Developers of South Florida
SunPost - 12-4-04
by Bobby Radical
In Central and North Florida,
the cash crop is considered to be oranges. So important is
the industry that, when a harmful fungus swept into this Sunshine
State, the state embarked on a program of clear cutting trees found
to be infected until outraged Floridians halted the program.
In Miami-Dade County, the
real cash crop is development. Springing forth from the ground
in every shape and size, residential and commercial projects may
as well be classified as plants for the concrete vegetation is spreading
And nowhere is the prospect
of a jungle more welcome than in the City of Miami where the mantra
for prosperity, whether true or not, is upscale development. Miami,
unlike other communities, does not shy away from being a Manhattan
South,it embraces it. After all, it is Miami-Dade's downtown region,
a city in every right, so why not? The new leadership is bound
to make itself concurrently on line in traffic and education and
services for Miami planner's neo-urbanistic visions.
But the boom is not restricted
to the city limits of the Magic City. Even in built out Miami
Beach there are still new projects coming up and the Northeast frontier
of Aventura, Sunny Isles and other points is still being probed
In front of this effort
to build are people called developers. Yes, some passionate
controlled-development advocates probably prefer they not be labeled
as such, but they are in fact individuals with interesting backgrounds
and personalities who are equipped with the knowledge to make it
in the real estate world. Virtually every developer worth his
or her salt has some kind of powerful trait. If they don't,
they get eaten alive. There is a lot of competition out there, after
In this Power Developers
section, the SunPost attempts to reflect this side based on various
sources of information either sent to this publication or researched
on the Internet. Consciously, we have stayed out of any controversial
htmlects of people's pasts (that we will save for another time)
and instead have concentrated on their accomplishments. We
should also state that this is, by no means, a comprehensive list. There
are a lot of developers out there and they all have their claims
to fame. We can only profile so many.
So sit down, have a wine,
put on your favorite classical music CD and read about the people
who are re-shaping this community. It's harvesting time and
the crops are ripe for the picking.
Jorge Perez is the chairman
and majority owner of the Related Group of Florida and a partner
of the Related Companies, a New York-based real estate company with
divisions and projects throughout the United States. Born in
Argentina and raised in Argentina and Colombia by Cuban-exile parents,
Perez has achieved a world-class reputation for cutting-edge work
in the construction, syndication and management of many of South
Florida's luxury properties.
Now, he embarks on his latest
and perhaps boldest development effort to date: a Miami Beach high-rise
condominium building collaboration with Philippe Starck, one of
the world's most renowned designers. The result of their partnership:
Icon, a two-tiered luxury condominium (located next to Related's
past project of Murano Grande) that rises 35 and 40 stories into
the sky and offers four interior themes: Classic, Nature, Culture,
Other innovative projects
under Perez's belt include Murano at Portofino, Ocean I and Ocean
II at Sunny Isles and Portofino Tower. Next year comes the Boca
Grande in Boca Raton; the Ocean III in Sunny Isles; the Slade in
Palm Beach and One Miami in downtown Miami.
To date, The Related Group
of Florida and its sister affiliates has built or rehabilitated
more than 200 projects in Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and
New York comprising upwards of 40,000 residential units. Together
with Related Capital Group, the New York affiliate of the Related
Companies, Perez's company ranks as the third largest owner of apartments
in the United States.
But Perez is more than just
about development, he is also a passionate connoisseur of art. Perez
is one of the world's major collectors of 20th century Latin American
paintings and sculpture. Works by Fernando Botero and Rufino Tamayo,
by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, along with many other emerging
and established artists, are included in his collection of more
than 400 pieces. Perez believes that art is a definition of
your living space and wants to share his passion and sentiment,
incorporating works of art from major and up and coming artists
in each of his projects. Perez has also been involved in the
community and has been active with the Miami Downtown Development
Authority, the Miami Dade Cultural Affairs Council and the University
of Miami Board of Trustees.
