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Delray Beach developer of oceanfront mansions built on spec. Author, marathon runner and philanthropist. Builder of a $29 million "green" mansion, who is also planning a 67,000-square-foot oceanfront residence in Manalapan that he plans to list for $135 million.
What is your full name?
Francis Edward McKinney III.
What is your birth date?
June 28, 1963.
Where did you grow up?
A town outside Indianapolis, Indiana, called Carmel.
Where do you live?
Do you have any other homes?
I have one in Colorado in a little town called Cañon City.
Do you have children?
Yes, a nine-year-old daughter, Laura Katherine.
What was the first job you ever had?
As a kid, my first job was during a blizzard in 1977. I made a lot of money pushing cars up a frozen hill. It was my first introduction to free enterprise and capitalism. My first real job was when I was 18, digging sand traps on a golf course in Deerfield Beach.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Evel Knievel, Willy Wonka, Robin Hood, a stuntman.
What is something that people don't know about you?
I'm a nerd in sheep's clothing — the polar opposite of my public image. I'm in bed at 9 p.m. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, I don't overeat, I don't oversleep, I don't gamble, I don't womanize. I'm kind of a boring guy.
What's the best piece of advice you ever received?
Exercise your risk threshold like a muscle. Eventually it will become stronger and able to withstand greater pressure.
How much money do you have in your wallet right now?
I typically carry less than $100.
Do you feel rich?
Ever since I started our charity in 1998, I have felt enriched. The bringing together of one's spiritual highest calling with their professional highest calling — which is what we do through our Caring House Project Foundation — has made me feel that now I know what it feels like to be rich.
What is your favorite restaurant?
It depends on if I'm in training or not. When I'm not training, it would be any place that serves a banana split. When I'm in training, it would be Nutrition Cottage in Delray Beach.
Do you watch television?
I like SportsCenter, and I watch SpongeBob with my daughter at 8:00 every night. That's pretty much it.
What kind of car do you drive?
I drive two: a 1988 Yugo and a 2002 Honda Insight hybrid.
What one word would you use to describe yourself?
What one word would other people use to describe you?
What publications do you read regularly?
My own books are my guide and compass. I also read newsletters written by real estate investment associations.
What was the last book you read?
The last two would be "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle and "The Paleo Diet for Athletes."
Do you have an iPod?
I have an MP3 player. It's my lifeline in the desert when I'm running the race. I have primarily heavy metal on it.
Do you cook?
Yes, my daughter loves the pasta that I make. It's my specialty.
What's your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon?
I'm an usher at a 6:45 a.m. mass, along with my daughter. We go to church, then we go to brunch at the same place we've been going to since she was born — the Delray Beach Marriott. After brunch, we do a little of what we call our "tour of Delray," which is to drive around to see what's new. Then I come back and read and take a two-hour nap in the afternoon.
Since you don't drink or smoke and go to bed early, what's your biggest vice?
What's the status of your $135 million spec house?
We have it approved and permitted. We're not going to start it now based on the momentum we have with the green house. We want to start another green house before we start the spec house.
Why build green?
We're at the very beginning of the green movement, and the more people learn about how easy it is to live and go green, the more people are going to adopt it. We want to set the standard for luxury construction practices that are environmentally sensitive. I believe there will be a huge market for what we're doing.
What do you consider to be your greatest success?
What we're doing with the Caring House Project Foundation. The houses I build will be dust in 50 years, but the generations we're touching through the foundation — that's something that would be nice to have etched onto the old headstone.
If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
I would have started earlier on the risk side. At the beginning, I walked away from some things that probably would have made sense, which I don't walk away from today.
How would you like to be remembered?
Much more for what we've done for humanity, than as any "visionary real estate guy."