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Veterans team up to turn around properties

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  • | 4:00 a.m. June 19, 2009
  • Sarasota
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Sensing an unfilled niche, a pair of veteran Sarasota developers is teaming up with a Tampa real estate marketer to create a broad-based development turn-around firm.

Jay Tallman and Tom Brown, owners of U.S. Asset Group, developed such landmarks as The Founders Club and Beau Ciel in Sarasota. They are partnering with Don Niederpruem, founding partner of the Tampa-based real estate marketing firm United Landmark Associates, to create Landmark Assets Group.

At this point, the new business is opened ended to respond to the deals that it finds. It will consult on projects for other owners, find investment capital or investors, manage properties, perform market research, sell off projects piecemeal if needed and even take some form or percentage of ownership as the deal warrants.

Given the partners’ lengthy backgrounds, the new company will also consider virtually all forms of real estate development, including condominiums, commercial, residential communities and clubs and resorts.

“There is an increasing need for this type of role player,” Tallman says. “This will evolve based on the specific opportunities that present themselves to us. We have a broad skill set. ”

The partnership came about naturally, Tallman says, driven by changes in the real estate marketplace, the three partners’ real estate experience and their long business relationship.

Niederpruem, who’s more recent successes include work for The Hyatt Resort in Clearwater Beach, Parkshore Plaza in St. Petersburg and The Plaza at Harbour Island in Tampa, actually led Brown and Tallman to team up.

In late 1998, Niederpruem steered Tallman, who had just left another company and was eyeing development opportunities in the Sarasota area, to a meeting with Brown, a developer Niederpruem had known since the mid 1980s.

“Don suggested we get together and talk because he felt our development approach was complimentary, and we had similar backgrounds,” Tallman says. “So we started talking and discovered we had a similar vision. We ended up as partners.”

That partnership birthed U.S. Asset Group, one of the development high flyers of the real estate boom in Sarasota.

The company developed and managed the Windsor and Orchid Island in Vero Beach.; En Provence and Whicker Inn Resort on Longboat Key; Orchid Beach Club on Lido Beach; Beau Ciel in downtown; and the large residential community The Founders Club in eastern Sarasota. Of those, U.S. Asset group still remains involved in selling home lots in The Founders Club and operates the beachfront rental the Whicker Inn Resort.

“I think [starting the new company] was excellent timing,” Tallman says. “We were fortunate to have sold off our condo projects prior to the downturn. U.S. Assets Group will continue to handle its remaining assets, but going forward this is where we are going to focus. ”
United Landmark Associates will still remain a separate marketing services company.

In the near term, the company will focus on networking with financial institutions and investor groups. The partners are already doing consulting work for the Longboat Key Club and other existing projects.

Tallman plans to keep the new company staff small and to use existing relationships from U.S. Asset Group as needed. The new company will be active both state and nationwide.

Tallman says, that although the downturn has been underway for a while now, the financial institutions are only now faced with holding particularly significant assets. The biggest challenge, he says, for the company starting out will be how to best selectively indentify the best opportunities and not to get bogged down on too many projects.