Developer Martin Z. Margulies
approaches each new real estate project as his work of art and he
prides himself on working on only one upscale project at a time,
allowing him to work on every htmlect of a building with his architects
and designers even before the first shovel goes into the ground. Past
luxury property credits include Grove Isle in Coconut Grove and
Grand Bay Towers in Key Biscayne.
Margulies newest project,
Bellini & Bal Harbour on the Ocean, with just 81 luxurious residences,
will sell from $1 million to $3 million, with penthouses priced
upon request. Margulies, a collector of American and European
art, made numerous trips to the stone quarries and factories of
Italy and Turkey to personally select the lush marbles, granites
and terracotta that will enhance the elegant 24-story boutique condominium's
grand lobby, gardens, private residences, and spa areas. With Bellini,
Margulies returns to the prestigious Bal Harbour area where twenty-five
years ago he created his first luxury residential project, The Kenilworth,
on the site of the old Kenilworth Hotel. The 24-story Bellini
will be topped out in January 2004 and is scheduled to be completed
in Fall of 2004.
Margulies is also active
in the Greater Miami community. He recently funded $2.5 million
for an 18,000 sq. ft. after-school educational and athletic center
for underprivileged children in Overtown.
Over thirty years ago, Tibor
Hollo forged a path for the future of Miami by constructing the
very first high-rise building on Brickell Avenue. A partner in the
powerful Florida East Coast Realty, Hollo's residential, hotel and
mixed-use buildings proliferate the Omni/Venetia area and the Brickell
corridor such as Bay Parc Plaza, the 2.5 million square foot Venetia/The
Grand, the Biscayne Bay Marriott Hotel and Marina, Plaza Venetia,
Flamingo Plaza, Vizcaya Towers and Vizcaya North, Center House,
Sans Souci Manor, Tropicana East and Tropicana West Apartments,
and the Twin Lakes Racquet Club. His projects also include 888 Brickell
Avenue, two United States Treasury Buildings and the United States
Justice Department Building in Downtown Miami.
In 1972 he built the first
high-rise office building in Brickell, one of his many firsts, Rivergate
Plaza, a landmark cornerstone of Miami's premier financial marketplace.
Three years later he developed Venetia/Omni, which helped redefine
In 1990 he began the innovative
restoration of a 40 year-old office building, One Bayfront Plaza,
located at the epicenter of downtown Miami. In 1996 he acquired
Colonnade Plaza, an elegant and architecturally significant, an
eight-story office building located on the prestigious Brickell
Avenue, which will become an anchor for the new luxury high-rise,
Brickell Bay Plaza, in 2004.
Hollo also built the first
new high-rise apartment building of the millennium, Bay Parc Plaza,
which opened in January 2000. This building, part of the Omni/Venetia
area, which is financed via an HUD/FHA loan insurance program, provides
a significant source of moderate rental housing in Miami.
Although Hollo's business
activities are largely devoted to commercial and residential developments
and management, he is an active participant in over 40 civic, fraternal
and religious organizations. He has served on Florida's Task
Force on Housing and Community Affairs as well the Governors Advisory
Council on Factory Built Housing. Hollo is a member of the Downtown
Advisory Committee and the Committee on Ecology and Beautification,
is on the executive board as Trustee of Barry University, is affiliated
with the City of Miami Beach's ad hoc committee for Economics Adjustment
Strategy, is on the county's Performing Arts Center Strategic Planning
Committee and serves on the board of directors of the Latin Builders
Hollo's latest project:
The Club at Brickell Bay, a 43-story luxury high-rise that is being
billed as Miami's Answer to Park Avenue.
and Melanie Muss
Stephen Muss's prolific
real estate career began in 1946 when he joined his father to establish
the Alexander Muss & Sons real estate development firm in New
York. He and his family moved permanently to Miami Beach in 1968. He
developed condominium projects in Key Biscayne, Miami, and Miami
Beach, including five Seacoast Towers, The Towers of Key Biscayne,
and The Towers of Quayside. In 1978 Muss acquired the Fontainebleau
When Stephen Muss announced
that his daughter would be appointed vice president of development
for his famed Miami Beach landmark, continued revitalization of
the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort went into high gear.
