"Swing to Gate"
Real Estate Development
|Headquarters||Jacksonville, Florida, USA|
|Key people||Herb Peyton, Chairman
John Peyton, President
Mitchell Rhodes, COO
|Revenue||$1.44 billion (2008))|
Gate Petroleum is a privately held diversified corporation headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, the 11th largest in Florida in 2010. In FY 2008, the company ranked #338 on the Forbes list of America's Largest Private Companies. According to Forbes, it had sales of $1.44 billion and employed approximately 3,500 people, while Jacksonville Business Journal indicated 2,200 employees in that same year.
Herbert Hill Peyton started the company in 1960 with a single gas station on Jacksonville's Northside. The company grew during the 1960s with additional stations in the southeast United States. The name "Gate" comes from the city of Jacksonville's slogan, "The Gateway to Florida". In response to the 1973 oil crisis, the company began to diversify and added convenience items to their filling station shelves.
- The first alternative investment was a 500-acre (2.0 km2) farm in nearby Hastings, Florida that grew potatoes. Overall, it was a profitable investment, but the asset was eventually sold.
- Gate Roofing Company was created during 1978 in Green Cove Springs, Florida to manufacture asphalt felt. The business was very successful and the plant was expanded and operated 24/7 before being sold to TAMKO Building Products in 1994.
- In the early 1980s, Peyton transformed the company from a petroleum retailer to a diversified conglomerate. He bought the Florida real estate holdings of Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Co., which was then owned by Phillips Petroleum Company for $60 million. The purchase contained more than 16,000 acres (65 km2) of land in northeast Florida including the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, parcels at Ponte Vedra Beach, Deerwood Country Club, Southpoint and the Guana tract.
- The first property to be sold was the 8,000 acres (32 km2) of primitive woodlands on the Guana River. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection purchased the property for $49 million that became the Guana River State Park.
- The initial segment of J. Turner Butler Boulevard (State Road 202) was completed in 1979 and access to the Southpoint area was improved, facilitating development of the area east of Interstate 95. Gate partnered with the Bryant Skinner Company in 1980 to create the 250-acre (1.0 km2) Southpoint office park.
- When manufacturer Houdaille-Duval decided to eliminate their Florida construction division in 1980, Gate purchased a Jacksonville prestressed concrete plant and five asphalt plants for $10 million. The asphalt plants were sold a year later for a significant profit. Gate then offered $1 million for Houdaille-Duval's prestressed concrete plant in Houston, which was worth twice that amount. H-D accepted the offer, and both concrete plants are still Gate Concrete assets.
- Epping Forest, the 58-acre (230,000 m2) former estate of Alfred I. du Pont, was acquired from Raymond K. Mason in 1984 for $8 million. At the time, Mason was Chairman of the Charter Company, which was facing bankruptcy.
- Westinghouse Electric Company, who jointly developed the east side of Blount Island with Tenneco in the early 1970s at a cost of $125 million in the failed Offshore Power Systems venture, sold the property to Gate for $17 million in 1985. In November 1990, the property's 20-year old crane, once the world's largest, was sold to the China State Shipbuilding Corporation for $3 million. It was dismantled and shipped overseas.
- Gate purchased 28 7-Eleven convenience stores in Jacksonville and Alachua county in 1990, along with a noncompete agreement for 20 years.
- The Gulf Life Tower, one of Jacksonville's tallest buildings, was on the market for nearly three years with an asking price of $30 million. Gate purchased it from American General Insurance (now American International Group) in 1993 for less than $10 million, spent several million dollars to renovate it, and renamed it Riverplace Tower.
- In February 2008, Gate acquired 150 West Main Street, a 20-story office building in Norfolk, Virginia.
Filling stations and convenience stores are still the core business of the company, which operates from a 57,000 sq ft (5,300 m2) corporate headquarters in Mandarin. Elkins Constructors built the facility in 1999. The Peyton family owns 80% of the company, and the rest belongs to "Brothers": long-term employees (both male and female).
John Peyton, the oldest son of company founder Herb Peyton, took an eight-year leave from Gate to serve two terms as Jacksonville's mayor from 2003 to 2011. John returned to the family business and was named company President when his father, Herb retired on January 3, 2012. Herb remained Chairman and Mitchell Rhodes was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Hill Peyton became Vice President of Marketing. In Jacksonville, Gate is Northeast Florida's 16th-largest private sector employer.
