’s gain, the index has now increased year-over-year for 20 consecutive months. Vast gains in the South and West propelled April’s pending sales in April to its highest level since February 2006 (117.4), says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

“The ability to sign a contract on a home is slightly exceeding expectations this spring, even with the affordability stresses and inventory squeezes affecting buyers in a number of markets,” Yun says. “The building momentum from the over 14 million jobs created since 2010 and the prospect of facing higher rents and mortgage rates down the road appear to be bringing more interested buyers into the market.”

Mortgage rates have remained below 4 percent in 16 of the past 17 months, but Yun says it remains to be seen how long they will stay this low. Along with rent growth, rising gas prices – and the fading effects of last year’s cheap oil on consumer prices – could edge up inflation and push rates higher. For now, Yun foresees mortgage rates continuing to hover around 4 percent in coming months, but inflation could potentially surprise the market and cause rates to increase suddenly.

“Even if rates rise soon, sales have legs for further expansion this summer if housing supply increases enough to give buyers an adequate number of affordable choices during their search,” adds. Yun.

Following the housing market’s best first quarter of existing-sales since 2007 (5.66 million) and a decent increase (1.7 percent) in April, Yun expects sales this year to climb above earlier estimates and be around 5.41 million – a 3.0 percent boost from 2015. After accelerating to 6.8 percent a year ago, national median existing-home price growth is forecast to slightly moderate to between 4 and 5 percent.

Pending sales in the Northeast climbed 1.2 percent to 98.2 in April, and are now 10.1 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index declined slightly (0.6 percent) to 112.9 in April, but it’s still 2.0 percent above April 2015.

Pending home sales in the South jumped 6.8 percent to an index of 133.9 in April – 5.1 percent higher than last April. The index in the West soared 11.4 percent in April to 106.2, and it’s now 2.8 percent above a year ago.

Source: National Association of Realtors

Clint Eastwood is Moving to Jacksonville, Florida

7 03 2016

I saw this in the news yesterday. In a big surprise to everyone in Los Angeles, Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood reveals in a new interview that he is moving to the Jacksonville, Florida area. He tells the magazine that he is “tired of the California lifestyle” and is looking for a big change in life.

“I’m just tired of the California lifestyle and the fake people, honestly, and I feel like, at this point in my life, I’d rather just live in a place full of real, genuine people. I’ve been to Jacksonville a few times over the years and the people there are real… they’re genuine, and yeah every community has its problems but the people there are good, decent people and they care about their community. Those are the things I find most important in deciding where to live,” Eastwood told the magazine.

“I’m not retiring, I’m just looking for a change in life and I think I’ve found that in Jacksonville, Florida,” Eastwood reassured fans. Let us know what you think in the comments section below especially if you’re a resident of the Jacksonville, Florida area.

June Home Starts Surge – Highest Pace in 28 Years

18 07 2015

The U.S. Commerce Department announced that housing starts in June climbed 9.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million homes. All of that growth came from a 28.6 percent surge in multi-family housing that put apartment construction at its highest rate since November 1987. Starts for single-family houses slipped 0.9 percent last month.

U.S. builders broke ground on apartment complexes in June at the fastest pace in nearly 28 years, as developers anticipate that recent job gains will launch a wave of renters.

The gains show that what had been a sluggish construction sector is now running on economic adrenaline. Strong job growth and a rebounding economy have increased the numbers of buyers and renters searching for homes, while gradually rising mortgage rates have spurred homeowners to finalize deals.

Housing starts jumped 35.3 percent in the Northeast because of apartments, while climbing 13.5 percent in the South. Home construction slumped in the Midwest and West in June.

Nationwide, housing starts have risen 10.9 percent year-to-date.

Over the past 12 months, employers have added 2.9 million jobs, meaning there are more people with paychecks to spend across the broader economy. The impact of those job gains and the unemployment rate drop to 5.3 percent has surfaced in housing, where demand is outpacing the supply of homes and creating more pressure to build houses and apartments.

The market for new homes for sale had just 4.5 months of supply in May, compared to 6 months in a healthy market.

