“I was looking in the downtown area for an apartment that would accommodate my fiancé, who was working on the Quay, and decided to check out Golden Gate Point,” recalls Angus Rogers, a young tycoon in the building industry. “I had passed it often since moving here in 1993, but never stopped to investigate. I drove all the way to the tip, and the minute I saw what was then called the Riviera Apartments, I envisioned a condo in its place. I said to myself, ‘yes, I can do that.’ But in my mind I saw a kind of architecture that would complement the landmarks in Sarasota, a style I call ‘Old World Mediterranean’ as opposed to ‘Mediterranean Revival.'”
Rogers was excited about the project that was only the gem of an idea, and immediately began to negotiate with the owner. He didn’t know then how difficult it would be to purchase the modest two-story fifties era apartment building. At one time it was typical of the affordable rentals that dotted the oddly shaped peninsula, and were slowly being replaced by big condominiums. Rusty Blix, who owned the building at the time, proved to be wily and formidable.
“It was a really hard sell,” Rogers recalls. “He had been approached by so many other developers, and had refused them. He wasn’t about to just hand over his property. He checked out my credit rating, my character references, and wanted to know exactly what kind of building would replace his. After a lot of arm-twisting and wrangling, we finally had a deal.”
That was three years ago, and just prior to consummating the sale, Rogers brought in Bob Roskamp and Phil Kaltenbacher as partners.
“I like to think of myself as the entrepreneur, the quarterback, in this kind of association,” Rogers explains. “Bob and Phil are the older and more experienced. I call them ‘value-added partners’ because they bring real estate savvy to the table. I’m the first to admit that I don’t know it all.”
The three men brainstormed, and decided their best bet was to enhance the embryonic design by taking advantage of the more recent, more lenient and appropriate regulations that governed building on Golden Gate Point. All the while, Rogers concentrated on his dream: to build something notable and memorable in Sarasota. It was his maternal grandfather, Angus Cousins, who was born in Scotland, who inspired his namesake to remain true to honest and dedicated principles. Rogers proudly sports the tartan of the Campbell clan when he wears his kilt to formal affairs, and says he was married in full regalia.
Dark haired and personable with a fresh-faced boyish look and a big smile, Rogers is forthcoming about his diverse background. He’s 46 years old and looks about 30.
We’re interrupted by a call on his cell phone, and he informs his office about the recent sale of 100 acres in Naples west or the Interstate, for a large, but undisclosed amount. It is a typical business day for Rogers.
The oldest of five children, he says he was serious as a child, because he was the role model for his younger siblings and helped raise them. He grew up in St. Croix in the islands until he finished fourth grade before his parents, Gene who was working in the construction industry, and Rita Rogers, moved the family to Puerto Rico in 1968 where son Angus attended elementary and high school. After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Michigan to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, and then moved to California to try his hand as a sales engineer. Meanwhile, his family relocated to Orlando.
“It was a culture shock while I was growing up.” Rogers says. “I was the only white kid on my St. Croix school, and one of the handfuls of Anglo-Saxons at Jesuit High School in Puerto Rico. Then I finally went to schools where people spoke English.”
Eight years ago, the Rogers family relocated to Sarasota. They had been living in Orlando but wanted a home close to the water. They narrowed their choice to the West Coast, specifically Naples and Sarasota, and decided on Sarasota as a better environment for young people.
In 1985, Rogers returned from California to work with his parents in real estate, focusing on mobile home park transactions, and in the process, became familiar with the entire area. By that time, he says, he was able to pinpoint choice locations. When he chanced on Golden Gate Point, he recognized it as his ‘golden opportunity.”
Rogers teamed up with Roskamp and Kaltenbacher, long time residents of Sarasota, to design and develop Grande Riviera. Founder of Floridays Development Company in 1990, now headquartered in Sarasota, Rogers heads the development team. An award-winning developer, he represents more than two decades of experience creating residential, commercial and resort developments throughout Florida.
“Uniting with renowned experience of Las Casitas Architecture, Rogers and his associates continue their trend of bringing the finest architectural designs into harmony with unique aspects of the site and current desires of the marketplace,” their brochure reads.
Grande Riviera embodies that concept. Diane and Bob Roskamp are so pleased with the premier site that they have purchased the penthouse, and Angus Rogers and his wife have reserved one of the units. Once an eligible bachelor, Rogers was recently married for the first time, Jackie Riccardo, whom he met through mutual friends.
The features of the tastefully designed condos are what attracts prospective customers: ten foot high ceilings; private elevators, grand exterior residences and balconies; fireplaces; eight-foot high solid-core raised panel interior doors with upscale hardware; spacious walk-in closets. The list goes on, including all the latest high-tech state of the art systems and architectural elements. The amazing waterfront vistas, alone, are enough to inspire a client to sign the dotted line.
“Sarasota’s Ultimate Pointe of View,” as described by Prudential Palms Realty, which represents the condominium sales, in an apt description. “Where the Golden Gate Peninsula tucks into Sarasota Bay, there comes an elegant new address of grace and beauty, on the southernmost tip of the point, overlooking a blanket of blue bay rippling out to the Gulf of Mexico horizon,” they enthuse.
Rogers is proud of his success, but is quick tp point out ” I started out with nothing, and try to stay humble. It’s my great upbringing and work ethics that have influenced me all along.”
The busy young man says he lets off steam with martial arts and snow skiing while continuing to plan interesting projects. Currently, he and his partners, Roskamp and Kaltenbacher, along with Gary Steadman, who work with him ‘in the trenches,’ as he puts it, are breaking ground next to Sea World in Orlando, for a condominium destination resort.
“It’s great to be on top, but my parents remind me that it took me fifteen years to become an overnight success,” Rogers quips in conclusion.