SOURCE: Seaside

Seaside

May 16, 2012 13:08 ET

Patient Investing by Developer Allows Seaside to Thrive as New Urban Icon Celebrates 30th Year

SEASIDE, FL--(Marketwire - May 16, 2012) - Why has Seaside, Florida, the icon of New Urbanism, thrived while many of its neighbors on the Gulf Coast have gone belly up during the Great Recession? "Patient investing," says town founder Robert Davis. Davis chose to pursue the patient investment model after nearly losing a project due to a market downturn in the 1970s. Over the past 30 years, Davis and his wife, Daryl, who helped create Seaside, have stuck with the development as a long term investment, rather than going for quick rewards in the short term.

Davis began his real estate development career in South Florida, building Serendipity, a successful Coconut Grove housing development in 1973-74 followed by a larger project, Apogee. After nearly losing Apogee to the bank, he vowed to practice patient investing. Over the past 30 years, Davis borrowed very small amounts of money to build in very small increments in Seaside and purposefully carried a small inventory, generally ten to twenty lots at a time. The Seaside lot value has increased from $15,000 in the early 1980s to $1 million plus today.

Davis held onto most of Seaside's beachfront through the late 1990s. His wife Daryl opened a number of retail shops in the downtown and beach areas. In 1998, the Davises received a proposal from a developer to buy a small piece of land to build a beachfront hotel. In researching it, the recommendation was that beachfront property would sell for a great deal more if sold as single-family lots, a plan that has proven profitable.

About Seaside

Seaside, built on 80 acres on Florida's Gulf Coast, has been acclaimed worldwide as one of the iconic examples of New Urbanism. The town, which is celebrating its 30th year, was built by Founders Robert and Daryl Davis. The town code was designed by noted architects Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. According to Newsweek, "Seaside -- with its cozy, narrow streets, its jumble of pastel colored homes -- is probably the most influential resort community since Versailles." Seaside is located between Panama City and Destin and consists of over 300 homes, more than 12 restaurants and eateries and 41 shops and galleries. For more information, visit www.seasidefl.com or call 850-231-6106.

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