Saint Marks Pond

Borrower Story: Saint Marks Pond

Northeast Florida is expanding upon its reputation as a tourist destination, quickly becoming a desirable business hub with the addition of Saint Marks Pond. With Florida’s highest-ranked schools and one of the nation’s five fastest-growing residential communities, St. Johns County is attracting notable employers including Northrup Grumman, PGA Tour, Florida Blue, CSX, and Fidelity National.

This migration to the First Coast has ushered in a season of considerable growth in infrastructure, residential, and commercial projects. Given Florida’s low elevation and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and St Johns River, effective development requires a significant supply of sand to raise streets and structures above the floodplain.

This topographical reality is why Saint Marks Pond, a 1,400-acre sand mine and mitigation bank strategically situated in St. Augustine, presents such an incredible opportunity for a land manager that knows his community, his craft, and local contractors.

Before becoming co-manager of the mining operation at Saint Marks Pond, Ancient City Land Management’s President and CEO, Dan Laubacker, spent years analyzing the opportunity and waiting for the right time to get involved with what he describes as “one of the last virgin grounds between Duval and St. Johns County.”

“I knew this property had a lot of potential. But the resounding battle cry right now is there is virtually no lending available in the market. We could have been in a position to where all these potential sand supply contracts could have gone elsewhere.”

Having encountered numerous roadblocks from traditional capital sources, North Avenue Capital was able to structure a USDA loan that positioned Dan and his team to acquire the business, manage the land, and play a central role in St. Johns County’s growth.

Joseph Rowell, Chief Executive Officer, led the deal from NAC’s nearby headquarters and said,

“Dan knows this market, knows the right contractors with which to engage, and simply needed a financial partner that believed in their ability to execute. NAC is excited to take part in putting fellow St. Johns County residents to work building a community in which our businesses and families can thrive.”

Dan added,

“The fact that we’re standing here today now the owners and now operating a turnkey business that we knew was there. It’s exciting because it could have been an opportunity missed very easily.”

"We went to North Avenue Capital, and we saw that there was an opportunity that didn't exist. At first, it was a little bit daunting working with the USDA, but, as we worked with North Avenue, the staff was able to guide us through this process."

Dan Laubacher

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