Issue 230, May 26, 2024

I just returned from my vacation in Rome, Naples, Greece and Turkey. It was amazing to see all the history and ruins going as far back as 2500 years ago. My wife and I had scheduled this trip in February 2020 with a cruise date of May 2021. Well as you know that was a bad year for cruise lines or any other travel due to Covid. We postponed our trip to 2022, still not a good year! We finally got to go this month. It was a perfect trip with great weather. Now it’s back to reality!

This last week’s meeting was good to see everyone who came. It was good to see Jay Cann at the meeting, a member since the early 90’s. If you have not been in some time please consider coming back, we would love to have you!

Our speaker last week was Michael Balanky, CEO of Chase Properties, he reflected on his journey and experiences in the real estate industry, emphasizing the entrepreneurial spirit that has shaped Jacksonville. He recounted how his entry into real estate began with flipping a shopping center in 1993, leading to the establishment of Chase Properties. Balanky highlighted the importance of being opportunistic and adaptable in real estate, rather than specializing in a single sector, and shared examples of diverse projects his company has undertaken, from residential condominiums to active adult communities.

Balanky also discussed the concept of creating “critical mass” in development, where a project becomes self-sustaining and drives further growth. He illustrated this with several projects in Jacksonville, such as the St. Johns Town Center and various residential and commercial developments. He emphasized the need for political will, vision, and execution to drive successful urban development and highlighted the challenges and successes in working with public-private partnerships.

Balanky stressed the importance of cohesive and strategic planning, urging city officials to work collaboratively and utilize sophisticated tools for development. He pointed out issues like inconsistent RFP processes and the need for clear, concise, and politically supported development plans. He concluded by expressing optimism about Jacksonville’s potential, drawing comparisons to successful urban revitalizations in cities like Nashville and St. Petersburg, and underscoring the need for urgency and effective execution in Jacksonville’s growth plans.

Mike Best
2024 President

President Message Archive