Peter Bos, Real Estate Developer
Word-of-mouth advertising has been one of the most relied upon means by which people make decisions involving everything from their purchases to major life decisions including uprooting and relocating to another community. In the case of 55-year-old Peter Bos, CEO of Legendary Incorporated in Destin Florida, he took the words he heard about Florida to an entirely different level Ė more than just relocate, he set upon the task of building the properties communities that keep the word moving.
Legendaryís properties stretch through Destin: Harbor Walk, Regatta Bay, Regatta Commons, Mid-Bay Marina, Legacy on the Bay Apartments and various other commercial endeavors contain Peterís handprint. But none so much as the touch he placed on the shimmering shores of south Walton County in the form of Sandestin, his favorite project.
"Sandestin is and will always be the project of a lifetime," he says. "Sandestinís size, shape, location, freedom of permitting and the incredible amenities provided by Mother Nature make Sandestin the best there is anywhere in Florida."
Peter discovered Florida vicariously in his youth while living in western New York State, a climate and geography far removed from northwest Florida. He listened to relatives boast about their Florida vacations, the word-of-mouth experience that compelled him to find out for himself what the state had to offer.
"I grew up in western New York State and had not been to Florida until my first year in college," he notes. "My father and mother would speak with envy of their ability to take those vacations. As a child, it impressed me that if this was a place I could be, why wouldnít I be there all the time? My interest in the hotel industry was brought about by looking at photographs of their vacation experiences, combined with photographs and travel images that depicted Florida and southern California as two beautiful places to vacation."
|Armed with an
education in hotel management at Cornell University the young 22 year old
set his sites on Florida in 1969 and joined Fletcher Properties Inc. in
Jacksonville as a young vice president. During the next six years he
developed properties in Bay Meadows, Jacksonville; Inverness, Birmingham;
Stone Bridge, Memphis; Inlet Beach, Jacksonville and numerous freestanding
condominium and apartment projects in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando,
Tallahassee and Jacksonville.
In 1976 Peter struck out on his own as a consultant to major lenders including Metropolitan Life Insurance, Gridley Bank of London, Piedmont Trust, Cabot and Forbes, Chase Manhattan Bank and numerous others.
In 1978 he joined forces with Igo Van Bohemen to develop the initial 350 acres of Sandestin. When overseas business interests forced Igo to sell his portion of the business, Peterís Bos Group became 100% owner of Sandestin. In the following years additional parcels of land were acquired to bring Sandestin to its current size of 2450 acres. In late 1991, Peter sold Sandestin to a Malaysian company, Sime Darby, and began accumulating various land and development holdings under the Legendary name.
In the 80ís Peter developed a very special relationship with the Coleman L. Kelly Testamentary Trust after volunteering considerable time and energy assisting the trust with their 2,000 acre tract of property that was part of the location of the proposed Mid-Bay Bridge. Subsequently a relationship blossomed with the Mattie Kelly Trust for leases of various land parcels. A key element of this relationship was preserving and enhancing the value of their real estate holdings Ė in 2001 Peter added a master stroke to his commitment to enhancing value, the Wyland Whaling Wall #88.
Marine Artist, Wyland, had painted 87 large murals depicting
marine life all over the world as a message to protect the environment. Wyland
had seen the Mid-Bay marina being built as he was driving over the Mid-Bay
Bridge and approached Peter about painting the wall as a way of benefiting the
Wyland Foundation and helping to educate children about the environment.
"The Whaling Wall was an event that brought together the whole community and received involvement from all segments of the population," he notes. Wyland went one step further and painted a large American flag on the roof of the marina with a statement for US servicemen.
Peter is not a stranger to helping a community build a vision for its growth. He was involved in the Destinís Visions 2000 forums in the mid-1990s, an exhaustive, community-wide initiative to capitalize on Destinís attributes and repair the weaknesses. Peter has mixed feelings about the progress of this initiative.
"Visions 2000 was the first planning attempt in over 12 years of the cityís existence. I think it goes too far in some areas and not far enough in other, but a great start. That said the planning effort needed today is quite different from that of 14 years ago. The planning effort needed today for redevelopment deals with problem-solving not problem-avoidance," he states. "The city, over these past 14-15 years, has used up most of the undeveloped property and we will now be dealing with a redevelopment, which is far more difficult and time-consuming because the effects of a redevelopment standard will only take effect in very small and generally detached (fragmented) areas when existing structures are torn down and replaced as there is escalating land value. "
Peter is concerned with a couple of specific planning issues Ė traffic and utilities. "Traffic congestion is the greatest problem facing the city," he notes. "The ability to identify an alternate route for traffic, a business bypass, is very difficult because the city has allowed encroachment and development in the right-of-way routes that were originally contemplated for this. As a result, any bypass will require condemnation or the development of such a circuitous routing its effectiveness will be reduced. Getting utilities underground or out of sight. This is very expensive after the fact. The city may accomplish most of its objective by leaving most distribution above ground but running all lateral transmission underground."
Peterís current project involves HarborWalk Village, 1400 feet of harbor-front property near the Destin Bridge slated for a condominium/lodging/shopping complex similar in nature to the Village of Baytowne Wharf concept in Sandestin.
His concept of enhancing value will be applied by making the preservation and promotion of the cityís fishing heritage a key cornerstone of his vision. As an avid fisherman and boater, Peter and his wife Terry, want to see this heritage prosper.
"Because of the scarcity of land in this peninsula sandwiched between the Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, prices will continue to escalate and hopefully, that in turn will command and dictate future quality development and redevelopment," he says. "Personally, I am hopeful that our involvement in the creation of HarborWalk Village will set the stage for revitalization of downtown Destin and bring the focus back to the Destin Harbor and its fishing heritage."
With Peter applying his touch to the community we can be assured that the word-of-mouth will continue to draw people to this wonderful region.
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