Carefree, cool and creative—these are a trio of traits Steve Mathison embodies in his role: real estate attorney.
The managing partner of Mathison Whittles has made a major mark on the north county community by counting among his clients the developers of BallenIsles, Frenchman’s Reserve, PGA Commons and The Gardens Mall.
The North Palm Beach native, who remembers roads in the village
as two-lane, shoulderless stretches surrounded by scrub, sees change on the horizon.
“I think that development is inevitable,” Mathison, 61, says. “Thoughtful, well-planned development that serves the needs of the community is the goal.”
He and the flourishing firm established in 2014 with John Whittles are poised to take the next step this fall with more mixed-use projects in the works. Downtown at The Gardens will undergo a reimagining by Washington, D.C.-based Madison Marquette. Plans call for the addition of a boutique hotel, luxury residences and an office building, as well as the opening of the waterfront to restaurants and retailers. Loehmann’s Plaza will look less like a strip mall and more like a health and wellness facility after Kimco Realty Corp. of New Hyde Park, New York, adds tenants that will improve the lifestyles of residents.
“Both projects are at the important stage of dialogue and listening to city staff, community and business leaders, and prospective users to achieve an understanding of what enhances our community and works financially,” Mathison says.
A third project on 5,000 acres of land near Northlake Boulevard and the Beeline Highway—headed by Landstar Development Group in Coral Gables—will emphasize the environment. Called Avenir, half of the property has been designated as a preserve, and another 50 acres have been carved out for a park.
“To me, if you’re in an environment that’s beautiful, you’re going to have a better vibe about it,” Mathison says.
Much like the string bass he grew up playing—and continues to play today—Mathison sets the tone of what some could consider controversial construction.
“Creating special places and incorporating the highest standards of planning principles may cost more at the beginning, but in the long run they create much greater value for the project owner’s investment,” Mathison says. “To bring that experience to the community, to make something vibrant, is an honor.”
The part-time plucker who gigs at Spoto’s Oyster Bar during the season and writes lyrics in his spare time incorporates music into the modest mission of Mathison Whittles.
“Did you ever play, in your mind, and wander slowly through your life’s garden to make the changes you would make with roads less traveled and hearts less hardened?” reads a line from “The Garden,” a song Mathison says “sums up my attitude about life and what really counts.”