SARASOTA -- In the early 1990s, Larry Lieberman's company began buying land in a southwest section of Manatee County near Long Bar Pointe.
Over the years, the Ohio transplant's firm purchased several family-owned plots, eventually piecing them together to produce a lovely parcel, lined with lush mangroves and a breathtaking bay view.
Lieberman, owner and president of Barrington Group Inc., thought his corporation's plans for a residential subdivision were coming to fruition.
In 2000, he submitted plans seeking approval to build 253 multi-family units at Long Bar Pointe, according to Ronda Gallehue, a spokeswoman for the company. Lieberman's background as a builder includes a number of apartment and townhouse communities, dating back to the 1990s.
But the project was derailed by one problem after another.
After six years and many squabbles and concessions, he won the right to develop the land -- some of the last remaining waterfront property in the county.
And then the Great Recession hit. The project as it was originally conceived was never built.
Last summer, Lieberman faced foreclosure on the property. But he managed to hang onto it with fresh capital provided by a new business partnership with Medallion Home's Carlos Beruff and other partners.
On July 2, 2012, Lieberman's SBC Developments sold the 142-acre single-family portion of the development to Cargor Partners VIII-Long Bar Pointe for $6 million, according to Manatee County property appraiser documents.
At the same time, SBC Developments sold the remainder of the development, almost 400 acres, to a joint Long Bar Pointe venture for $6.3 million, documents show.
Beruff and Lieberman are the managing general partners of the joint venture.
They hope to build a mixed-use development featuring residential, hotel, shopping and office spaces, and a marina.
Lieberman formed the corporation that is now the Barrington Group in 1974.
By the mid-1990s, he had acquired some 21 properties, spread over five states, and operated offices in Columbus, Ohio, and Atlanta, according to the corporation's website.
In 1996, Lieberman moved to a new home in Sarasota and took most of his company with him.
He has done at least two projects in Manatee County: Carolina Landings, a 200-unit townhome project built in 2003; and Savannah Preserve, a 90-unit condo project, built in 2005, said Gallehue.
His firm also built and currently manages apartment communities in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Georgia, she said.
Also in his portfolio are developments in Atlanta, such as Battle Creek Village and Rugby Valley Apartment Homes, she added.
The company has about 125 employees, said Gallehue.
He is a past president of the Ohio Apartment Association, developed or redeveloped more than 3,000 units, and directed investment and management for more than 10,000 units in at least 14 states, according to his official biography.
"As owner and president of Barrington Group Inc. for nearly 40 years, Mr. Lieberman has established an excellent industry track record, and has proven professionally to be a consummate development project sponsor," it said.
President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Board of Governors of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He is also a member of Manatee County's Gold Star Club, which raises reward money to help solve murders and serious crimes against children, according to its website.
"Our focus is how to develop the beautiful waterfront land, keeping in mind all the environmental issues we face, developing an ecologically and environmentally friendly project that will be a benefit," he told the Herald editorial board last month.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.