Mike founded Paradise Development Group, Inc. in 1988 in Safety Harbor, FL and leads all aspects of Paradise’s strategic planning. In addition to cultivating and managing key retail relationships, Mike oversees the financing and capital structures of Paradise’s projects nationwide and manages the company equity partner relationships. Mike received his Juris Doctorate from Stetson University and a Bachelor of Arts in Finance from the University of Notre Dame. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Florida Bar and is a licensed Florida Real Estate Broker. Mike served on the boards of Ruth Eckerd Hall, Morton Plant Mease Hospitals Foundation, and the Notre Dame Engineering Advisory Council. He is also the past chair of the Community Impact Committee for the Morton Plant Mease Foundation Board
Chuck Ernst joined The Paradise Group in 2008 as CFO. Shortly after his arrival, he was tasked with assisting in the restructure of our loan portfolio among 12 lenders. He now oversees operations of Paradise ventures, Inc., which is the real estate venture formed from the legacy Paradise Group in July 2009. Chuck has an extensive background in commercial real estate lending and valuation. Prior to joining The Paradise Group, Chuck was market manager for LaSalle Bank’s Commercial Real Estate Group where he was responsible for business development and loan organization for local and regional clients in Florida and Georgia. Chuck also served in similar production roles at KeyBank Real Estate Capital, SunTrust Bank and ING Investment Management. Chuck has a Bachelors degree in Finance and Real Estate from Florida State University.
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Director of Real Estate / Partner Email Jon
Director of Real Estate / Partner
Jon has been with Paradise since 1992 and has acquired extensive leasing, property management and real estate development experience since joining the team. As demonstrated by the high occupancy rate at Paradise centers across the country. Jon has been highly successful in leasing existing and pre-construction space, while specializing in broker and tenant relationships on a regional and national level. The scope of his responsibilities include project marketing, lease negotiations, and third party coordination of outsourced services, while maintaining and developing new broker and tenant relationships. Jon also assists in the property management and marketing areas within the Paradise portfolio and has established himself as one of several new project site selectors within Paradise. As Director of Real Estate, Jon directs the marketing and leasing of Paradise projects throughout the United States. Jon has been a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers for 25 years.
Since joining The Paradise Group in 2008, Carley has been promoted to Controller as well as taking on the duties of Human Resource Manager. Her primary roles as controller consist of overseeing all accounting related activity including but not limited to corporate, project and property management accounts payable, corporate cash flow, assisting with corporate and project budgeting, providing reports to upper management, tax return prep, as well as submitting bank draws on projects and tracking their costs and pre development costs. Her major roles as human resource manager consist of payroll related duties, group health/dental insurance, 401k administration, as well as any employee related issues. Carley received her Bachelors degree in Accounting from University of South Florida.
Chris Zimmermann handles Acquisitions and Development for Paradise Ventures, while additionally helping to oversee Dispositions. Since joining the team in July 2012, Chris has played a key role in developing Paradise’s existing asset acquisition program, from identifying and targeting various assets to helping ensure every property put under contract closes. Additionally, Chris has been instrumental in the acquisition of a number of planned redevelopment sites as part of Paradise’s efforts to be more flexible and reshape some of the more viable, yet underutilized real estate within dense, difficult to enter markets. As projects are completed, Chris also helps develop Paradise’s disposition strategy. To date, he’s overseen the dispositions of Paradise Plaza, a 139,823 SF, Publix-anchored shopping center in Sarasota; the high profile, 22,988 SF Clearwater Beach Walgreens; and Anthony Groves Plaza, a 21,000 SF credit-tenant, retail strip center in Royal Palm Beach among others. Chris received a Bachelor of Arts in Real Estate from Florida State University. He is currently a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Frank has been with Paradise for the 17 years. He started as a Construction Manager and was responsible for Construction Management of projects that included Publix, Walgreen’s and small strip centers. He is currently responsible for complete Project management and construction. This includes assisting with budgets, estimating, planning, and contracting of all current projects. Frank has completed over 20 Walgreen’s and Publix Shopping Centers, as well as various complete Shopping Center renovations, and Tenant build outs in his career. He is responsible for reviewing and establishing relationships with Contractors, Architects, Civil Engineers and Landscape Architect consultants, thru out the State of Florida.
Carmine Lacognata assists with the acquisitions and development of new and active projects. Before Joining Paradise, Carmine worked in the financial services industry while attending Florida State University as an undergraduate student. While working in the financial services industry, Carmine received his General Securities Representative License (Series 7) and his Health, Life and Variable Annuity License (FL 2-15). Carmine joined the team in 2017 as an intern while attending Florida State University, and after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and Entrepreneurship, Carmine Joined Paradise full time. Carmine is a licensed real estate sales associate and a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Originally born and raised in the Sunshine State, Brad Karns graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of South Florida in 2007. He kicked off his career at a local Civil Engineering Firm (Foresite Group,Inc.) located in Tampa back in 2008 and obtained extensive experience with Site Planning, Civil Engineering Design, Entitlements & Jurisdictional Permitting, Budgeting, and Project Management for various Commercial Retail Projects and National Tenants throughout the Southeast.
In 2017, after obtaining over 8 years of experience in the Civil Engineering industry, Brad joined Paradise Ventures and manages all projects from conception to construction commencement.
David Martin was born and raised in Lakeland, Fl. Soon after graduating from Florida State University, he moved to Tampa to start his real estate career. He started to concentrate in the triple net, single tenant side of the development business and has worked with drug stores, convenience stores, banks, and restaurants. He has successfully completed over fifty projects to date in Florida, mostly on the west coast. David has also been involved in several shopping centers, in fill redevelopment, and commercial land projects.
Cody Akers is a Project Manager with Paradise Ventures, overseeing the development of new and ongoing projects. Prior to joining the Paradise team, Cody worked as a civil engineer for 5 years in the Tampa Bay area performing detailed property feasibility reports, preparing civil construction documents, and navigating the entitlement process throughout various jurisdictions in Florida. At Paradise, Cody helps facilitate pre-acquisition property research including preparing conceptual site plans, creating preliminary budgets, and managing proposed entitlement schedules. After property acquisition, Cody works closely with a selected team of architects, engineers, and other consultants to secure all permits and guide the project into the construction phase. Cody graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.
Michael R. Connor joined the Paradise Ventures team in March of 2023 taking on the role of Social Media Director. Responsible for Paradise's social media accounts and overseeing Paradise's website, Michael works closely with his fellow team members to ensure Paradise has a strong presence on major social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Michael's goal as Social Media Director is to increase awareness of current and upcoming projects and to encourage engagement and interaction through Paradise's website and social media platforms. Since March 2022, Michael has been a professional content writer and has created content for multiple organizations including Tampa Bay Business and Wealth Magazine, The HOTH, a law firm, and a wellness technology startup. Michael earned both his Master of Science in Marketing (2021) and Bachelor of Arts in History (2020) from the University of Tampa.