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President - J Square Developers

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Posted By Megan Holmes

Introduction

Jay Miller is a St. Petersburg native, committed to building up the skyline of his own city. With deep knowledge of urban planning, and extensive experience in development of both large mixed use projects and specialty retail, Miller has worked on projects ranging in size from $2 million to more than $100 million. His projects include expansion/renovations to CocoWalk, Streets of Mayfair in Miami, Centro Ybor in Tampa, and Greene Towne Center in Dayton, Ohio. Now, he's behind a massive mixed-use development in the EDGE District of St. Petersburg, the first of its kind in more than 20 years.

Years in St. Pete

I grew up in St. Pete, I left to go to college when I was 18 and it took me 22 years to return - but I've spent the majority of my life in St. Pete.

Organizations involved in

St. Pete Chamber of Commerce, St. Pete EDC, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services

What gets you out of bed every day?

Usually it's my dog that gets me out of bed every day. But once I have a cup of coffee and actually wake up, I get excited to go into the office, and working on development projects primarily in St. Pete or in the rest of Tampa Bay. What excites me is the opportunity to make a difference in the cityscape where I actually live.

Why St. Pete?

We have a great quality of life in St. Petersburg. It's a place that initially people came to visit to vacation. My attitude throughout my life has been, why not live in a city that other people like to visit? We have a beautiful environment surrounded on three sides by water. You're never farther than a mile or two away from a body of water in St. Petersburg. We have beautiful neighborhoods, and from an urban design perspective it has great bones. It's got a great scale, it's a fun place to bike and walk and I find that less and less do I have a desire to leave.

What is one habit that you keep?

Trying to stay active, to exercise and work out every day, which is very easy here - we live in a great climate.

who are some people that influence you?

I'm influenced by my family, by my wife. I've had some great mentors and role models. My brother in law has been a great civic leader, Craig Sher. I'm very inspired by some of our civic leaders including Chris Steinocher, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. And, by all of those who commit their time to do the business of the city, including the City Council and some of the state representatives.

What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?

Don't jump to conclusions and try to understand what people have to say before responding. It's something I've learned as I've seasoned over the years and it's especially meaningful in this day in which we communicate via text or email. It's so easy to misinterpret and misunderstand what people are trying to say to you, whether it's for personal or business reasons.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?

That I was on the verge of getting involved in another public-private venture, and a large project that could take 3-4 years to realize.

What’s next?

Developing a new mixed-use project in the city's EDGE District that will include a 10,000-square-foot office building. The first new spec office building to be built in downtown St. Petersburg in over 20 years. Ninety residential units, including 60 condos and 30 apartments, 22,000 square feet of ground floor retail and a new public parking garage for the EDGE district.

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