Shearwater community wins five prestigious design and construction awards

Shearwater, the new master-planned residential community on County Road 210, was recently honored with four Aurora Awards for design by the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) and the Southeast Building Conference (SEBC), as well as a 2017 Excellence in Construction Award by the Florida First Coast Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC). These five industry-leading accolades celebrate Shearwater’s purposely-designed and crafted 1,500-acre community that has become the fastest growing community in St. Johns County. 

Developed by Freehold Communities, Shearwater was designed to promote healthy living, community engagement and a connection to the outdoors. Freehold worked with well-known Northeast Florida companies to bring its vision for an immersive lifestyle community to life. Jacksonville-based planning and architecture firm, ELM | Ervin Lovett Miller (ELM), was Shearwater’s community master planner, amenity architect, and community landscape architect. As the project amenities and hardscape contractor, Dicky Smith & Co. (DSC) built the 12.5-acre amenity center, neighborhood entrances and parks. Ansana Interior Design provided interior design services for the community amenities.

“We are very excited that Shearwater was recognized for excellence in construction, planning and design by local industry professionals,” said Suzanne Maddalon, Vice President, Freehold Communities. “As with all of our properties, Freehold Communities focuses on working with quality partners, such as ELM, DSC and Ansana Interior Design to create a truly unique community that offers natural beauty and timeless designs.” 

Aurora Awards

The prestigious Aurora Awards are presented annually by the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) and the Southeast Building Conference (SEBC) to recognize excellence in planning, design, and construction in projects across the southeastern United States and the Eastern Caribbean.  Shearwater’s overall masterplan concept took home two Aurora Awards in the Residential Housing Community of the Year category for Masterplan and Best Community Site Plan. Shearwater’s impressive Kayak Club amenity center – which just celebrated its one-year anniversary of its grand opening – won two Aurora Awards: Best Recreational Facility and Best Interior Merchandising – Community Amenity or Clubhouse. ELM purposely designed the Kayak Club as the civic heart of the community, providing 6,800 sq. ft. of recreation space with indoor and outdoor gathering areas and event venues for residents to enjoy community activities.

“Shearwater represents a unique commitment to outdoor recreation, nature, wellness, and quality of life that is reflected throughout the community but is especially evident in the design of the central recreational center, the Kayak Club. This recreational and community hub was designed to offer residents a high-quality social, aquatics, fitness, play, and tennis experience. It is linked through a network of trails and open spaces to parks integrated throughout the community, offering tot-lots, picnic areas, dog parks, creekfront overlooks, and a kayak and canoe launch on Trout Creek,” said Steve Lovett, ELM Principal and lead designer for Shearwater.

For the Kayak Club’s interior, Ansana combined luxury and comfort with Old Florida style to create a natural and inviting gathering space for residents.

“The Kayak Club’s interior design concept was inspired by the area’s natural environment along Trout Creek combined with Old Florida architectural elements,” said Nancy Short, design principal at Ansana Interior Design. “We used hand-crafted furniture, tile, and extensive millwork, including exposed beams and wood-clad walls, floors, and ceilings, to create a sense of luxury for the clubhouse. Comfortable modern seating, expansive verandas, and an inviting snack bar/coffee shop were purposely designed for residents to use the building daily.”

Excellence in Construction Eagle Award

Shearwater was also recognized with a 2017 Excellence in Construction Eagle Award by ABC’s First Coast Florida Chapter. ABC is the premier trade organization for specialty builders and its Excellence in Construction Award honors outstanding contractors for high-quality construction projects. Shearwater’s expansive Kayak Club Amenity Center, entry ways and hardscapes won the Eagle Award for the Commercial Construction Category for $5-$10 million projects.

As the project’s general and specialty contractor, DSC collaborated with Freehold and ELM to build out the commercial portion of Shearwater – from the specialty-designed main entrance water feature to the resort-style Kayak Club Amenity Center, which includes an oversized fitness lodge, the longest Lazy Bird River in Northeast Florida, the Perch Waterslide Tower overlooking a multi-lane lap pool and lagoon pool and illuminated Har-Tru tennis courts. 

“Dicky Smith & Co. was honored to be recognized in this year’s ABC Excellence in Construction awards,” said Stuart Maxwell, vice president, Dicky Smith & Co. “Shearwater is an amazing, one-of-a-kind project that provided our company with a unique opportunity and challenge to demonstrate to our clients and industry peers what our dedicated and experienced team can do.”