Riverside Market's uncertain fate has had a lot to do with the parking lot next door; this spring, café owner Julian Siegel wanted to buy the empty lot from the city to expand the parking at his beer- and dog-friendly spot. But before he noticed, the plot was swept up by Jesse Gaddis -- one of the wealthiest people in the city and the owner of Yellow Cab.
The 80-year-old Gaddis, who owns a vacant building on the other side of the lot, had to give back the land because the city had advertised the wrong auction date. Siegel is still after it, as he tries to work out the licensing that would let him continue serving beer on the premises.
Gaddis may have made his name with taxicabs, but he's one of the city's most prolific real-estate investors. Keep reading for a Google Map we compiled of some -- but not all -- of his Broward County properties.
View Gaddis properties in a larger map
The map includes properties held by several holding companies that are listed as belonging to Gaddis in records from the Florida Department of Corporations. We've surely missed a bunch, and we had to approximate the locations of a few undeveloped properties, representing a few of them with a single place marker.
These include a couple of blocks of empty lots in the Sistrunk neighborhood, one of the most blighted areas of Fort Lauderdale, which stands to see some more action and higher values if the Sistrunk Boulevard revitalization does its job.
Gaddis has been a heavy political contributor and shaper of fortunes for decades. He's donated heavily to longtime friend John Rodstrom, the Broward commissioner whose district includes Riverside Market and the empty lot. He and several family member each donated the $250 maximum to the most recent campaign of Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Romney Rogers, who also oversees that area.
The properties listed on the map are a mix of commercial and residential buildings, including many buildings and lots that appear to be vacant or in a state of disrepair. Most of the homes are modest, single-family, one-story dwellings. A couple are private Gaddis family residences. Curiously, Gaddis also owns a cul-de-sac -- the paved street but not the properties around it -- in a private subdivision of Lauderhill. It's valued at $10, and we haven't put it on the map until we find out what the deal is there.
This is but a small sampling. From the Sun-Sentinel in 2010:
[H]e keeps investing in real estate. He now owns a majority stake in the 200,000-square-foot Harbor Shops mall and at least one square block off Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, along with hundreds of acres near Lake Okeechobee and other South Florida holdings. For a decade, he's also been making loans on properties based on what he considers their foreclosure value -- not their market price. That conservative approach let him weather the real estate slump and even capitalize on markdowns.
Gaddis owns a multitude of businesses around the state, including several cab companies and holding companies. He's been covered in New Times before, mostly due to his influence on officials and monopoly on airport cab dispatching. His businesses are a far cry from the laid-back, boozy retail of his unhappy neighbor, Riverside Market.
But the recent dispute over a parking lot (still owned by the city right now) has brought a little more attention to the quiet empire of Fort Lauderdale's Taxi King and to the considerable political influence that keeps him at the top of his game.