Good morning. Thanks for your question. The Northside has experienced rapid growth over the past 7 - 10 years. Relatively new is River City Marketplace with a large selection of major retailers restaurants and Hollywood movie theatre. A host of new subdivisions and communities have sprung up over the past several years. With the expansion of the port and a recently awarded $427 million dollar Sierra Nevada, Embraer Air Force contract the area will most likely continue to progress for the foreseeable future.
The Northeast (East of I 95) side of Jacksonville has number of varied communities depending on what you're looking for. There are brand new subdivisions with very nice affordable homes (Cedar Bay comes to mind) and older, historic neighborhoods like Northshore with it's traditional brick homes tucked in along the Trout River.
Schools can vary depending on the actual community you decide to live in. Below I have included a link to the Duval County Schools website. From here you can search schools by zip code and see how each school performs. If I can be of any help in this process, please let me know.
I live on the Northside and think it is a wonderful area with tremendous housing value. Please feel free to contact me anytime at (904) 234-4755. It would be my distinct pleasure to be of service.
Best regards - Brian