skip navigation

Florida Gulf Coast University

Website Directory  

Harvey and Janet Cohen Center - "Harv's Place"

Their Life Together

Four months later on October 16, 1947, they eloped. That fall he started his professional career at a local law firm and she quit her job at Mabley & Carew to make a home for them. She was creative and frugal, enjoying her search for the finest antiques to fill their home. Janet saved the money their parents gave them when they married and put away a portion of every paycheck. Eventually they used this bounty as a down payment on their first house.

On August 12, 1949, they welcomed their only child Frances Ory Cohen to the world and doted on her. She instilled in Fran a strong, independent character and honest and caring values. When Janet's only brother Sam died in a home fire, she reared his children Kim and Scott for much of their early lives. During these years, Janet led a Brownie Troop, worked for a health clinic for underprivileged pregnant women, and later volunteered at Heart Mart (a local non-profit auxiliary) while continuing her practice of saving, which eventually gave them their start in real estate development. In 1959, they bought their second home in a new development--Hilton Head Island, SC--before venturing to commercial real estate.

Cincinnati attorney turned developer Harvey Cohen was attracted to a project's potential and he found the most intriguing challenges in urban revitalization. By developing surrounding properties, Harvey turned the once quiet Skywalk of downtown Cincinnati into a bustling commercial area. Recognizing his propensity for risk-taking, the city approached him to develop a fringe area then known as Harry's Corner. The expansive Convention Place Mall resulted. The renewal project closest to his heart was the old Cincinnatian Hotel--a downtown landmark since 1882, where he and Janet honeymooned. When its charm was restored in the 1980's, Harvey and Janet retired to Naples, Florida.

In their personal lives, they lived by the 10 Commandments, known for being honest and good-hearted, and they often exhibited a wonderful shared sense of humor. In business, Harvey's word was his bond and his handshake was stronger than any contract.