Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, Buffalo group honors Benderson Development founder
Nearly eight years after his passing, the founder of University Park-based Benderson Development Co. has been recognized with a pair of significant awards for his business and philanthropic work.
Last last month, the Sarasota-based Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX) presented Nathan Benderson with its posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for 2020, granted to individuals “in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service and contributions to the GCBX, the commercial contracting industry and the community.”
Randy Benderson, the development company’s president, describes his father as a “visionary in business, philanthropy and life itself” in a video made for the GCBX event.
‘He was insightful, and very ahead of his time,” Benderson added. “He saw things no one else could.”
The elder Benderson, who died in April 2012 at 94, began his business career in Buffalo, N.Y., collecting used bottles from breweries to resell to soft drink makers. Though local lenders expected him to fail, Benderson persevered and transitioned into redeveloping properties in Upstate New York.
Dedicated and focused, the elder Benderson’s leadership transformed the company he created into one of the largest privately held commercial real estate developers in the nation, with roughly 750 properties containing more than 40 million square feet in 38 states.
The GCBX award follows by three months Benderson’s induction into the Western New York Business Hall of Fame.
He becomes one of just 29 individuals — together with legendary comedienne Lucille Ball, F.W. Woolworth Co. co-founder Seymour Knox and Mary Burnett Talbert, who co-founded a group that morphed into today’s NAACP — to be named to the Hall, which was formed in 2017.
In Sarasota, Nathan Benderson is credited with spearheading the idea of developing the Mall at University Town Center and its surrounding retail space, whose stores generate sales in excess of $1 billion annually.
Nathan Benderson also has been recognized for philanthropic efforts benefitting numerous causes, including animal welfare. Nate’s Honor Rescue of Manatee County is named after him.
“He was keenly aware of the suffering of others,” Randy Benderson says in the GCBX video.