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Tom Mannausa – Developer Of The Jewel

REAL Exclusive Tom Mannusa

Tom Mannausa: Success is in the Details

By Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa

Photography by Giovanni Lunardi

Design by Christian Lunardi

He has orchestrated a notable portfolio of real estate projects throughout the course of his storied career, including the development and management of award winning affordable housing projects, commercial and luxury housing to the tune of $300 million. His business acumen is balanced by unbridled creativity, as real estate developer Tom Mannausa is also a song writer and musician. He enjoys the opportunity to perform in a range of capacities. His professional success reflects Tom’s unique ability to direct his energy and vision into distinct conduits. Like a faceted gem, he is brilliant from a range of angles, including appointment as Receiver by 17 sitting judges.

REAL Exclusive Tom MannusaTom’s early years were marked by the diverse influence of his parents. His mother was a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Art. She tried to encourage him in pursuing music and his creative side. “My mom always had her fingers into something creative. From making a wine/cordial, called ‘Cherry Bounce’, from cherries grown along the waterfront of Torch Lake, Michigan, to painting and designing 30 vacation homes my mom and dad lived in, over the past 48 years, including Spain, London, Michigan, Anna Maria, Longboat Key and Siesta Key, he recalls. “Mom was always creating something the family and friends could be inspired with and enjoy.

Most know Sarasota as it exists today. In the early 1900’s the bay stopped at the edge of Gulf Stream Avenue. In 1959 the routing of U.S. 41 through the bay front required a massive dredge and fill project  giving us Bay Front Park as we know it now. Highlights indicate The Jewel’s location.

His father, a M. D. and Board Certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist, was also a real estate investor who valued the practical nature of business. “It was the combination that led me in two directions,” Tom notes. “But I found a way to interrelate them. The process of design, planning, picking comfortable seating and integration of fabrics and finishes, I learned, starting from my mom and dad, has been a long term inspiration for me,” he continues.

Tom Mannausa The Jewel Site
As a concerned citizen Tom serves on two city commission appointed boards: Sarasota’s Downtown Improvement District Board and Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Advisory Board

At 19 Tom undertook his first project: the acquisition and renovation of a rental property in his home state of Michigan. “It was a great house,” he recalls, “but it had little curb appeal.” His efforts to update and improve the house paid off. Tom attracted renters and inspired his neighbors, who soon began their own beautification projects. He continued to invest, and by the time he graduated from Western Michigan University, he owned five houses in Kalamazoo, two of which were free and clear.

The Jewel View From Main Street Corner
The Jewel Corner View From Main Street

Tom’s transition to Florida was born of a desire to meld his creative pursuits with his passion for real estate. He launched his career in 1981, partnering with Pat Neal, the area’s most prolific home builder, to build El Conquistador Village Plaza and Conquistador Village Apartments. The process involved putting together a complex financing structure, as well as developing a mixed-use retail and residential community. “It was a wonderful experience,” recalls Tom, who notes that the projects were completed under budget and leased well within the team’s projections. Tom’s partnership with Pat lasted 18 years ending when the two bought each other’s interest in various enterprises. Both share fond memories of those experiences.

Among his other successful projects was The Cloisters in Clearwater, a building whose integrated materials made it a standout. “We gained full occupancy in under four months,” Tom states. By the time Tom’s 27th birthday passed he had a million and a half square feet of commercial space, one of the largest management firms on the West Coast of Florida and had completed a dozen projects. His development at Centre Court won the best apartment community nationwide in 2001.

Tom with (left to right) Bill Niblock; Sr. Architect, Sarah Kunkel; Architect and Gary Hoyt near the historical marker for “The landing of the Scots” in 1885.Tom with (left to right) Bill Niblock; Sr. Architect, Sarah Kunkel; Architect and Gary Hoyt near the historical marker for “The landing of the Scots” in 1885.

