Rayonier relocated their headquarters to Northeast Florida in 1999, but their roots in the region date back to the 1930s. During that time, they have continued to acquire and manage timberland, adapt and grow as their business model has evolved and embark on one of the largest community development projects in the United States.
“Relocating to the Jacksonville region provided us a lot of advantages and the quality of life is unmatched, but the more time we spent in the area we realized how much opportunity there was in Northeast Florida,” said Mike Bell, vice president of public affairs and communications at Rayonier.
In 2014, Rayonier divided its land resources business from its performance fibers business, creating two independent publicly traded companies “As Rayonier has evolved, we have always continued to look for ways to maximize the value of our land holdings,” added Bell. “Our commitment to sustainable forestry efforts has remained constant, but through that exploration, the idea for Wildlight was born.”
Wildlight is a 2,900-acre mixed-use, master-planned development in Nassau County near Yulee that aims to create a sustainable and vibrant community with a mix of housing options along with commercial and retail spaces. As Wildlight develops, it will also contain the largest land conservation easement in the history of Northeast Florida, a 12,000+ acre Conservation Habitat Network. Wildlight is now the home of Rayonier’s corporate headquarters.
“Fulfilling the full vision of Wildlight will take 75 to 100 years – that means 3-4 generations will take part in its development,” said Wes Hinton, vice president of Wildlight. “Nassau County is a great place to live and it’s only going to get better as we create a community that both attracts people to Northeast Florida and lets locals stay local by having close access to key services and retail. Creating this kind of community is an amazing opportunity for Rayonier and the region.”
As Rayonier looks toward the future, they are committed to being a great partner to the community, their customers and 400+ employees, and continuing to provide nature-based solutions across its footprint.