Developer Jack Antaramian's vision impacted Marco
When Marco Island Realtor Jim Prange heard of Jack Antaramian's passing, he at first couldn't believe the news.
"I'm just stunned," said Prange. "Jack brought the real estate business on the island to the next level with his bold vision and ability to read the market. He brought the million-dollar sale to our marketplace, a number which had not been seen for the most part."
Antaramian, 73, was found dead at 1:34 p.m. Monday at the Naples Bay Resort, the property he had a court battle over with his business partners.
His developments – Cape Marco, The Esplanade, Eagle Cay, Pier 81, Smokehouse Bay and many more – added to the upscale Marco landscape.
Antaramian, a product of the suburbs of Boston, grew up in an area that had no connection to the life he created for himself when he moved to Marco Island in the early 1980s.
"The Antaramian mark was certainly left on Marco by Jack," said Tom Wagor a longtime banking professional on Marco. "I believe his crown jewel has to be The Esplanade. It will be a testament to his creativity and desire to deliver a quality product."
Antaramian leaves his second wife, Mona, and two teenage children. He had a son, David, and a daughter, Zahra.
Antaramian's death comes at a time when he was facing bankruptcy and reorganization issues in a legal battle with his former partners in the Naples Bay Resort project. A bankruptcy judge didn't approve Antaramian's reorganization plan last year. The decision would have allowed other competing plans to come to the court in the coming days.
Litigation against has been going on for years between Antaramian and his business partners. The partners wanted to settle, but Antaramian refused.
In August, Antaramian Properties filed for Chapter 11 protection with $20 million in debt.
"Jack was a tough businessmen, but he was ultimately fair," said Bill Barnett, a former Naples mayor. "He did a lot for the Naples community whether you liked him or you didn't like him. I always liked Jack. I will say that. I'm sure he had his people against him. Whenever you see lawsuits like that, you know there are people on the other side. But I had a decent relationship with him."
Antaramian first visited Marco Island in 1970 and fell in love with the community.
"The water is so pristine, so clear on Marco Island. It was one of the greatest places to fish. I'd get up at 2 a.m. with the tide and fish for snook under the bridge," Antaramian told The Fort Myers News-Press when he was inquiring about developing downtown Bonita Springs.
Antaramian was also an active member of the community. His various causes included the Marco Island Charter Middle School, YMCA, American Cancer Society, Hospice of Naples, Community School in Naples and the David Lawrence Center. Antaramian used to fund the fireworks on Marco.