JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Business is booming in northeast Jacksonville.
Five years ago there wasn't much to see in the area surrounding I-95 and Airport Road, but while the rest of the city struggled to maintain in a down economy, the northeast area has exploded.
It makes sense to Beverly Garvin, Vice President of Watson Realty.
"There's a lot of opportunity there. You feel like you're in the country when you're really right there in the city. There's not a lot of places for development to go in Jacksonville because if you keep going south, you hit St. Augustine."
Garvin says there are a lot of perks that are attracting local families to the northeast side including low rates of violent crime, new parks and schools, and promising property values.
"More than anything you get more house for your money. The price for land wasn't high to begin with, so developers were able to put more house on that property."
In March 2013, 83 homes in northeast Jacksonville were purchased for an average $130,000 each.
Rapid home sales have sparked a firestorm of new business at River City Marketplace as well. The outdoor shopping center already boasts 100 stores a dozen more are under construction.
"It just seemed like it would be a great fit for us," said Lauren Delaney, Sr. Community Marketing Manager for Dick's Sporting Goods. The chain opened its third Jacksonville store on Friday.
Delaney says company representatives saw opportunity close to the airport and interstate. Department of Transportation records show an average of 30,000 people drive by the shopping center everyday.
"We've seen terrific traffic (in the store) today. People are extremely happy to be here and are telling us how thankful that are that we finally joined the community, so it's awesome."
This spring, UF and Shands will break ground on a 6-story medical complex near River City Marketplace. Action News is told it is expected to open in about 18 months. It has also filed an application with the state to open a new hospital in the area.