Melanie Muss is heading
up the resort's $90 million renovation. Bleau View, Fontainebleau's
new gourmet restaurant has opened to rave reviews, as did the addition
of the indoor playland and outdoor children's water theme park,
Cookie's World. Additionally, the hotel's grand lobby is undergoing
a major transformation.
The Musses also have partnered
with the Aventura-based mega-developer Turnberry Associates to build
Fontainebleau II, a $250 million condominium hotel located at the
resort. The project is more than 85 percent sold and construction
began earlier this year.
Prior to working for the
Fontainebleau, Melanie Muss was a marketing manager for The Estee
Lauder Companies, Inc. in New York. She received her Master
of Business Administration from New York University and a Bachelor
of Arts degree from Amherst College. Muss currently resides in Miami
Stephen Muss, meanwhile,
has remained active as a philanthropist. In 1981 he endowed
The Alexander Muss High School in Israel, named in memory of his
father, to help support Jewish continuity through education. He
now serves on the board of this institution. Steve Muss was
the chairman of the Renaissance Committee for Temple Emanu-El and
was extremely involved in restoring that Miami Beach landmark. He
is now the president of the synagogue. His philanthropic interests
also include the Jewish Federation of Miami, Mount Sinai Medical
Center, and the University of Miami.
Stephen Muss has also been
active in shaping the policies of the local community. He has served
on the Board of Miami's Fine Arts Museum, on the Board of Governors
of Haifa University, and as Chairman of both the Miami Beach Redevelopment
Agency and the Dade County Sports Authority. He was very much involved
in the expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center and the creation
of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.
and Jeffrey Soffer
Donald Soffer's vision to
transform a mosquito-infested swamp in North Dade County Florida
into an upscale, planned community began more than 35 years ago
when he purchased a 785-acre tract of marshland and sketched his
vision on a cocktail napkin. Today, that parcel of land stands
in the heart of the City of Aventura, one of Florida's most prestigious
Donald Soffer, son of Harold
Soffer, was born and raised in the small, poor steel town of Duquesne,
PA. Harold Soffer sold cars and appliances before starting
a successful real estate and development business. In 1951,
he left home to study and play football at Brandeis University in
Waltham, MA. After graduating with a degree in Economics, an
interesting opportunity arose for Donald when he was drafted by
the San Francisco 49ers. But his passion was in the real estate
development business and he declined a career in professional football.
In 1955, Donald developed
and built a two-story, shopping center in Pittsburgh, and 10 years
later developed the city's first major indoor shopping mall. From
1969 to 1980, he went on to build five major shopping centers in
the Midwest, as well as the Greater Pittsburgh Merchandise Mart
& Expo Center, the largest convention center between New York
As a child, Donald visited
his grandparents regularly in Florida and fell in love with South
Florida's fantastic year-round climate and proximity to the beaches. Donald
also had the foresight to know that Florida had great potential
for development, and in 1967, he purchased 785 acres of submerged
and undeveloped swamp and marshland facing the Intracoastal Waterway
in North Dade County. During the next 35 years, Donald transformed
that land into the world-famous Turnberry Isle Resort & Club,
The Aventura Mall, thousands of residential units and numerous offices.
Now following in his father's
footsteps is Jeffrey Soffer. Jeffrey Soffer joined the company
in 1987 and has concentrated his efforts on the residential real
estate division but also continues to play a large role in the company's
development of shopping malls, hotels and office buildings throughout
the country. For example, it was Jeffrey Soffer who announced
he was taking the Aventura lifestyle his father Donald created to
Las Vegas. Although some observers thought the move was risky,
the sales for Turnberry Place, the developer's luxury high-rise
condominium community one block off the famed Strip, are exceeding
$450 million. As the press statements from Turnberry Associates
put it: it's obvious the gamble is paying off.
