Entrepreneur and businessman Peter Rummell is trailblazing on the First Coast a recent shift in residential real estate that favors urban communities and a healthy, active lifestyle. He and his business partner, developer Mike Balanky, are creating a visionary mixed-use development on Jacksonville’s South Bank; it’s a concept they call “Healthy Town.”
You’ve trademarked the term “Generation H” as the market you’re targeting. Who do you envision will live in this development?
It cuts across age groups. The “H” stands for “Health,” but my biggest fear is that it becomes senior living. It’s not about the medical aspect of health; it’s about a lifestyle for all generations. To encourage diversity, there will be a wide range of price points, from the 4,000 square foot fancy penthouse that someone wants to buy, to the 500 square foot efficiency that somebody wants to rent.
Is there anything comparable to this development in the region?
People all around the world have been playing with this idea, but no one has gone all in. Lake Nona has health aspects to it, but it’s suburban. Being urban is the key. I don’t know of anyone doing it on this scale. The goal here is to make Jacksonville a prototype, and if we can do it here, it can be done anywhere.
Do you consider this to be a socially conscious development project?
I want it to be a fun, healthy, energizing place to live. I would be thrilled if it ended up being a prototype that works, but I don’t want to give anybody the idea that we’re going to cure cancer or end obesity. People are trying to figure out the intersection of health and residential real estate, the impact that place-making can have on healthy living. Your environment plays a role, just like your diet.
What do you think about downtown Jacksonville’s future transformation, and how will the Healthy Town project impact it?
I’m so tired of going on Chamber [of Commerce] trips to Charlotte and Indianapolis to see what they’re doing right. My measure of success is for Charlotte to come here, and one of the things I would like them to see is Healthy Town. If we execute this right, it can be one of the game changers for downtown; it can make downtown feel alive.