As part of its “Conversations with the Best Minds in Real Estate” series, Strategic Property Partners’ (SPP) CEO James Nozar spoke to RCLCO Real Estate Advisors in a podcast released earlier this month.
The executive at SPP, a joint venture between Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, is leading the effort in downtown Tampa to develop Water Street Tampa.
In all, the 56-acre neighborhood is expected to contain more than 9.5 million square feet of new residential and commercial space valued in excess of $3 billion at built out, and be among the most transformational urban projects in the entire U.S. upon completion.
“We’re trying to challenge the norm, think outside the box, and be as innovative as possible and with everything we do we’re thinking for the long-term enduring value,” Nozar told RCLCO’s Adam Ducker in the nearly 44-minute podcast.
Nozar also says building SPP, which today has 63 employees, has been both challenging and rewarding.
“Picking up and moving to a new market, and having to build a team from scratch was incredibly exciting for me and fun,” says Nozar, who joined SPP in March 2016 after a decade working at JBG Cos. in Washington, D.C.
Previously, the Charlotte, N.C.-native had worked as a consultant at Ernst & Young and RCLCO.
“Balancing the creative side with the numbers side with the people side makes for a successful developer, I think,” Nozar says. “I’ve been fortunate to have been exposed to all three of those components in my career, and that gives me a different perspective from others in the field.”
He notes the biggest challenge surrounding Water Street Tampa has come in luring outsiders to the project.
“The hardest part has just been changing people’s perceptions of what they think Florida is, what they think Tampa is,” he says. “Just getting them there and letting them see it.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise from the interview is that SPP may live long after Water Street Tampa is completed in 2024 or 2025.
Nozar says the company is already exploring options in other urban settings for redevelopment projects.
“We’re already talking to other potential partners and looking at other opportunities,” Nozar says. “We’re looking at opportunities in Tampa, around Tampa Bay, and beyond, a lot of other markets that have similar characteristics to Tampa that may not have the level of savvy or investment capacity that we can bring.”