Jeffrey Soffer is also concentrating
on his latest Las Vegas project, a joint venture with MGM Mirage
to build a condo-hotel complex on the MGM Grand property. While
at home in South Florida, Jeffrey is overseeing completion of the
Aventura upscale development Porto Vita where groundbreaking for
the North Tower began in May. Turnberry also recently broke
ground at Fontainebleau II, a $200 million condominium hotel the
company is creating at the famed Miami Beach resort. In addition,
Turnberry assumed the lead role in the construction and sales of
Oceania V in Sunny Isles Beach and acquired a majority interest
in a neighboring 5.5-acre oceanfront parcel on which the developer
plans to build Turnberry Ocean Colony, a luxurious oceanfront community.
Under the direction of father
and son, Turnberry Associates is one of the country's leading full-service
real estate development and property management firms with residential,
retail, hotel and office projects in Las Vegas, Nashville, Pittsburgh,
Miami Beach, Orlando, Destin and many others throughout Florida.
The company's portfolio includes the development of more than $1.5
billion in commercial and residential property. This includes
approximately 20 million square feet of retail space, some 3,000
luxury apartments and condominium units, 1.5 million square feet
of class-A office space and in excess of 1,640 hotel and resort
Dezer, Donald Trump and Michael Dezer
Talk about a power developer
alliance: one of the world's most well known developers, Donald
Trump, joins forces with the father-and-son team who just happen
to own the most oceanfront property in Sunny Isles Beach, Michael
and Gil Dezer. The result: the Trump Dezer Company, an entity
that will commit $600 million toward constructing three mega high-rises:
the Trump Grande Ocean Resort and Residences, a development project
that will consist of a 278 unit, 55-story condo tower known as the
Trump Palace; another 55-story condo tower with 333-units dubbed
the Trump Royale; and the 372-unit condo hotel named the Trump International
Why use the name Trump over
and over? Because Donald Trump's name is synonymous with the concept
of premier real estate. All over the country, Donald Trump
has constructed luxury high-rises, hotels and casinos, many of which
bear his name: Trump World Tower, Trump Tower, Trump International
Hotel & Tower, Trump Palace and Trump Parc.
A veteran of the Israeli
Air Force, Michael Dezer immigrated to the United States in 1962. Eight
years later he founded Dezer Properties Company that developed commercial
real estate in New York City, particularly in the Chelsea area.
In 1985 he began to purchase property in Dade County, particular
in Sunny Isles where he amassed a territory consisting of 25 oceanfront
His son Gil now holds the
title of president of Trump Dezer Development. Once a native
New Yorker, Dezer became a full time South Floridian when he went
to the University of Miami at the age of 18. He graduated with a
degree in international finance and marketing. Soon afterward,
Gil became the point man for both his father and Donald Trump's
first project in the South Florida area.
R. Donahue Peebles is the
founder, president and chief executive officer of Peebles Atlantic
Development Corporation (PADC), an entrepreneurial real estate development
company experienced in various htmlects of upscale property development,
ownership and project management. His portfolio includes hotel,
residential and commercial developments in South Florida, Washington,
D.C., and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Peebles began his real estate
career in 1979 as a real estate appraiser. From 1984 & 1988,
Peebles was chairman of the District of Columbia real estate tax
appeal board, then known as the Board of Equalization and Review. He
later established a highly successful commercial tax assessment
appeals firm in Washington, D.C. at the age of 28.
In 1987 he began construction
on his first commercial building, a 100,000 square foot building,
which was also the first of his public/private ventures. After
developing and/or owning over 1,000,000 square feet of commercial
properties in Washington, D.C. Peebles took PADC in a new direction
seven years ago and moved its headquarters to Miami, Florida. In
1996, Peebles won a City of Miami Beach bid to develop the Royal
Palm Crowne Plaza Hotel. This 417-room, four-star, public/private
venture opened in May 2002. The company's first hotel project,
the 188-room Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center Hotel in Washington,
D.C., which included the conversion of a bank building listed on
the National Register of Historic Places, opened in July 1999.
