Mosaic Development founder Roxanne Amoroso's name has become synonymous with the kind of downtown redevelopment projects that can transform a city.
"I have a passion for development and facilitating change in an area that is ready for revitalization," she told GrowthSpotter. "I think I'm one of those few people who gets to do exactly what they love, and that passion for what I love makes me fight harder for change. It makes me have a determination level that is far greater than average."
As a senior vice president at Banc of America Community Development Corporation, Amoroso was instrumental in the design and early phasing of downtown Orlando's Creative Village. She also landed downtown Tampa's 28-acre Encore redevelopment project. She left BOA in 2012 to start her firm, which is based in St. Petersburg.
"I had been and Bank of America for almost 13 years," she said. "I think it was just a natural transition for me to want to go from semi-public to private development. I was at a juncture in my life where I wanted to make changes."
In December, the city of Kissimmee signed a contract with Mosaic to redevelop more than eight acres in the heart of downtown with a mix of residential, parking, retail and a signature hotel. Amoroso said development of the Toho square site should begin this year.
The Mosaic team and its architecture firm are designing a 400-space parking garage, apartment building and townhomes on the site. City officials said design is being tweaked and buildings reoriented so all of the apartments will have a view of Kissimmee's Lakefront Park.
"We hope to go before council in March for a funding agreement, and we are in discussions with finance partners for the apartments right now," she said.
The hotel project will come later, primarily due to the time and expense of environmental remediation at the site of the former Hansel electrical substation.
"I don't do traditional development. I do highly creative development - creative not just in design but in strategy," she said. "I'm known for having unique strategies that work and implementing them in a way that creates successful change."
Much of her focus for the last 15 years has been on the financing end, but Amoroso said she also loves putting on a hardhat.
"I love to see the buildings being built," she said. "I love the design - if it’s done right, it’s the springboard to something massive."
The youngest of seven children raised by a single mother, Amoroso said she learned how to problem-solve by watching her mother, who started her own financial services company.
"She really made something of herself, and she taught me a work ethic and she told me the only thing that would hold me back in life was me," she said.
Amoroso joined the Air Force at age 17. After her military career she went to work in the Planning and Zoning department for a town in Maine. She moved to Florida in 1989 to take a position with the Sembler Co. and later with BOA.
She has two grown children - both own their own businesses - and five grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, mostly vegetables and herbs. When she can, she incorporates community gardens into her projects. Encore, for example, will get a community garden this year on land set aside for a future middle school.