The Gate Construction Materials division consists of two companies and operates throughout the eastern, southeastern, and midwestern United States. They are members of the AltusGroup national partnership of companies that provide precast concrete products and services.
Gate Precast manufactures architectural precast concrete at facilities in Kissimmee, Florida; Monroeville, Alabama; Oxford, North Carolina; Ashland City, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; Winchester, Kentucky and until they closed due to lack of market demand, Little Rock, Arkansas and Sarasota, Florida.
Resorts and clubs
The company owns and operates four private clubs in the Jacksonville area:
- Epping Forest Yacht Club, originally the St. Johns riverfront estate of industrialist Alfred I. du Pont.
- River Club of Jacksonville, a members-only dining establishment located in the top 2 floors of the 37-story Wells Fargo Center was purchased in March, 2004.
- Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, recipient of the coveted Five Diamond Award, AAA's highest hospitality honor. There are only 6 Five Diamond resorts in Florida, and 30 Five Diamond resorts in the United States.
- The Lodge & Club, an American Automobile Association Four Diamond resort at Ponte Vedra Beach was acquired in late 1996.
- Deerwood Country Club was owned by Gate from 1983 to 1999, when it was purchased by the club membership.
Real estate development
GL National (Gate Lands) is the commercial real estate division of Gate. Epping Forest, the 58-acre (230,000 m2) former estate of Alfred I. du Pont, was developed into the Epping Forest Yacht Club and the Epping Forest gated community, comprising 90-$1 million homes and 80+ condominiums. Other real estate projects have included Deerwood Park, a 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) office park on the south side of Jacksonville, the adjacent 250-acre (1.0 km2) Southpoint Office Park, the Shops at Ponte Vedra, the Shops at Bartram Walk, Riverplace Tower (28 stories currently bearing the Wachovia name), 150 West Main Street and the 5,400-acre (22 km2) Cummer Trust Property in northern St. Johns County. Kendall Town at Regency was Gate's most recent development endeavor.
Gate Maritime Properties (GMP) handles waterfront industrial land, primarily at Blount Island. In 1986, the United States Marine Corps established the Biennial Maintenance Command (BMC) at Blount Island, Jacksonville, Florida on 262 acres (1.06 km2) leased from GMP for $11 million per year. The lease between GMP and the Marine Corps was due to end in 2004, so in 2000, the Corp stated their intention to purchase the property when the lease expired. The Marine Corps budget included $115.7 million for the acquisition, but extended negotiations did not result in an agreement. Gate contended that the land was worth between $160 million and $200 million, so in August 2004, the Marine Corps seized 1,100 acres (4.5 km2) on Blount Island (Gate's entire Blount Island holdings) by eminent domain and paid $101 million (later increased to $160 million). When land is seized for uses that benefit the public, the government is required to pay landowners "just compensation", so Gate asked for a jury to decide the land's value. On November 14, 2005, a jury determined that the government should pay $160 million for the parcel.
Ponte Vedra Club Realty is a full service real estate company in business since 1937.
Gate Title Company offers title insurance and closing services in north Florida. Their first office opened in December 2006 at Ponte Vedra with a staff of 4.
Gate Retail Stores encompassed 225 gas and convenience stores in 6 states. The retail management utilizes Retalix software and is split into two divisions. The southern division in Jacksonville includes Gate stores in Florida, and the northern division, managed from Charlotte, controls the stores in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.
Gate Fleet Service is a fleet management tool to provide control of purchases and increased driver accountability. The Universal Card is affiliated with Voyager, accepted at 200,000+ locations. The Gate Private Label Card is accepted at all Gate stores.
Gate Fuel Service distributes fuel throughout Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Kentucky, and Louisiana, including convenience stores owned by Gate Petroleum.
Gate purchased majority ownership of InMotion Entertainment in 2006. InMotion is the largest airport based entertainment & electronics retailer in the United States with over 60 locations in major airports. On October 2, 2013 private equity firms Palladin Consumer Retail Partners and Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. announced the acquisition of InMotion Entertainment from Gate Petroleum.
Gate Lubricants, initiated in September 2003, supplies lubricants and hydraulic fluid to commercial customers in north and central Florida.
