SANTA ROSA BEACH — The St. Joe Company and Sacred Heart Health System broke ground Tuesday on a new health care facility along U.S. Highway 98 at Watersound Origins near the Bay County line. 

The Sacred Heart project will initially open as a 6,700-square-foot multi-specialty ambulatory clinic offering primary care and OB/GYN services. Development plans also will allow for an expansion to a 13,000-square-foot complex that would provide additional specialty care services. 

"This is a long-awaited project for primary care here," said Roger Hall, regional president for Sacred Heart. "It's the first of two physicians. We hope to eventually have four to six physicians here in this location. The thing we always want to do is change health care. The way to change health care is by giving access. Access is a tremendous issue with the growing community, making sure we have enough physicians."

The facility is all part of the second phase of St. Joe's 50-year, approximately 110,500-acre project called the Bay-Walton Sector Plan that will offer housing and commercial space.

Watersound Origins, a mixed-use community within the Bay-Walton Sector Plan where the health care facility will be built, will include more than 400,000 square feet of retail and office space. St. Joe also received entitlements to develop 1,074 single-family homes and 256 multi-family units.

The Sacred Heart project is slates to be completed next spring.