September 1, 2014

Economic yearbook 2011

Florida's Biggest Private Landowners

The 10 — which own about a tenth of the state — will play a key role in Florida's future.

Cynthia Barnett | 4/1/2011

3 Foley Timber Co.

Foley Timber Co.
[Photo: Carlton Ward Jr.]

Privately owned by California businessmen Howard Leach and Robert Day
Florida acres: 562,000
Headquarters: Perry

Spreading out from Perry in Taylor County, Foley Timber's 562,000 acres make up the largest contiguous privately owned tract in Florida, and one of the largest east of the Mississippi River. Consumer-product giant Procter & Gamble owned the land through the 1980s before selling its Perry pulp mill to Memphis-based Buckeye Technologies and forest lands to Howard Leach, U.S. ambassador to France from 2001-05, and Robert Day, chairman of the Trust Company of the West.

Foley's local leaders are Travis McCoy, senior vice president for woodlands, and Bo Taff, senior vice president for planning, a former economic developer in the governor's office under Jeb Bush.

The company recently completed a 128,000-acre master land-use plan for mixed-use development and agricultural-preservation lands in Taylor County. The vast majority of its lands will remain in trees. But the plan calls for a series of villages along the coast and four regional employment centers around Perry, where locals hope to land new-economy industries such as alternative-energy firms. Foley recently sold a tract in one of the newly designated commercial areas to Nautilus Solar. A solar-panel farm will soon replace a pine tree farm.

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