PADC is currently developing
the historic Bath Club site into a super luxury condominium enclave. On
December 31, 1999, Peebles completed his purchase of the 5.3-acre
Bath Club property located directly on the Atlantic Ocean in Miami
Beach. Peebles' development plans combine a new 107-unit modern
condominium tower, 6 oceanfront villas and the historic Bath Club
facilities into Miami Beach's most prestigious residential community.
Now under construction, The Residences at the Bath Club will open
late 2004. He also developed a 210,000 square foot office complex
in South Beach, which includes Class A office, retail, and parking
facilities. Construction of this complex was completed in February
2003. In November 2003, the City of Riviera Beach awarded PADC
the rights to develop 10+-acre oceanfront site where PADC plans
to build a mixed-use project that will include a condo-hotel, conference
center and retail promenade. PADC also is contemplating a hotel/casino
project on an 18-acre site on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New
Peebles has also been active
in the Miami-Dade community. He chaired the 1995 & 1996 Boarder
Baby Project to provide homes for urban babies abandoned by their
parents at hospitals. From 1999 & 2000, he served on the
board of trustees of Florida International University. Currently,
he serves on the board of directors for the Visitors Industry Council,
as the second vice chair of the National Black Hotel Owners, Operators
and Developers Association, and as chairman of the Greater Miami
Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB).
Gregg Covin was born and
raised in Miami and into a family that has been building in South
Florida for more than 55 years. His area of expertise focuses on
residential and hotel projects, with accessory commercial uses on
urban infill sites. He is perhaps best known for developing the
Hotel St. Augustine and the Neville Condominium in Miami Beach. Presently,
Covin is building the Montclair Lofts at 17th and Meridian and Domicile
Lofts at 2129 Washington Ave., both off Lincoln Road in South Beach,
as well as Lofts in the Grove on the corner of Bird Road and 27th
Ave. in Coconut Grove.
Up next is Ten Museum Park
on Biscayne Blvd. in Downtown Miami. Developed with architect Chad
Oppenheim, Ten Museum Park will include Clinique la Prairie and
a lounge operated by celebrity club impresario Michael Capponni,
who will also serve as director of resident services.
Covin's company, Gregg Covin
Real Estate Development, is growing quickly with $6 million in sales
last year, $25 million in sales this year, and more than $100 million
in sales projected for 2004.
and David Martin
Terra International Developments,
LLC focuses on the multi-family, high-rise development throughout
South Florida. Terra maintains an emphasis on originality and creativity
in design, engaging architects and building professionals to help
realize the company's vision of excellence. And who leads this company?
Answer: the father and son team of Pedro and David Martin.
Pedro Martin is a senior
partner and principal shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in real estate
who has been representing developers and lending institutions in
residential real estate since the 1970s. But in his alter ego
as principal of Terra International Developments, Pedro Martin has
developed projects such as Nautica in Miami Beach and Metropolis
Pedro's son, David, has
completed his Master's in Business Administration with a real estate
concentration, and went on to earn a law degree with a concentration
in real estate and land use planning from the University of Florida.
David specializes in the identification and procuring of lands representing
viable projects, the transformation of the properties into development
projects including the construction, and the financing and structuring
of joint ventures and investment groups to raise equity. He
is currently the project manager for the Nautica Condominium and
the Metropolis at Dadeland Condominium project.
Market knowledge, construction
experience and access to plenty of capital are important ingredients
for success in the real estate market. But equally important is
reputation and personal charisma, characteristics Edgardo Defortuna,
president of Fortune International, has in abundance.
As head of Fortune International,
Defortuna's company logged a billion dollars in sales last year.
The full-service real estate firm has been a lynchpin of the Brickell/Key
Biscayne real estate sales and management scene since 1983, and
has successfully expanded its local operation to Coral Gables, Miami
Beach, Aventura and Sunny Isles Beach. Fortune International is
well known in Latin America, with a presence in Argentina, Brazil,
Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico.
