August 20, 2014

TopRank Florida

Influentials - Top 150 Public Companies

| 6/1/2010

Real Estate

Britt Greene
Britt Greene is turning St. Joe’s attention to building an inland port.
[Photo:Rick Wilson/Florida Times-Union]

Formed in 1960 as a spinoff of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Co., Alico (Public No. 109) is one of Florida’s leading agricultural and land management firms. The agribusiness giant dabbles in everything from cattle ranching, sugarcane and citrus to land leasing and rentals, rock and sand mining and real estate sales activities. President and CEO J.D. Alexander, the grandson of citrus baron Ben Hill Griffin Jr., is a state senator who serves in the powerful position of budget chief.

» While St. Joe Co. (Public No. 95) is no longer Florida’s largest landowner — Plum Creek holds that title — it’s a close second, still owning around 580,000 acres concentrated primarily in northwest Florida between Tallahassee and Destin. Under President and CEO Britt Greene, the company has focused most of its recent efforts on securing a new airport for the region and developing 71,000 acres it owns surrounding the airport in central Bay County.

» As president and CEO of the Lennar Corp. (Public No. 21), Stuart Miller has helped grow his father’s company into one of the largest home builders in the United States. Sales plummeted during the housing crisis, but the company moved back into land acquisition earlier than its competitors, an aggressive move that has given the company a leg up as business picks up.

» Former heavyweight WCI Communities (not ranked) emerged from bankruptcy in September. It still owns 7,966 acres in Florida, but it remains to be seen whether under CEO David Fry the Bonita Springs-based luxury builder, which liquidated a significant amount of its land holdings to shed $2 billion of debt and liabilities, can reacquire the clout that made it a powerhouse under former CEO Al Hoffman.

» Westgate Resorts (Private No. 22), the real estate development firm David Siegel started out of a small office in his garage in 1970, is today the largest privately held timeshare company in the world, with 28 resorts and 400,000 owners worldwide. Siegel’s Orlando-based empire employs more than 6,500.

» An hour north of Orlando, The Villages (Private No. 35) is the largest single-site residential real estate development in the United States with more than 38,000 homes spanning more than 26,000 acres in three adjoining counties in central Florida. The 78,000-person golf-cart community also enjoys considerable political heft, having earned a reputation as a GOP stronghold where Republican politicians often come to stump for votes. Owner and developer H. Gary Morse is a major GOP contributor.

» From his high-rise office in Fort Lauderdale, Terry Stiles, CEO of the Stiles Corp. (Private No. 142), has a grand view of the skyline he helped shape. Under his direction, the small construction company his father founded in 1951 has grown into a commercial real estate powerhouse that has partnered with everyone from H. Wayne Huizenga to the Tribune Co. on various projects. The company is responsible for more than 37 million square feet of office, industrial, retail and mixed-used residential projects throughout Florida and the Southeast.

» In 1962, William Graham and his brothers, former Washington Post publisher Phil Graham and former Sen. Bob Graham began transforming 3,000 acres of their father’s Dade County dairy farm land into a town where people could live, work and play. The Graham Cos. (Private No. 170) remains Miami Lakes’ largest landowner with holdings that include the 200-acre Don Shula’s Hotel & Golf Club, a 300-room hotel, a golf course, an Athletic Club facility, 1,500 apartments and more than two million square feet of office, retail and industrial space.

» Jorge Perez, chief executive of The Related Group (Private No. 38), has reshaped the south Florida skyline with high-profile condos from Miami Beach to West Palm Beach. Following the recent downturn, Perez has turned his attention to some less glamorous projects, including an affordable housing project in Little Havana and using a $1-billion investor fund to buy up troubled real estate. Related Group is the largest Hispanic-owned business in the nation. — Amy Keller

Tags: Agriculture, Banking & Finance

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