When Granvil Tracy graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy in 1973, he knew he had the fortitude to cut his teeth in the real world. Instead of opting for a college or university to help him forge his path to becoming a real estate developer, Tracy, who had attended Farragut for four years, returned to his hometown of Miami to begin designing his future where all buildings get their tangible start — on the construction site.
“I learned the business from the ground up,” recalls Tracy, whose company, American Land Ventures, recently began design on its second high-rise development in the Tampa Bay area. “I did a little bit here, a little bit there. Basically, as much as you could to learn about the business, including digging ditches and operating heavy equipment ”
Ultimately, Tracy accumulated the right amount of business acumen to parlay his work experience into an acceptance at Nova University School of Business, where he would earn an Executive MBA in Real Estate Development, Construction and Management in the early 1990s. Shortly thereafter, he would join American Land Ventures to oversee the acquisition of new projects and new business opportunities.
By 1999, Tracy was named president of the Miami-based company. A few years later, he acquired the interests of the other owners to become sole proprietor.
Since taking over as CEO of the company, Tracy has been responsible for helping to revitalize the South Florida market with several projects described as “eye candy” by Fort Lauderdale Magazine. His projects have included multiple state-of-the-art skyline apartment complexes in south Florida, as well as two in Jacksonville.
Life at Farragut
Tracy’s time at Farragut was well spent. While he “isn’t exactly sure how or why his mom chose the school,” he admits it was the best decision his late mom had done for him.
“All things considered, it was what I needed at the time,” said Tracy, who grew up for most of his life in Miami.
The things he needed are what have become mainstay at Farragut over the years: discipline and structure.
“That order has stayed with me throughout my entire life,” said Tracy. “It’s what has helped me become successful.”
During his time at Farragut, he played sports — “football, mainly” — and served as company commander, rising as high as the battalion adjutant.
“It was an enjoyable time for me,” said Tracy. “I learned many things about life, about being a leader, about being committed to the process of generating success.”
This past summer, Tracy returned to the city he had embraced during his days as a boarding student to usher in AER, an 18-story, $85-million apartment tower in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg at 330 Third St. South.
“To be honest, it’s pretty remarkable,” Tracy said when asked about the city’s transformation. “When I was here (as a student), we would take trips to the downtown area and it wasn’t nearly as vibrant as it is now. It’s impressive to see the way the city has evolved. There is a nice balance between tradition and modernity. The waterfront is spectacular and the city has done a great job in creating a viable environment to live and work.”
Tracy was drawn back to the region after a broker friend of his recommended looking into the Tampa Bay area due to the recovery from the recession and impressive job creations.
In addition to the St. Petersburg development, American Land Ventures has plans to build a 30-story tower with about 340 apartments and nearly 600 parking spaces across the street from the The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. The $100 million-plus project, expected to take 24 months to complete, is a part of the city’s plan to duplicate St. Petersburg’s rebirth.
“Both projects have been well-received,” said Tracy, who now travels to the Tampa Bay area at least twice a month. “It’s good to be back.”