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Commercial Real Estate Profile: Rick Harcrow | Developer, Tampa and Sarasota

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  • | 11:00 a.m. September 18, 2015
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Rick Harcrow and his company, GreenPointe Communities, could have more influence on Sarasota's future — from an urban planning perspective, at least — than anyone since John Ringling established winter quarters in the area decades ago.

As GreenPointe's regional president, Harcrow will be the point person for the long-awaited redevelopment of the former Sarasota Quay site — a 15-acre, waterfront tract that many consider among the most valuable undeveloped urban properties in Florida. GreenPointe acquired the property late last year for $27 million.

Though hurdles at the Quay are high — including the need to invest as much as $50 million in infrastructure before vertical construction can begin — Harcrow's background seems suited to the task.

“He's a very smart guy, and he understands urban development,” says Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who has known Harcrow for more than two decades. “He's a talent, and if he's involved in a project in Sarasota, they are going to do the right thing by the community.”

In addition to spending a decade in the development business, Harcrow worked for a pair of law firms and Hillsborough County navigating often thorny planning issues.

At the Quay, GreenPointe is contemplating a series of residential towers, a 175-room hotel, retail and restaurants and public spaces that could include an amphitheater and an event plaza.

“He's a great planner and was the perfect hire for us,” says GreenPointe founder Ed Burr of Harcrow. “The Quay is an important project for Sarasota, so it was important to get the right person to lead our efforts and Rick fit the bill.”

Though plans are preliminary, GreenPointe hopes to file an updated Quay site plan by year-end and begin construction in 2016.

“We're approaching this site as an opportunity for place-making,” says Harcrow, 57. “We believe that's the best way to create a legacy that the city can be proud of.”

He adds that the Quay represents a unique opportunity because it is flanked by the Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt Regency and Hotel Indigo, and is within walking distance to the Rosemary District where some 1,400 new apartment units are planned.

“I don't think there's a better site one could be associated with in the state right now,” Harcrow says.

A Mississippi native, Harcrow moved to Florida in 1981 to practice landscape architecture and planning. In time, he became a development project manager and a member of a joint Tampa/Hillsborough County planning commission, where he worked for a decade grappling with “cutting edge” growth management issues.

From there, Harcrow worked for the predecessor firm of DLA Piper and Tew & Associates, where he helped real estate clients to coordinate planning efforts and shepherd projects through approval processes from planning commissions and architectural review boards to city and county commissions.

In 2003, Harcrow joined GL Homes, of Sunrise, a prominent Florida homebuilder, and three years later was named senior vice president of operations at Newland Real Estate Group, a San Diego-based development firm with operations nationwide.

During his more than eight years at Newland, Harcrow helped bring the master-planned Fishhawk Ranch in east Hillsborough County to life. There, Harcrow blended residential and commercial aspects with urban design elements.

With GreenPointe, Harcrow will be able to bring all if his diverse skills to bear.

“What drew me to GreenPointe is Ed Burr's created a very diversified real estate company that does projects ranging from urban infill to condos on the beach to master-planned communities,” he says.


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