October 22, 2014

Syd Kitson: Weathering the Perfect Storm

Ginger Broslat | 1/1/2009

Syd Kitson
Sydney (Syd) Kitson
Chairman and CEO
Kitson & Partners, West Palm Beach

[Photo: Michael Price]
Back in the early 1980s when Syd Kitson was protecting his quarterback as an offensive guard for the Green Bay Packers, he had to concentrate his focus on individual threats from opponents, while maintaining a broad view of the field.

Over his last two decades in real estate development, Kitson has needed a similar ability to see and evaluate both immediate and long-term situations. In the current economy, his firm, Kitson & Partners, has had to deal with a growing number of challenges requiring concentrated attention.

“This economy is certainly in a ‘perfect storm,’” he says. “It’s an economic crisis brought on by a severely depressed housing market, deleveraging of financial systems and a global recession.”

But Kitson says his team is still playing offense. “We believe that the housing market will lead a [national] recovery, and that Florida will be at the forefront of that recovery.” He’s looking for two key indicators to know it’s on its way: stabilization in the economy and absorption in the housing market.

After the storm clears, he says, things will look different.

“I think what people will be looking for in housing will change, as far as size and efficiency goes. They’ll be looking for more green communities.” His firm plans for that preference as it continues progress on Babcock Ranch, the 19,000-acre development straddling Lee and Charlotte counties.

“The bottom line is, we will recover,” says Kitson. “Florida is a great place to live ... people will continue to come.” His optimism extends to the national picture: “We will recover and come out even stronger.”

Tags: Housing/Construction

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