The Great Developers, 1920s and Today is the topic for the upcoming Conversation at The Crocker
Real Estate expert Harold Bubil will converse with three developers who have had a major impact on shaping modern Sarasota. What is the process of development? Their limits? How do they survive boom and bust?
In many ways the history of Sarasota, and indeed all of Florida, is the history of real estate. And playing a major role in that long saga of boom, bust, progress and preservation are the great developers of the past, recent past and present.
Are developers visionaries who shape the land for progress, or villains who rape the land for profit? “Nothing so absolute or dramatic,” says Harold Bubil, Real Estate Editor at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. He will lead a conversation about the influence of great developers who have come to Florida to realize personal ambitions and specific visions of towns and communities rising from the sand.
This conversation takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street in Sarasota’s Pioneer Park. The event is free to Historical Society members and students and $10 for guests who may pay at the door.
Joining the conversation with Bubil are Jay Tallman (Founders Club and several beachfront condominiums), Kevin Daves (Ritz Carlton Sarasota and The Concession) and Pat Neal (10,000 private residences since the 1970s and still counting).
“I’ll frame the conversation by briefly taking us back to Sarasota’s settlement era then jump ahead the great Florida Land Boom of the 1920s when dreamers created great cities from swamp and scrub,” said Bubil. “But most of our conversation will deal with what happened to Sarasota during the postwar boom, which has continued to the present day with but brief pauses – and one notable long death march – in the cycle of growth. We’ll concentrate on the achievements of the influential dreamers, builders and salesmen who have shaped Florida from the 1950s up until today.”
Adding to the conversation is special guest Rolland King, who co-developed South Gate (“the Lakewood Ranch of its day,” said Bubil), Forest Lakes and other developments from citrus groves in the 1950s and 1960s.
Bubil says he understands that development is a controversial topic, especially when the expansion of homes, businesses, malls and massive condominium towers come up against environmental concerns.
“I often get emails and phone calls at the paper disputing or damning something about development that we’ve printed,” says Bubil. “So, we will be talking about responsible development and growth, citing successful and not so successful projects. The three developers on the stage with me, and our special guest have a long history of dealing with all aspects of balancing land use with land preservation. One of our conversationalists served in the State Legislature and can offer that perspective.”
Organized by the Historical Society of Sarasota County and sponsored by SARASOTA Magazine, the “Conversations at The Crocker” series highlights specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examines pivotal events and people who have influenced today’s Sarasota.
All Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds from this series help to maintain the Historical Society’s two heritage properties at Pioneer Park – the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events.
Co-chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. President of the Historical Society of Sarasota County is Howard Rosenthal. Annual membership in the Historical Society is $30. For more information contact site manager Linda Garcia at 941-364-9076.