MIAMI—The biggest low-profile landowner in Florida is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Salt Lake City. The devoutly private faith is known to have at least 630,000 acres, including the massive Deseret cattle ranches in Central Florida.
The church seems to thrive with for-profit businesses they keep separate from their tax-exempt temples. But they're not typical.
"They've paid prices that other churches would not pay. Most churches have to raise their money on their own, they're not able to operate like that," says John Muzyka, a church real estate broker based in Texas, where the Mormons also have significant land holdings. "It's a unique situation."