Joe Lewis Will Rank Alongside Walt Disney In Local History Books!
You may never have heard of Joe Lewis. And that’s probably okay with him. Lewis, a British billionaire, is the principal in the Tavistock Group, a private investment company with interests in more than 175 firms worldwide. Lewis keeps a low profile locally, but when the history of Orlando is rewritten decades from now, he will undoubtedly rank alongside Walt Disney as the most important businessperson ever to turn a shovel of Central Florida sand.
Lewis left school at 15 to help his father run Tavistock Banqueting, a London catering company. He later owned a West End nightclub called Hanover Grand, where, ironically, he gave Robert Earl his first job. Earl would later found Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood.
After selling his family business some 30 years ago, Lewis founded the Tavistock Group. One of its subsidiaries, Lake Nona Property Holdings, owns Lake Nona Golf & Country Club and the land on which Medical City is taking shape.
Tavistock was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Medical City through its donations of land and cash, its work with local planning and economic development organizations, and its significant investments in life-sciences companies.
If that weren’t enough, the company has bolstered its corporate citizenship with an array of philanthropic efforts. The annual Tavistock Cup golf tournament, for example, has raised millions for such recipients as the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, The First Tee, Tavistock Scholars and the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association.