Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Northside Contractor Says Building Is Just in His Blood

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Northside Contractor Says Building Is Just in His Blood

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbralyn A. Woodson, Times-Union staff writer

Taye Brown says building is simply in his blood.

"My daddy was a contractor," the Northside resident said. "His daddy was a contractor. And I've been building since I was 8. Growing up, everybody wanted to be doctors and lawyers. But I always liked construction."

As a youngster, he helped his father with room additions and even learned to operate some of the construction equipment.

Now, at 33, Brown is helping build a better Jacksonville.

As a project manager on the Better Jacksonville Plan team since March, he's been overseeing the city's plans for a new equestrian center at Cecil Commerce Center. The $25 million center is slated to open in 2003 and will feature indoor and outdoor arenas, practice rings and barns.

The University of North Florida graduate has worked on similar projects in Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, North Carolina and Dallas, where he helped build the $420 million American Airlines Arena.

But working at home has its advantages, he said, because he will have an opportunity to admire his work on a daily basis.

"That's part of being a builder," he said. "You like to ride by and see those edifices that you've built. It's good to be able to promote economic development and growth in my hometown. It's hard to resist being a part of that."

REAL INVESTMENT

When Jim Ricks opened his mortgage company three years ago, he not only was investing in Northside Community Mortgage, he was investing in the Northside community, period.

"There were no minority white-collar businesses over here," he said. "And I saw a lot of opportunity on this side of town. It's definitely a personal investment."

He admits his Highlands firm has helped many Northside residents achieve home ownership and financial plans, but his real contribution, he said, has come in the form of community involvement. …

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