tampabay.com

DeBartolo exec goes his own way

By KRIS HUNDLEY
Published December 16, 2005


An executive who played a role in the development of several landmark office projects in Tampa, including Highwoods Preserve and the IBM building on Rocky Point, is starting a real estate firm. And he's tapped some well-connected friends as partners.

Scott "Skipper" Peek, 47, is leaving his job as executive vice president of Tampa's DeBartolo Property Group at the end of the year to form Pinnacle Realty Advisors in Ybor City.

Joining him as investors and advisers are:

Tampa architects and brothers Carlos and Albert Alfonso.

Larry Heard, chairman of Platinum Bank in Tampa.

Joe Williams, president of Tampa's Kimmins Contracting.

Jim Heistand, chief executive of Capital Partners in Tampa.

Casey Cummings, president of Ram Development Co. in West Palm Beach.

Bill Peek, Scott Peek's brother and chief executive of Tampa's Industrial Brake and Friction Products.

Sandy Bonham, who has worked with Peek for the past decade, will join Pinnacle as development coordinator.

Day to day operations will be handled by Peek and Bonham, who was with Peek at Highwoods Properties before they joined DeBartolo in 2001.

"The rest of the partners will continue to have vibrant day jobs," he said. "But I'll rely on them heavily for advice, guidance and deal flow."

Peek, who has seven children ranging in age from 8-year-old twins to 21, said he has considered the risk of launching a development company in a cooling real estate market.

"The market is not going to be as forgiving as it's been the last six or seven years," said Peek, whose company will focus on projects in the Southeast. "But in this region, there will still be lots of job and population growth driving demand for real estate of all sorts. If condos are in a deceleration mode, office will be in an uptick and retail will be steady."

Peek, who has a finance degree from the University of Florida, said he expected deals to be more expensive as land and construction costs continue to rise.

"Money won't be as free-flowing as it has been," he said. "But if you have a good product, sponsorship and experience, there will continue to be dollars."

Pinnacle hopes to announce its first deal in the first half of 2006 and Peek said a shakeout among proposed projects could offer some opportunities.

"I think there will be some dissonance in the market in the months ahead," he said. "I'll be sorting through the opportunities and the land mines."

Kris Hundley can be reached at hundley@sptimes.com or 727 892-2996.