There are pockets of real estate opportunity all over the Tampa Bay area, says Vincent Jackson, CEO and co-founder of CTV Capital and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver.
“I think commercially Tampa is on fire right now,” Jackson said at Thursday morning’s Conversation With a CEO, a program from USF Muma College of Business held at USF Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in downtown Tampa.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Moez Limayem, dean of the college, Jackson talked about his childhood — he credits his upbringing in a military family to giving him discipline— his college and professional football career, and his decision to get his business degree from USF.
He also discussed CTV Capital, a residential and commercial real estate company.
“When we first started here, we focused a lot on the mid-tier to lower level residential market. I think there are upcoming communities here, from Seminole Heights – what it was eight years ago to what it is today – Tampa Heights. Go to Pinellas, the south side of St. Pete is seeing some development, the mid-town area,” Jackson said. “I can’t name one development or project that I can say that’s the one I feel is a staple for our company. I love the fact that we really expanded from New Port Richey all the way to the east coast of the state, all the way down south to the Sarasota, Fort Myers area.”
The company is always open to new opportunities, he said.
“I’m looking to tighten that window, to really operate in the five or seven counties around this area because there’s plenty of opportunity here. There’s plenty of needs here, from the affordable to macro developments,” Jackson said. “We’re looking at mixed-use developments that are a stone’s throw from this area. It seems like there’s no land around here, but there is. There’s pockets to be had right in this community.”
Jackson started CTV while he was playing for the San Diego Chargers, knowing that some people say the NFL stands for “Not For Long.” He reached out to professionals in the San Diego area, and worked with the people who became his business partners for several years before they launched their boutique private investment firm in 2012.
“When the time was right we started our company, did some developments in San Diego and Reno, Nevada area, and I enjoyed it. I knew at that point, although I had done some minor things with restaurants, medical and technology, I found out my passion was about development, improving communities,” Jackson said.
“It tugs at my philanthropic heart as well, because through development you get an opportunity on the macro level to see communities change. To see a piece of land, a vision, something that may take five or 10 years, you can put that together. But even on the micro level, the beautiful thing of helping somebody become a home owner, the American dream.”
After Jackson signed as with the Bucs, he and his wife moved into a home in south Tampa, and soon after about 20 neighbors knocked on their door to welcome the couple.
“They didn’t know I was a football player. They came over, introduced themselves, gave us information about where to go, where to eat, where to shop, information about schools,” Jackson said. “I said this feels like home, this is the right speed of life and this is the right type of community I want to raise my family in.”
Jackson also is vice president of the Callaloo Group, which operates the Historic Manhattan Casino, Callaloo, and Pipo’s at The Historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg. The restaurant industry is tough, he said, but he loves it.
He was asked what he learned in football that applies to business.
“Some of the best leaders that I played around weren’t the stars of the team. They were guys who were a little more humble, hard workers and lived by example. They came to work every day, gave the same effort all the time, were supportive and they were always looking to grow and improve themselves,” Jackson said. “Those are the individuals I took a lot from in my playing career, college and professionally, that can be applied to business … Keep that humble approach, let team members know how valuable each and every person is.”
It’s a great time to be in Tampa, in part because of the fast growth that’s occurring, Jackson said.
“There’s a lot of companies here. What I love about that is we’re providing a lot of jobs, the companies here are providing jobs.”
That’s also what makes him proud of CTV.
“We’re providing work,” Jackson said. “I love giving people the opportunity to provide a healthy wage for their families.”