Miles Collier

Why is an eclectic tycoon with a passion for pyramids soiling his suits in the real estate trenches of southern Florida? Miles Collier, managing partner of development firm Collier Enterprises, reckons it’s a matter of perfecting the concept of business as art.

“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 Naples, FL, centers on opposing concepts of beauty. In the eye of one beholder-Collier-the $600 million waterfront golf community he wants to build is beautiful. By contrast, the conservation-minded Naples City Council finds untouched acreage far more appealing than another Floridian playground for the rich.

As environmental concerns heat up in the “green” decade of the 90s, the showdown between Collier and his Naples opponents is emblematic of disputes nationwide between other real estate developers and state and local governments.

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 New York advertising magnate who, in the 1920s, owned 1.3 million acres of prime property along Florida‘s southwest coast-where Naples and surrounding Collier County stand today.

The younger Collier says he has offered to compromise on the Sabal Bay project, leaving more than 1,000 acres untouched.

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, Naples residents voted in a slate of four city council members based solely on their opposition to Collier and his project.

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 New York in the 1970s when he decided that his relatives were mismanaging the Florida land holdings. In 1980, Collier, his mother, and two brothers split off from the rest of the family and formed Collier Enterprises. The diversified company has built skyscrapers and other buildings, shopping centers, and housing developments. It also manages a $100 million investment portfolio.

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.” 


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.