HE BUILDS, THEY COME BY SUSAN R. MILLER
PIONEER LAND DEVELOPER RICHARD SIEMENS APPRAISES BOCA RATON’S PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
ichard Siemens has watched Boca Raton grow up before his very eyes. Since arriving in South Florida nearly 40 years ago, he’s watched our city transform from a sleepy little town to a bustling hub known for its expensive homes, wellmanicured lawns, and posh retailers and restaurants. In the beginning, “you couldn’t get a decent meal in Boca Raton,” says the now 79-year-old developer. And, “the nearest mall was the Pompano Fashion Center, which was hardly fashionable,” he adds with a chuckle. Considered a pioneer in the South Florida construction industry, Siemens got his start as a contractor up north when he was just 20 years old and at 29 began developing projects. In 1975, he moved from New York to South Florida. “Boca West was embryonic… there was nothing on Glades Road except for a bit of housing,” recalls Siemens, who in 1990 founded Siemens Group. Since then, he’s played a major role in South Palm Beach County’s overall growth. His company has developed or constructed myriad country club and senior living communities, hospital campuses, oceanfront condos, shopping centers, mixed-use commercial projects and more.
“We were the ones who originated the (certificate of need) for Delray Medical Center. Getting it approved and built was a major community improvement,” Siemens says. “We were also part of getting West Boca Medical Center built; those were significant projects. We developed the Polo Club and Harbour’s Edge (a senior living community in Delray Beach). Those are still prominent today and contribute to the economy of the South County area.” Much like a parent might beam about his children, Siemens says of his projects: “I don’t have any particular favorites, each one has its own characteristics; each had its function when it was done.” His real kids work with him as well. The company is a family affair with daughter Rebecca and her husband Jim working on the sales side, son Scott serving as executive vice president and son Rob working in marketing. Together, the team has built more than 15,000 homes in more than 20 communities.
“Nothing is more important than family, and when you’re fortunate to have your children wanting to participate in what you do that’s a good thing,” Siemens says. Deciding on which projects to build has a lot to do with timing and finding the right opportunities, he says. “When we do something we try to determine if there’s a demand for
“BOCA WEST WAS EMBRYONIC... THERE WAS NOTHING ON GLADES ROAD EXCEPT FOR A BIT OF HOUSING.”
that which we are contemplating. We’re always trying to find if there is a niche that isn’t being satisfied and try to step into that void and capture the market,” he says. That’s how his newest project, Akoya, came to be. Located in Boca West, Akoya will be the city’s first new large-scale residential project in 20 years, providing buyers with a luxury lifestyle within an existing awardSEPTEMBER 2014