NEW POSITION: Chairman, Tampa Downtown Partnership, Tampa.
PREVIOUS POSITION: Member, board of directors, Tampa Downtown Partnership, Tampa
When Hal Flowers walks Tampa's downtown streets, the skyline reminds him of what he's done in 28 years in commercial real estate development. "I walk every morning on Bayshore, and I look up and say, "Gee, I was part of that _ the skyline of Tampa. Wow, we did that.' "
Now, Flowers is taking on the chairmanship of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, a public-private entity charged with promoting the health and growth of the city's core district.
Flowers is a partner in Everest Partners, responsible for the firm's tenant representation, owner representation and development services for properties in Florida and Georgia.
Flowers has been involved in the asset management and redevelopment of more than 5-million square feet of commercial properties for various financial institutions.
Flowers also has a second business as principal in Flowers & Associates, a commercial development company in Tampa.
In previous positions over the years, he was involved in more than 34-million square feet of commercial lease transactions and the development of more than 7-million square feet of office and industrial space.
These properties include two 42-story buildings in downtown Tampa, the Bank of American Plaza (formerly Barnett Plaza) and 100 North Tampa, plus the 42-story Barnett Center office tower in downtown Jacksonville and more than 20 suburban office buildings in Georgia and Florida.
Flowers said he hasn't codified his goals for the downtown partnership yet. A planning retreat is scheduled for later this summer.
"One of the more interesting things I'm excited about is I am chair when we switch mayors," he said. "It's important that, whoever the mayor is, that person understand what we're about and what we can do to assist the mayor with his or her vision."
Flowers, who said he is used to being busy, estimates his new responsibilities with the downtown partnership will require "about 25 percent of my time."
Why did he accept the one-year volunteer position? "I'm a developer, first of all. Second, I've been fascinated with downtowns all my life. I'm truly fascinated by the architecture.
"In the United States, we're a young country. We've seen a lot of cities where people have left the downtown. Unfortunately, when that occurs, the soul of the town gets left along the way. No matter how large a community gets, it has to have a central core. If you don't, you end up with sprawl _ sprawl with no city."
Tampa has experienced some urban sprawl, Flowers acknowledged, but not as much as other major cities, due partly to its natural water boundaries that limit expansion.
A native of Augusta, Ga., Flowers graduated from Georgia State University in Atlanta in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He started work in real estate in Atlanta while in college. His first assignment was to lease a 32-story high rise in downtown Atlanta.
Flowers said he wanted to get into real estate development, so he relocated to Tampa in 1973, joining Lincoln Property Co. His first project: leasing the Lincoln Center in the West Shore office district. He stayed with Lincoln Property, which became the Paragon Group in 1978, until 1999 when he left to form his own company.
Flowers said he likes the variety each day brings to his job. "The actual development of something is very exciting _ actually creating something that has a longer shelf life than me."
In addition to working with the Tampa Downtown Partnership, Flowers, 55, is chairman of the building committee for the new Tampa Museum of Art, on the board of directors for the USS Victory docked at Tampa's Channelside, on the board of the Florida Aquarium, on the board of advisers for the University of South Florida College of Architecture and president-elect of the University Club of Tampa.
Married with two children and three grandchildren, Flowers likes to spend his spare time on boats, power and sail.
"I really care about this community, and I like where it's going," he said. "I like its size. I like its diversity. I like its geography. I really like the people _ it's an uncanny mix of people. Everybody's pretty nice to each other."
_ FRED W. WRIGHT JR., Times correspondent