Sep 2005 Developers Create a Quilt of Projects

Gary Steadman and Angus Rogers, Principal and Founder of Floridays Development Co. SARASOTA — There is no telling what Angus Rogers and Gary Steadman might build next.

Their portfolio includes the Grande Riviera condominiums on Golden Gate Point, an assisted living center in South Florida, a single-family home on Longboat Key, a nearly $300 million condo-resort project near SeaWorld, and a 400-home subdivision in Parrish.

You get the feeling they would build a treehouse if they happened upon an oak with branches in just the right configuration.

“We find stuff, then look for the best usage,” Steadman says.

Their flexibility is a defining characteristic of Floridays Development Co., which the two operate from a small office suite off South Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota.

By keeping their corporate structure lean and overhead low (no secretaries), they are free to pursue projects of varying size and complexity.

“We prefer to put our money into our deals,” Rogers says. “Not our company.”

It certainly helps that some heavy hitters in Sarasota’s investment community, like philanthropist Bob Roskamp, believe in the company.

In fact, a majority of their deals develop through professional contacts or chance encounters with a piece of property, rather than from a Multiple Listing Service.

The deal for the property where the Grande Riviera condos now stand happened after Rogers drove to Golden Gate Point to look at apartments. He left awestruck by the vistas, and spent six months persuading the owner of an apartment building on Golden Gate to sell.

After buying acreage off International Drive near SeaWorld, Rogers fine-tuned an idea for a condo-resort on the property with a hotel.

The deal grew into their biggest venture to date, a 432-unit luxury resort condominium complex. They expect sales to gross $300 million by the time it sells out.

Rogers, 46, grew up in the Caribbean and was a student-athlete at the University of Michigan.

He earned a master’s degree in engineering, completing his thesis work in design. He played soccer and volleyball, and was a backup placekicker under legendary football coach Bo Schembechler.

After graduation, he worked as an engineer in California before moving to Central Florida, where his family owned and operated mobile home and RV parks.

He began developing mobile home and RV parks, forming Floridays in 1990. Several years later, he began looking for a new home for the company, somewhere centrally located along the state’s west coast.

“Someplace nice,” he said. “Like Sarasota.”

He spent the next eight years expanding the company, finally coming to the realization that he needed help.

By chance, Steadman had moved to Sarasota and was looking for development deals. He heard about Rogers and called him in 2001. The two have been partners ever since.

Steadman, 59, grew up in Chicago and earned an accounting degree and then a law degree from the University of Illinois.

He developed and operated large-scale resort communities in the Southeast for more than 25 years, working for companies in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina before moving to Tampa in search of his own development deals. He eventually found Rogers in Sarasota.

A search for partners for the Grande Riviera deal led Rogers to Roskamp and Phil Kaltenbacher, who became partners on that deal and several others, offering equity and experience.

Roskamp says Rogers brings energy and integrity to the deals he makes.

“Working through Angus is a delight,” Roskamp says. “You have to put reins on him to hold him back, rather than having to push him. He truly is a nice guy, and a good entrepreneur.”

Standing beside the Grande Riviera under bright blue skies on a recent morning, Rogers and Steadman looked over their signature project.

The Mediterranean style, the gold dome, the imported front doors, even the color scheme, were products of Rogers’ design background.

The deal was typical of how Floridays projects develop.

After seeing potential in the land where the aging Riviera Apartments stood, Rogers began talking to the owner, Rusty Blix, who had his own ideas about what he wanted out of the property’s sale.

Six months later, they had a deal.

“He was very upright and everything was on the table,” Blix said. “He’s a very upstanding fellow to deal with.”

All but one of the 13 condos at the Grande Riviera had been sold as of last week. Rogers and his wife will be moving into one of the units themselves.

Roskamp and his wife bought a condo above them.

With the Grande Riviera nearly completed, Rogers and Steadman will turn their attention to the 400-home subdivision near Parrish, in East Manatee County, and a multifamily project near Naples, among other deals.

“We are opportunity driven.” Rogers says. “That’s the way I’ve tried to build the company.”