Why is an eclectic tycoon with a passion for pyramids soiling his suits in the real estate trenches of southern
"To succeed, you have to get the aesthetics right," he says.
Pretentious? Perhaps. But indeed, Collier's heated battle with environmentalists in his hometown of
As environmental concerns heat up in the "green" decade of the 90s, the showdown between Collier and his
Nonetheless, Collier, 45, doesn't see himself as a robber baron from out of state. Scion of a family judged by Forbes magazine to be worth more than $400 million, he is the grandson of a
The younger Collier says he has offered to compromise on the
But for now, he and his foes are at a standstill. Twice, the Naples City Council voted unanimously to deny Collier a permit to dredge a pair of channels to the marina he wants to build near his proposed residential community. In 1990,
But Collier shows no signs of giving up the fight. Instead, he has painstakingly assembled a team of high-priced lawyers to appeal the city's rejection to the state. He expects, before long, to take the battle to court.
Collier was working as a venture capitalist in
At a time when many of the nation's high-flying real estate developers have run into considerable financial trouble, observers say that Collier and his company remain solid. The reason: Collier Enterprises often builds on its own land rather than leveraging its assets by taking out bank loans, says Richard Myers, president of the Naples Chamber of Commerce.
"He's doing the right things and making the right moves," Myers says. "He's an extremely high quality developer."