Community Business: What’s ahead for Crocker Partners in Boca, PBC?


Crocker Partners developed many retail and office properties in Boca Raton, including the signature Mizner Park shopping, living and dining destination downtown.

Now Crocker Partners has promoted Angelo Bianco, a senior executive, to the position of managing partner.

He’ll lead the effort to oversee numerous properties Crocker built or owns, including the Boca Center, a prize mixed-use project in the city’s center. Crocker built the Military Trail office/retail/shops complex years ago, sold it, and then bought it back in late 2014.

Now Crocker wants to build apartments and shops in this central part of the city, as the area continues to boom in population. Nearby, developers who own the Glades Plaza and the bowling alley also are working on plans to build apartments and shops, too.

It’s all part of a concept called Midtown Boca, and the concept has developers urging city officials to create the rules by which they can then put pen to paper and submit plans.

“We’d love to really make something special here, and so we got together and created an identity for our neighborhood,” Bianco said.

Such a move is not without backlash from city residents already alarmed by the tall buildings and increased traffic in the city’s downtown. In fact, the backlash helped elect slow-growth proponent Andrea O’Roarke to city council in the March 14 election.

But Bianco says redoing the city’s central district could cut down on traffic. He wants to create an environment where people can live in apartments, go downstairs to eat or take a shuttle to shop, all of which he said will take cars off the road.

If Crocker and other nearby developers have their way, the Military Trail corridor will be a destination for more fine dining restaurants, plus residential areas they hope to build — if they can get the city’s OK.

Name: Angelo Bianco

Age: 48

Hometown: Barrington, R.I.

Education: George Washington University, B.B.A. ’90 and University of Virginia School of Law ‘93

Family: Wife, Mari, and three children ages 7, 7 (twins), and 4.

About your company (revenue, clients/caseload, employees, mission): Crocker Partners, headquartered in Boca Raton, with regional offices in Atlanta and Jacksonville, is a leading owner and developer of high profile office and mixed-use properties throughout major markets in the Southeastern U.S. and Texas. The company’s current portfolio of nearly 9 million square feet is valued at over $2 billion. Crocker Partners is one of the largest owners of Class A office space in Miami, Boca Raton, and Jacksonville, with major holdings in West Palm Beach, Orlando and Atlanta.

First paying job and what you learned from it: Dishwasher. Stay in school.

First break in the business: After negotiating a lease on behalf of a retail tenant at Rockefeller Center, the business contact at Tishman Speyer Properties offered me a job, which allowed me to transition from legal into business.

How your business has changed: Technology has substantially changed commercial real estate over the past 24 years. Retail has been and will continue to be disrupted by e-commerce — causing ownership to adapt their tenant mix to survive in an area in which each year more shoppers purchase items on line. Conversely, industrial space has been beneficially impacted by e-commerce as sellers look to store more goods closer to their customers. Office space use per office worker has shrunk dramatically as technology has reduced the need for libraries, file cabinets, stenos and administrative assistants coupled with a new “open space” office planning concept which radically reduces the number of private offices. The sharing economy has dealt a significant blow against the hotel industry as services like Airbnb and Travelocity continue to take customers away or reduce their revenue per guest.

Best business book: “The Great Gatsby” – it’s a reminder to be wary of the unbridled pursuit of money and that it cannot buy you happiness. Do what you love instead.

Best piece of business advice you received: You cannot fix bad real estate with pricing.

What you tell young people about your business: Think small. Rather than seeking a job in a large real estate company, focus on smaller transactions in your backyard. They offer many if not all of the same challenges and rewards of larger deals, but allow you to have more personal freedom.

Many successful people learn from failure. Do you have a failure you can share and what you learned from it? In the past, I spent too much time deliberating over potential consequences of a decision I had to make. I learned that over-planning can often lead to worse results than going with your gut reaction.

What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? Continued, healthy growth concentrated within our markets that embody live, work and play characteristics which are in demand today. Markets like Delray Beach will disproportionately gain in this growth while those who do not adapt will see comparatively lower growth and real estate values.

Power lunch spot: Max’s Grill, Mizner Park.

Where we’d find you when you’re not at the office: At home with my family.

Favorite smartphone app: Dunkin’ Donuts.

What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? Creativity. I can teach people what to do in the job, but I cannot teach them how to be creative.



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