Fort Lauderdale – excerpt from Orlando Sentinel

Jack Snyder
of The Sentinel Staff
Published in The Orlando Sentinel on February 07, 2000 .

Gary Tharp, owner of GT Commercial and a veteran of commercial real estate in Orlando, has moved into a niche market — construction of airport centers for major shippers, such as Federal Express and Emery Worldwide.

“We call them cargoports, and that’s all we do,” Tharp said. The broker got into the business through a friend who knew people at Lynxs Group Inc. in Austin, Texas. That company has been doing cargoports all over the country. Tharp now is East Coast development partner for the group and has just finished his first project — a cargoport for Emery at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

Others had looked at a former furniture manufacturing plant that was being considered for the project, but decided it couldn’t work. Tharp decided he could make the deal fly by tearing down most of the building but saving the slab. Work is now wrapping up and Tharp is onto another cargoport deal. He won’t say where, but it could be Orlando.

In recent years, Tharp has been in the news by overseeing the redevelopment and lease-up of the 1 South Orange Avenue office building and the former AmSouth Bank Building, both in downtown Orlando.

Footnotes: Tharp’s Fort Lauderdale project was built by J. Raymond & Associates, an Altamonte Springs general contractor that has grown substantially since its founding in 1989. Design work on the cargoport was handled by Mark Hansen, president of Design Three Associates, an Orlando architectural, space planning and interior-design company. Hansen also handled design work on the two downtown office buildings.

J. Raymond & Associates was launched by John Raymond Sofarelli, formerly vice president of Tribble & Stephens Co., a Texas contractor that left the Orlando market in the late 1980s but has now returned.

The first year in business, the company did $300,000 in work. Last year, the total was more than $43 million. The company last year was ranked 18th in the country by Shopping Center World magazine for developing 7.2 million square feet of retail space.