The largest independent thrift in Florida, BankAtlantic Bancorp., last week acquired a real estate development company for $20 million.

BankAtlantic vice chairman John Abdo will be chairman and chief executive of St. Lucie West Holding Corp., which is developing a 12,000- home planned community between Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

The $2.8 billion-asset banking company, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, wanted to diversify its sources of noninterest income, Mr. Abdo said.

BankAtlantic chairman Alan Levan was president and chief executive officer of a real estate development company before joining the bank 10 years ago.

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