Spotlight: Owner and Founder John Barkett

July 20, 2022
Headshot of John Barkett

As founder and leader of Barkett Realty, John Barkett is an established real estate professional holding more than three decades of experience, two of which serving the Greater Tampa Bay area. With ambitious vision, John has founded an array of successful real estate businesses over the years, and although they are all distinct entities, behind them is one essential motivation: client-focused relationships and solutions. 

John started his career in New York City in the early 1990’s as a commercial appraiser and licensed salesperson while earning an M.S. in Real Estate Valuation and Analysis from New York University. Upon moving to Florida in 2000, John knew he wanted to establish his own small boutique agency, but he made it his mission to break the mold of typical small agencies. His philosophy is that strong, genuine and personal relationships are the backbone of any successful real estate transaction. 

Additionally, John notes that at this time, St. Petersburg was incredibly different from the bustling, vibrant city we know today. Whereas real estate work in New York City involved redevelopment and building up vertically due to the lack of raw land, much of St. Petersburg real estate in the early 2000’s focused on development sprawl.

In 2002, John established Property Valuation Specialists (PVS). PVS’s goal is to equip lenders and financial stakeholders with highly detailed analysis and specific market insight necessary to make confident decisions that are financially feasible, maximally productive and relevant to the local market. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Property Valuation Specialists has maintained a constant pulse on the growth of St. Petersburg as well as Greater Tampa Bay, and is knowledgeable in predicting future real estate trends in the area. 

The front exterior shot of the Barkett Realty office in the MLK District of Downtown St. Pete.

Next, Barkett Realty was founded, offering full-service solutions to commercial and residential real estate owners, tenants, investors and developers. John’s client-focused, relationship-based ideology shines through at Barkett Realty, as his brokerage offers both commercial and residential services, while leveraging its strong ties to valuation and analysis. 

He shares, “Other small brokerages force agents to select commercial or residential and work solely in that vertical. The Barkett philosophy is that both commercial and residential should work together. We believe you shouldn’t have to hand off your Client’s needs to another team as the relationship is of the utmost importance.  If the agent wishes to stay active in the deal then they have the ability to be paired up with a senior agent to assist and learn that side of the market, while maintaining their relationship. To be forced to hand off a Client just goes against how we operate.”

John’s third business, Bay2Gulf Property Management, was created to serve the increasing needs of Barkett Realty’s Clients. Bay2Gulf specializes in holistic and day-to-day management of commercial, mixed-use and multifamily properties. Here, John and his team are able to assist Clients in more complex commercial investments by providing a trusting, quality relationship as an extension of the Barkett Realty team. Many Clients who have come to rely on Barkett Realty’s ability to source off market deals, had expressed a desire to diversify their portfolios and include more management intensive assets that would yield a higher overall return of and on investment.  To do that, they require sound brokerage assistance and advice to identify the asset and negotiate a deal, credible valuation insight and the ability to lease up and manage the asset through an expected holding period, which Bay2Gulf provides.  By providing a high caliber one-stop-shop for brokerage, valuation and management services, the combined companies allow investors to invest in assets they otherwise would shy away from and reap the benefits.

“Clients want to know that they can trust who would be there to help with the process,” shares John. “We want to be able to offer all these services in a well-oiled machine.”  The management arm has grown out of Clients’ needs for assistance to get to desired returns on deals they otherwise wouldn’t consider.

Barkett Realty’s Beachside office opened in early 2022 just steps away from the sands of St. Pete Beach, sharing its unique space with Sea Grapes Wine Lounge and Light Fare. John’s vision for experiential retail became a reality providing Clients a relaxed and welcoming environment as well as a feeling of empowerment over the process. John’s vision of the future of the real estate brokerage experience has proven to be spot on in this new endeavor, located in the #1 beach in the United States in 2022 per Trip Advisor.  The concept was designed for locals as well as people vacationing as it provides a much needed oasis for travelers from other parts of the country and beyond where all of their senses are engaged.  Someone traveling from California that has never experienced the west coast of Florida can enjoy an obscure glass of wine selected by sommelier, eat amazing charcuterie prepared by trained butcher/head chef and sourced from around the country, listen to great music, and if they happen to see real estate displayed that interests them, then get any questions answered. On the flip side of the coin, where else would a savvy home or commercial real estate owner list their property than Barkett Beachside?

Photo of John and Julie

Shortly after opening the doors, the Beachside office experienced a major success that was initiated over a glass of wine and some amazing charcuterie! John’s team assisted a luxury buyer with a major wish list: toes in the sand, dock for a boat, new construction and high-end finishes coupled with a quick turnaround time. The team closed on the $6.9 million Indian Shores estate while moving from contract to closing in less than a week. 

John’s ability to mobilize strategic opportunities lends itself to his newest leadership role at Apogee Real Estate Partners, which he established with partners John Stadler and Gordon Crozier, forming a unique synergy with combined decades of experience. At Apogee, John leverages his decades of analytics and district building as well as community involvement to assist in developing projects that fit the needs of not only the surrounding communities, but of investors and development partners. The Apogee team combines their expertise and knowledge for development throughout the southeast region. 

“We want to be a part of responsible and forward thinking growth within the region while paying attention to the constant changes in the market and the needs of end users and market participants alike.” shared John.  “As St. Pete evolves, we want to stay at the forefront of it all.”

The newly redone landscape view of under 1-375 Park, the development project spearheaded by Apogee.

Two projects exemplify John’s strong belief in giving back to the community and being a part of the solution. First, is development of an under 1-375 Park along MLK Jr. Street N led by John, alongside City Council Chair Gina Driscoll and other city officials. The park – already partially complete with landscaping - will also include shaded public parking, a gathering space and public art  The second venture is the Trail’s Crossing project, which is a linear cultural park proposed for the land under I-275 that will safely funnel pedestrians across major thoroughfares to the Pinellas Trail and beyond to the Warehouse Arts District as well as the future Tropicana Field redevelopment and further downtown. The area will provide a safe, shaded and landscaped park-like environment that plays on St. Petersburg’s vibrant arts community and turns the Pinellas Trail into a pedestrian terminus and the asset that has up until now been largely overlooked. 

John’s passion for Tampa Bay real estate and development go far beyond his own business endeavors, as he serves in the St. Petersburg community as Vice Chair for the Transportation Committee and a Voting Member for Public Policy at the Chamber of Commerce and also as a Board Member of the MLK Business District. These roles allow him to stay at the forefront of all aspects of St. Petersburg’s real estate industry as he has a front row seat at the evolution of the local economy.

John’s diverse experience, analytic mindset, local market knowledge and sense of civic responsibility as an active community leader all contribute to his unique role in shaping Tampa Bay’s economic future. He has touched multiple facets of real estate throughout his notable professional career, each one deepening his professional wisdom and reinforcing his skills and abilities to help Clients with diverse goals. For 30 years, from his origins in New York to his roots in Tampa Bay, John has been passionately committed to his ventures, his growing professional team, the future of St. Petersburg, and most importantly, his Clients.

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