Gate sponsors numerous civic activities and charitable events in the Jacksonville area. The most well known is the Gate River Run, the 15K US National championship race that attracts more than 15,000 runners each year—the largest 15K in the USA. Another big event is the Gate Open, a charity golf tournament for the area’s best amateur and professional golfers. The Jacksonville Fishing Rodeo, begun in 2010, is a popular family-oriented event held in June.
On September 24, 2008, Gate Petroleum's parent company, Gate Corporation, officially announced the establishment of the GATE Foundation, the philanthropic affiliate of Gate companies. The announcement was made during Gate’s annual charity golf tournament at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. The 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt entity was established “to support efforts and services that nurture and protect the well-being of family and community,” according to its mission statement. Hill Peyton, son of company founder Herb Peyton, was named President and Chairman of the GATE Foundation. The foundation’s first major gift was $100,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Northeast Florida.
Gate Ethanol and Hamilton County, Florida officials reached an agreement in early 2004 for Gate to build a $160 million ethanol plant on 90 acres (360,000 m2) north of White Springs, Florida. The plant would have the capacity to produce 50 million gallons of ethanol annually and employ almost 50. In late 2006, the company announced that due to soaring costs of construction and the fluctuation in the price of ethanol, their original plan was no longer viable and would be scrapped.
In October, 2007 Gate Biofuels announced plans to construct a terminal at the port in Jacksonville to receive and store Ethanol, which would be blended with gasoline before distribution to gas stations. Nationwide, ethanol production increased 33% from the prior year creating an oversupply because few distributors were prepared to perform the blending process. Another product under consideration is biodiesel, which is made from natural oils. The $90 million, 55 million gallon facility will have both rail and ship capabilities and is expected to be completed in 2010.
- Forbes Magazine: November 3, 2008-America's Largest Private Companies
- "TopRank Florida - Top 200 Private Companies" Florida Trend, June 1, 2010
- Jacksonville Business Journal: September 23, 2008-Gate launches charitable foundation
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 142, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- "914 HALL PARK DR, GCS" Clay County Florida Property Appraiser
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 144-145, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 163-181, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 186-189, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 145, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 148-150, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 154, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 158, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- "Across the State" Orlando Sentinel, November 3, 1990
- Conte, Christian: "7-Eleven re-enters Northeast Florida" Jacksonville Business Journal, October 14, 2011
- Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, page 159, Herbert Hill Peyton, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4
- "CB Richard Ellis retains leasing and management of 150 W. Main in downtown Norfolk" CB Richard Ellis, February 8, 2008
- "Property record: 9450 San Jose Blvd". Duval County Property Appraiser. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- Finotti, John: "Gate tycoon reveals self, business secrets" Florida Times-Union, July 20, 1997
- Bull, Roger: "Herb Peyton retires as president of Gate Petroleum" Florida Times-Union, January 3, 2012
-  Concrete Products, April 1, 2006, Gate Precast
- Geddes, Ryan: "Gate completes purchase of River Club" Jacksonville Business Journal, March 15, 2004
- Jacksonville Business Journal: December 4, 1996-Lodge and Bath Club sold to Gate Petroleum subsidiary
- Trinidad, Alison: "Rift develops in Deerwood" Florida Times-Union, August 25, 2005
- Geddes, Ryan: "Gate buys Cummer tract" Jacksonville Business Journal, January 16, 2004
- Florida Times-Union: November 16, 2005-Marines to pay $160M for Blount property
- Jacksonville Business Journal: February 16, 2007-Gate Petroleum diversifies
- Bulk Transporter: Oct 1, 2003-New equipment part of Gate Fuel Service efforts to drive service, efficiency
- "BRS and Palladin form InMotion Entertainment Group". Reuters PE Hub. October 2, 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- McNally, Bob (May 25, 2013). "Plenty of chances to win in Fishing Rodeo". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Foundation helps Jacksonville University seniors" Florida Times-Union, October 24, 2009
- Holifield, Cindy: "Braggin' Rights" Florida Times-Union, May 1, 2010
- Jacksonville Business Journal: October 5, 2006-Gate scraps plans for ethanol plant
- Florida Times-Union: Oct 19, 2007-Gate Petroleum says demand is driving plans for ethanol plant
- Jacksonville Business Journal: October 18, 2007-Gate planning $90M biofuels terminal
- Gate Petroleum Official website
- Gate Concrete & Precast
- Gate Fleet Service
- Epping Forest Yacht Club
- Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
- The Lodge & Club
- The River Club
- Ponte Vedra Club Realty
- Gate Title Company