What We Do
The Kern Company has over 35 years of experience in the brokerage, acquisition, entitlement, and
disposition of commercial land with business locations in Coral Gables, New Smyrna Beach, and Jacksonville, FL. We have obtained entitlements for investments ranging from single use vacant land to large mixed-use Developments of Regional Impact and Regional Activity Centers. Our experience is extensive on the east coast of Florida, as well as counties such as Osceola, Hillsborough, Marion, and Orange County.
Since 1997 we have partnered with various investors to acquire over 45 properties with investments totaling over $165 million. To date, 30 of those investments have been sold generating an IRR in excess of 43%. The Kern Company has brokered individual transactions in excess of $150 million.
Since 2010, Jim Kern has has strategically partnered with Brian Henry to form D2 Paving & Site Work affording us the ability to manage and complete the horizontal site development for the sites we entitle for ourselves and others. This strategic partnership allows us to find creative solutions to problems that arise during development, as well as estimate project costs prior to contacting land. At The Kern Company, we believe that an in-depth understanding of site development leads to better evaluation of raw land and redevelopment project purchases.
With the exponential population growth in Florida, the need for residential housing is rising. Recognizing this demand, we have partnered with Troy Nauman of Nauman Contracting to build and sell several homes in the New Smyrna Beach area. The Kern Company has also entitled and platted large home developments which can be seen in Active Projects.
The Kern Company has brokered individual transactions in excess of $150 million and has brokered multiple transactions for well-known corporate clients, such as Lennar Homes, Chrysler Automotive, CVS, D.R. Horton, Lexus/Toyota, and Benderson Development. Our relationships and market knowledge throughout Florida give our clients a competitive edge when they are ready to sell.
The Kern Company manages a portfolio of investor-owned vacant land holdings, multi-family apartment units, commercial shopping centers and free standing properties, as well as businesses including Pecan Park Flea & Farmer’s Market. and Ocean Eleven Suites. We have depth of experience in managing assets that are being held for future sale, as well as managing assets that were purchased for a quick turn-around. Our focus is to minimize costs during any hold, while maximizing the use of the property whether it is through re-entitling the property for a different use, leasing up the property with commercial or residential tenants, or growing the businesses so that the growth can cover the costs of the investment. We have found that sometimes there is great opportunity in purchasing an existing, and often under-performing property, upgrading/retooling, and manage the existing business for future cash flow base resale, or holding and generating cash flow while rezoning for future redevelopment
James W. Kern took over The Kern Company in South Florida in 1996 and has over 35 years of experience in the commercial real estate business specializing in commercial investment and brokerage. Jim has developed a significant investment business as a principal. Since 1997, he has partnered with various investors to acquire 50+ properties for a total of over $150 million. The company’s primary focus has been on distressed and opportunistic purchases during the past recession and present recovery of the Florida market. In addition, Jim remains active in the brokerage business, where his focus has been on development properties.
Jim believes that one of the keys to his success has been giving back to the community that has served him so well. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Miami International Seminary and Miami Area Youth for Christ. Jim has also served on the board of Encounters in Excellence and Big City Mountaineers, an organization founded by the Kern Family for which Jim served on the board for over a decade.
Jim is an Eagle Scout and was raised with a great love for the outdoors. As an avid hunter and angler, Jim holds wildlife preservation dear to his heart. He also holds an active Florida Real Estate Broker license and graduated from The Florida State University with honors with degrees in Economics and social sciences.
Jim is a native to Miami, FL and has recently relocated the Kern Company to New Smyrna Beach, FL.
Executive Project Manager
Melissa has over 15 years of experience in construction, site development and project management. She continues to serve as a project manager for The Kern Company and manages over 100 million dollars in commercial land projects at various stages of seeking and maintaining entitlements. Melissa manages all aspects of the entitlements including environmental, land use, zoning, concurrency (traffic, water, sewer, school), and development agreement approvals with local municipalities as well as DRI modifications with state and local agencies. Melissa manages all of the project related professionals including zoning and land use attorneys, project planners, engineers, architects, and environmental experts among others. She also drafts investor relations, manages project finances including budgeting, calls for additional capital, and maintenance of vendor proposals and their related invoices.
Prior to joining The Kern Company, Melissa broke into the real estate industry with a commercial construction company. Prior to joining the real estate industry, Melissa worked for over 10 years as a project manager in technology consulting. During that time she worked for Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, managing large process redesign and technology implementation projects for companies in multiple industries.
Residential Sales & Assistant Project Manager
Sarah grew up in Miami, FL and joined her father at the Kern Company in 2019. She is both a Realtor and assistant project manager. With the guidance of her father she has grown up in and around the real estate industry in both the commercial and residential sectors. Having a close personal and professional relationship with her father, Sarah chose to enter into the real estate industry on his team and begin a residential branch of the Kern Company in New Smyrna Beach, FL.
With a passion for real estate and sales, Sarah completed her real estate license one year after graduating from Florida State University where she majored in Editing, Writing, and Media with a minor in business. Sarah’s goal as a real estate agent is to form lasting, meaningful relationships with her clients through professional service and integrity.
Along with her career in real estate sales, Sarah manages sales for Space Coast Materials, a shell pit associated with the Kern Company. She is also the lead manager of Ocean Eleven Suites, a boutique hotel owned and operated by the Kern Company and investors. Her drive and positive attitude have allowed Sarah to balance her work effectively and efficiently in all business ventures she is a part of.