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Green Empire: The St. Joe Company and the Remaking of Florida's Panhandle

Green Empire: The St. Joe Company and the Remaking of Florida's Panhandle

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A bold corporate and environmental history, Green Empire examines the intersection of one of the most ambitious players in Florida's real estate market with the state's last frontier--the quiet natural spaces of the Panhandle.

Since the Great Depression, the St. Joe Company (formerly the St. Joe Paper Company) has been Florida's largest landowner, a forestry and transportation conglomerate whose influence has been commensurate with its holdings. The company owns nearly one million acres, mainly in northwestern Florida, where undeveloped coastal and riverside landscapes boast some of the state's most scenic and ecologically diverse areas.

For 60 years, the company focused on growing trees, turning them into paper, and managing its ancillary businesses. In the late 1990s, the company shifted directions: it sold its paper mill, changed its name, and launched a concerted drive to turn its natural-resource assets into greater profits. Today the St. Joe Company is a critical and fiscally powerful force in the real-estate development of northwest Florida, with access to the most influential people in government. Poised to reshape the rural Panhandle, the company and its subsidiaries have the potential to permanently and drastically alter the landscape,environment, and economic foundation of the region.

Based on hundreds of sources--including company executives, board members, and investors as well as outside observers--this factual and balanced history describes the St. Joe Company from the days of its founders to the workings and dealings of its present-day heirs. For all readers concerned with land use and growth management, particularly those with an interest in Florida's fragile wildlife and natural resources, this book will generate importantdebate about an often-overlooked part of the state and will invite public scrutiny of its largest landowner.