The Real Deal Miami

Among the wealthiest families, 2 in Florida are leading landowners

The Lykes family in Tampa own 600,000 acres and the Collier clan owns 280,000

July 05, 2015 10:30AM

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Broad Key in Florida (Credit: Private Islands Online)

Broad Key in Florida (Credit: Private Islands Online)

Among America’s richest families, two Florida clans have some of the biggest portfolios of land investments, according to business magazine Forbes.

The Tampa-based Lykes family is the third-largest landowner among the wealthiest U.S. families with 600,000 acres in Florida and Texas.

The Naples-based Collier family is the  eighth-largest landowner  among the richest families with 280,000 acres in southwest Florida.

Real estate investment produced the wealth of the Collier family, for whom Collier County in southwest Florida is named.

The Collier family’s $2.3 billion net worth is the nation’s 119th largest family fortune, acccording to Forbes, and the family has an estimated 30 members.

Family patriarch Barron Collier III, who made his fortune in advertising on streetcars, began buying land in southwest Florida after he visited the area in 1911. He went on to acquire more than a million acres.

The family fortune is divided between two companies, Collier Enterprises and Barron Collier Companies. They have ventures in commercial real estate, residential properties, oil exploration, agribusiness and golf courses.

Land and citrus groves produced the Lykes family’s self-made fortune. Their net worth of $1.2 billion is the 193rd largest family fortune in the nation, according to Forbes, and the family has an estimated 250 members.

Howell Tyson Lykes, who practiced for a while as a doctor,turned to ranching after he moved his family to Tampa and founded Lykes Brothers with his seven offspring in 1904. Lykes Brothers focused on producing citrus and cattle ranching and had close business ties with pre-revolutionary Cuba before Fidel Castro’s rise to power.[Forbes] Mike Seemuth