James A. Franke
James A. Franke is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he received an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering (1983) with a course concentration in the automotive field.
Upon graduation, Jim became an engineer with Chrysler Corporation involved with the development of internal engine components. In 1984 Jim left Chrysler to start his own business, an automotive restoration facility specializing in Jaguars and Austin Healeys.
In 1986 Jim hired a manager to run the facility, and began working on a daily basis with his father, Thomas Franke, in his various real estate endeavors. In 1989, Jim expanded his automotive activities by opening a classic car dealership, which also did a limited amount of SCCA racing. In 1993, Jim decided to close down the automotive businesses to concentrate his attention on real estate development.
In 1993, Jim and his brother-in-law, Kevin J. Belew, created Norfolk Development Corporation to develop for sale multifamily and single family residential properties. In September of 2008, Norfolk delivered its 1500th home. Norfolk's 2007 revenues were $13 million. Adding the development that Jim did with his father to the homes built by Norfolk, he has directed the construction of over 2,000 residential units.
The Franke family together with Dennis Sherman founded Laurel Health Care, a long term care development and operating company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, which they have profitably grown to over 3,000 beds located in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia. Jim is a stockholder of Laurel. Laurel is capable of developing, financing, building and operating all types of long term care facilities.
Jim is a shareholder of a group of three hotels in the counties of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire in England. This group is known as Abacus Hotels, Ltd. and has a total of over a hundred rooms.