WaterColor is a well-known master-planned community located along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. Nestled between Destin and Panama City Beach, WaterColor has become one of the premier beach destinations in the region. But who is actually behind the development of this iconic community? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the developer behind WaterColor and how they brought this neighborhood to life.
The Origins of WaterColor
WaterColor is a development project led by The St. Joe Company, a major real estate developer based in Florida. The company has its roots dating back to the 1930s, when it was founded by Alfred I. duPont to manage his land holdings and business interests in Florida. After duPont’s passing, the company continued to expand its real estate activities in the state. By the 1990s, St. Joe had acquired a large tract of land along Scenic Highway 30A in Walton County, which would eventually become the site for WaterColor.
St. Joe saw the potential for a high-end, environmentally-conscious development along this stretch of pristine Florida coastline. The area contained forests, dunes, marshes and lakes – ideal natural features around which to design a community. St. Joe brought on board Cooper, Robertson & Partners, an architectural and urban design firm, to craft the master plan and vision for WaterColor. The aim was to build a community focused on beauty, nature, and small-town charm. No high rises or large hotels would be permitted – instead, houses were limited to 4 stories and small inn-style hotels were planned. Building designs emphasized traditional Southern coastal architecture such as wrap-around porches, cedar shake roofs, and dormer windows.
Key Facts About WaterColor’s Developer
Here are some key facts about The St. Joe Company, the developer behind WaterColor:
- Founded in 1936 by Alfred I. duPont
- Headquartered in Watersound, Florida
- A publicly traded company (NYSE: JOE)
- Owns over 175,000 acres throughout Northwest Florida
- Specializes in master-planned communities and hospitality
- Other major projects include the town of Celebration, built for Disney in the 1990s
As a large, experienced real estate development company, St. Joe had the resources and expertise to undertake the ambitious scale of the WaterColor project. They took a long-term approach to building out the community over several phases spanning more than a decade.
Building a Walkable, Connected Neighborhood
At the heart of WaterColor’s design is a focus on walkability and access to amenities. The community is centered around a town center with retail shops, eateries, and community greenspaces. Pathways and trails connect to public beaches, parks, lakes, and other neighborhoods. St. Joe partnered with several renowned architects and planners to design the streetscapes and buildings. While allowing for distinctive designs, certain unifying elements were established such as front porches, picket fences, and sidewalks lined with landscaping. This created a cohesive yet varied aesthetic.
Attention was also paid to building a sense of community within WaterColor. The town center provides communal gathering places, while the extensive trail system links neighborhoods. An on-site foundation oversees community events like concerts on the green, farmers markets, art shows, and holiday celebrations. A key goal was to facilitate connection between residents to foster small-town neighborliness.
Home Types and Offerings in WaterColor
WaterColor features a diverse array of home types and sizes to accommodate different needs and budgets. Here is an overview of housing in WaterColor:
|Cottages||Smaller homes around 1,300 sq ft with 2-3 bedrooms|
|Townhomes||Attached 2-3 story homes from 1,500 – 2,000 sq ft|
|Beach Homes||Larger single-family homes up to 4,000 sq ft near the Gulf|
|Estate Homes||Sprawling homes of 4,000+ sq ft on larger wooded lots|
|Villas||Luxury condominiums with shared amenities|
Home prices range from the $400,000s for cottages to over $2 million for premium estate homes. The variety caters to singles, couples, retirees, and multi-generational families. In addition to homes, WaterColor features three boutique hotels with leisure facilities managed by St. Joe. These provide further accommodation options for visitors.
Recreation and Lifestyle at WaterColor
At WaterColor, residents enjoy easy access to vibrant beaches, parks, trails, community pools, tennis courts, and fitness centers. The community’s Beach Club offers food and drink, an infinity pool, and private beach access. WaterColor Inn provides a full-service spa, shops, and restaurants. For outdoor recreation, there are dedicated nature trails for biking, hiking, and kayaking through preserved dune lakes and forests. The town center also provides art galleries, boutiques, and eateries for leisurely browsing and dining.
With its abundant amenities, natural beauty and charming architecture, WaterColor offers an idyllic lifestyle focused on health, nature, and community. St. Joe has built and continues to expand one of Northwest Florida’s premier places to live, work, and vacation through its exemplary vision for the community.
WaterColor is the result of over a decade of planning, design, and development by The St. Joe Company to create an ideal beach town community. Guided by principles of New Urbanism and sustainability, St. Joe worked with world-class planners and architects to build a connected, walkable neighborhood focused on high-quality design and integrating into the natural landscape. While staying true to its small-town roots, WaterColor offers residents and visitors a beautiful setting, luxury amenities, diverse housing options, and quick access to outdoor recreation. As WaterColor continues to grow and evolve, the vision established by its developer St. Joe will ensure this special place maintains its charm and sense of community.