Nathan Collier purchased his first piece of real estate at the age of 20 in late December of 1972, a single home several blocks north of University of Florida’s law school. He lived upstairs and rented out the downstairs, doing all the maintenance personally and substantially defraying from his college housing expenses. For the next seven to eight years, Nathan continued to buy houses within walking distance from University of Florida at the rate of three or four a year.
As a young entrepreneur, Nathan relied upon a reputation for prompt payment and dependability to obtain owner financing, using all the ‘no money’ down techniques he could think of or ever read about. Nathan’s father, a civil engineer, taught him the value of being able to fix things himself; a life-lesson that saved money in the early years.
Most apartment communities of institutional size (300+) trade north of $5OM, and private individuals do not generally get to buy at that level. In the early 80’s, Nathan began to focus on the College Park neighborhood, just north of the University of Florida, by building relationships with parcel owners in the area. When they were ready to sell, many reached out to Nathan due to their pre-existing relationship and his good reputation.
Over the next decade, Nathan accumulated over several hundred apartment homes in the College Park neighborhood. Nathan was in essence able to buy an apartment community on the “installment plan,” piecing together over 450 apartment homes over the next decade and forming the basis for the next step in the creation of The Collier Companies.
College Manor sits half a block east of the University of Florida, adjacent to the main class room areas and the Warrington School of Business. The addition of College Manor’s 265 one bedrooms and studios, together with Spanish Trace a few months before, represented a 65% growth spurt and put what was to be The Collier Companies within reach of a thousand home portfolio.
In addition to College Manor, the acquisition of the Shey Communities, consisting of 1.402 apartment homes, had doubled the size of the company’s portfolio. Within this time period, developments such as The Estates of College Park, Museum Walk, Oviedo Grove, and Hidden Lake added 626 apartment homes to the growing portfolio.
In the summer of 2004, The Collier Companies built Highlands at Heathbrook, a garden style community with 320 apartments in Ocala, FL. Highlands was followed by Arlington Square, Phase IV, which added another 28 apartment homes to the existing Gainesville community. Next came The Enclave in 2008 – a 412 apartment, student housing community that sits a few miles to the south of The University of Florida’s campus. Shortly after The Enclave finished, Phase II of The Crossing at Santa Fe was completed, adding an additional 168 apartment homes to the existing community.
The Great Recession of 2008 led The Collier Companies to take a hiatus from development. It would be four years before The Collier Companies resumed growing its portfolio.
The Collier Companies got back into development in 2015 with the addition of forty much needed 4/4s to Hidden Lake’s floor plan mix, re-branding to Lux 13 and raising the apt count to 300, a critical benchmark for economies of scale in the industry.
2016 saw the addition of IQ in Tampa, over 600 beds on the north border of the University of South Florida and The Collier Companies first five story development. Canterbury on 1-75 in Ocala, FL, was next in 2018, followed by the 300 beds of College Park at Midtown in 2019.
Also in 2019, Nathan challenged the company to grow twice its size in the coming decade. Nathan often refers to this as The Collier Companies “moonshot goal” or our 2X Challenge. The goal is focused on diversifying product type in Central Florida, through development of market rate apartment homes, as well as acquiring at least one asset a year to The Collier Companies core portfolio. Currently, The Atlantic, a high-end, 310 apartment, garden-style community is due to be completed in 2021 in Port Orange, FL. There are several more developments in the pipeline including BLVD 2600 (Spring 2022) in Maitland, FL, and Hawks Mill in Port Orange (Summer 2022).