Approved building permits increased 7.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.34 million in June, the highest level since July 2007. The bulk of that increase came for apartment complexes, while permits for houses last month rose just 0.9 percent.

There are other signs that builders are increasingly optimistic.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday climbed to 60 this month, a level last reached in November 2005 – shortly before the housing boom gave way to the mortgage crisis that triggered the Great Recession. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor.

Mortgage rates have started to rise, although they remain low by historic standards.

Source: The Associated Press

U.S. New-Home Sales in May Climb to Best Levels Since 2008

24 06 2015

Purchases of new U.S. homes surged in the Northeast and West in May, as steady job growth over the past year has lifted the real estate sector.

The Commerce Department said that new-home sales rose 2.2 percent in May 2015 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, the strongest pace in more than seven years.

Sales of new homes have soared 24 percent year-to-date, helped by the additional incomes from the employers hiring 3.1 million workers in the past 12 months and relatively low mortgage rates. The sharp increase in purchases could help drive more employment in the construction sector and broader economic growth, potentially offsetting the setbacks to growth in the manufacturing sector caused by cheaper oil prices and a stronger dollar that has hurt exports.

Last month’s sales gains were concentrated in the Northeast, where sales jumped 87.5 percent. New-home sales increased 13.1 percent in the West, but slipped in the Midwest and South.

The median sales price has fallen slightly, dipping 1 percent over the past 12 months to $282,800.

The increases have caused the supply of new homes to dwindle to 4.5 months, compared to the six months’ supply generally associated with a healthy market.

Still, homebuilders are preparing to meet this demand, having broken ground on more houses this year and plan to continue construction. Approved building permits rose increased 11.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million, the highest level since August 2007, the Commerce Department reported last week.

Existing homes are also seeing strong sales as the economy continues to muscle up.

Sales of existing homes climbed 5.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Tight supplies have lifted prices, which have climbed 7.9 percent over the past 12 months to an average of $228,700, about $1,700 below the July 2006 peak.

Much of the increased buying activity flows from a stronger job market and relatively affordable mortgage rates.

Borrowing costs are low by historical standards, but they have been rising in recent weeks at a speed that might prompt more people to buy homes.

Average 30-year fixed rates were 4 percent last week, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That average has increased from a 52-week low of 3.59 percent.

Soure: Associated Press

William Vasana Receives 2015 Best of Jacksonville Award

4 06 2015

Press Release


Jacksonville Award Program Honors the Achievement

2015 Best of Jacksonville Award

2015 Best of Jacksonville Award

JACKSONVILLE June 4, 2015 — William Vasana has been selected for the 2015 Best of Jacksonville Award in the Real Estate Agents category by the Jacksonville Award Program.

Each year, the Jacksonville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Jacksonville area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Jacksonville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Jacksonville Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Jacksonville Award Program

The Jacksonville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Jacksonville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Jacksonville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Jacksonville Award Program


Watson Realty Corp. Announces Nocatee Office Groundbreaking

4 04 2015

St. Johns County, Fla. – Watson Realty Corp. is excited to announce the groundbreaking of its newest office in Nocatee, Florida. The ceremony will be held on April 7th at 2:30 p.m. at the site of the future building located at the corner of Nocatee Village Dr. and Marketside Ave. Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served.

The Nocatee office will provide real estate services including sales, leasing, property management, mortgage, and title services.

“I am really excited to open a new Watson office in Nocatee,” said Ed Forman, Watson Realty Corp. President. “This is a tremendous opportunity to have a location in one of the top selling communities in the country.”

Nocatee was the third best-selling master-planned community in the nation in 2013, according to real estate advisory firm RCLCO.

“It is a perfect time to add an office in Nocatee as Watson Realty Corp. celebrates its 50th anniversary,” noted William A. Watson, Jr. founder and Chairman of the Board, Watson Realty Corp.

Plans for the site include the construction of a state-of-the-art 6,000 square foot building with 4,200 square feet for the real estate office and 1,800 square feet for rental space. The anticipated completion date of the project is November 2015.

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