His enthusiasm for the luxurious reflects Tom’s artistic nature, as he thrives on the challenges of creating what he describes as “extreme housing”. He explains, “It’s an ever-changing process. I’m constantly seeking the best locations, finest finishes and unique but functional designs.” There is sustaining value in his projects, a quest for perfectionism and an attention to detail that transcends time and trends. Tom’s developments exude an inimitable sense of style, a grace that develops and evolves. Matter of fact, if you look at photos of Tom’s projects which he still owns that are 25+ years old, they look beautifully manicured and maintained.

His latest endeavor, The Jewel, is a crisp modern design embracing numerous new developments. Beyond visiting Chicago and Miami, Tom traveled extensively throughout the Baltic region, immersing himself in innovative cities including Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Oslo, which represent a unique balance of new and old developments. In his Eastern European travels Tom found numerous projects under construction and all had an extreme modern look utilizing glass as the main architectural theme.

Tom’s vision has translated into what promises to be one of Sarasota’s most unique structures. “Every corner, every angle, is dedicated to timeless and sustaining value,” he states. “The Jewel reflects countless hours spent in the drafting phases, revising and re-tooling to ensure that no detail is missed. Residents and passersby alike will appreciate the integrity of construction materials and our modern design theme. We have 1.9 miles of concrete below grade to support this structure,” he adds.

Tommy James Mannausa
“Music is a terrific hobby.
It evokes emotion, yet relaxes you into a state wanting more.

It would be completely acceptable for Tom, immersed in his development work, to dedicate his life to the pursuit of architectural perfection. But he is, like his parents, adept at project management and quite talented beyond his professional endeavors. An avid musician, “Tommy James Mannausa” has written over 200 song lyrics and poems, as well as many corresponding keyboard chords to date. In addition Tom has performed as a keyboardist at various venues.

He looks forward to the release of an album featuring legendary artist Rick Derringer. Tommy wrote, and with Rick and his wife Jenda, finalized the songs on the album to be titled “Bandana”. Rick’s recordings have him performing all guitars and vocals on the album. “Bandana”, will be legendary, as it’s Rick’s latest rock n roll album, of many, but in recent years his releases have been blues, jazz, Christian and work in Nashville. Rick’s toured the world and his performances are always “spot on” of the tunes played,” Tommy quips.

Tommy James Mannausa Jenda & Rick Derringer
Tommy, Jenda and Rick Derringer taking time out with nature in New Mexico; Fall 2009

“One of my favorite times with Rick, will always be, when he toured with Ringo Starr and The All Starr Band, for two years as lead guitar and vocalist,” Tommy begins. “Rick invited me to Windsor, Caesar’s Palace Casino, upstairs/backstage before the show, in a tight circle, standing with six legendary musicians, Edgar Winter, leans over toward me, and says, ‘Don’t you know, you never start a song with the Chorus Line Tommy!?!?’. None of the other five in the circle said anything… Pure silence… After, a long pause, Edgar, so eloquently added, ‘That song “58”, starting with the Chorus Line, was genius!’. Rick to my right, put his left hand on my right shoulder, and the others all laughed, and Edgar shook my hand. Fun stuff, of my magical daily world, as a rock n roll legend.” The three, Rick and Jenda Derringer and Tommy hope the song “58” will be enjoyed by many, on Rick Derringer’s “Bandana” album.

Tom is also a dedicated family man who enjoys spending quality time with his fiancée Valerie, an accomplished artist in her own right having painted and sold over 4,000 original works of art, and their five children. He travels the world in search of inspiration, though he always finds his way home to the city of Sarasota that continues to nurture his creative and professional visions.

Tom Mannausa The Jewel Sales Office
With an unprecedented rate of sales reservations, in excess of $34 million, on The Jewel’s luxury tower residences one can find Tom at the sales office seven days a week. As of this story one unit remains available.

Thomas James Mannausa, CPM
The Jewel
5 South Gulf Stream Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 365.1511
tmctjm@aol.com
www.Mannausa.com

Copyright © 2013 REAL Magazine
Links to this article are encouraged

Photography used under license from Giovanni Lunardi Photography
Photography Copyright © 2013 Giovanni Lunardi Photography

Map photography used under license from Chad Spencer CMS Photography
Map photography Copyright © 2013 Chad Spencer CMS Photography

Historical photos and maps courtesy of Sarasota County History Center

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