In 2001, though, Defortuna
decided to develop projects himself with Jade Residences at Brickell
Bay. A joint venture with Swire Properties, Jade is slated for completion
in 2004. He is also presently developing M Resort Residences in
Sunny Isles Beach, an oceanfront condo-hotel tower located at 18683
Collins Avenue. More than 80 percent sold, construction on M is
This year, Defortuna announced
two new exciting projects in South Florida. Jade Beach, the sister
property to the original Jade, the $240 million residential tower
will feature 248 condominium residences and will be constructed
adjacent to take shape on a gorgeous stretch of 300 feet of direct
oceanfront in Sunny Isles Beach. Fortune also recently completed
its purchase of 1110 Brickell Avenue, the area's first office/condo
building. Located in the heart of Miami's financial district, the
building features approximately 60 offices available for purchase.
Duprey, Joseph Cook, Daniel Adache and Jerrold Krystoff
Based in Ft. Lauderdale,
Colonial Development Group, LLC is one of Florida's leading real
estate development companies with more than $1.5 billion in active
Central and South Florida projects. The company specializes in the
development of hotels and resorts, luxury high-rise residential
condominiums, and retail and mixed-use projects, both domestically
and internationally. Colonial Development's financial partner, CL
Financial Limited, is the largest conglomerate in the Caribbean
with over $5 billion in assets.
Four principals head Colonial
Development: Chairman Lawrence A. Duprey, who is also executive
chairman of CL Financial Limited; Chief Executive Officer Joseph
R. Cook, who is also managing partner of Hunt, Cook, Riggs, Gross
& Greenberg, P.A.; President Daniel E. Adache, who is also chief
executive officer of Adache Associates Architects, P.A.; and Executive
Vice President Jerrold R. Krystoff, who is also chairman of Hospitality
Development Group, Inc.
Some of Colonial Development's
current South Florida projects include the 52-story Infinity at
Brickell, set to be the third tallest building in Miami, which will
consist of 433 luxury residential condominium units selling from
$189,000 to over $700,000, approximately 42,000 square feet of condominium
office space and over 6,000 square feet of retail space. In
Broward, Colonial is building the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel &
Residence, a mixed-use resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach. The W Fort
Lauderdale Hotel & Residences, Florida's first W and only the
second W Hotel & Residences in the U.S., will include twin 23-story
towers, consisting of 346 hotel rooms in the east tower, 171 luxury
resort condominium units in the west tower and a world-class destination
health spa. In addition, the company is building Europa by-the-Sea,
a 50-unit, luxury oceanfront condominium project offering units
ranging from $1 million to more than $3.5 million; Bermuda Yacht
Club: a boutique, 12-unit waterfront condominium project, including
boat docks for every unit located on the Isles of Venice in the
Las Olas Isles in Fort Lauderdale; and Palazzo Las Olas, a mixed-use
development on the Intracoastal waterway and Las Olas Blvd. in Ft.
A graduate of the Wharton
School of Business, Lissette Calderon worked as an investment banker
in New York before she embarked on her career in real estate. Following
her financial career, Calderon worked with such developers such
as Manny Medina of Terremark and Jorge Perez of The Related Group.
In 1999 she founded Neo
Concepts LLC, a limited company now developing lofts and split residences
in Miami. Her first project, Neo Lofts, consists of a 199-unit
building on the bank of the Miami River & the first residential
loft building in Miami's urban core. She is now embarking on
developing Neo Vertika in Brickell Village, a split development
featuring two-story living spaces.
Ian Bruce Eichner founded
his New York-based real estate company in 1978. During the last
two decades, he has developed in excess of four million square feet
of luxury residential, office, and retail space in Manhattan totaling
more than $1 billion.
Eichner's career in real
estate follows almost a decade in the criminal justice system, including
terms as an assistant district attorney and program development
chief of a gubernatorial agency during Nelson Rockefeller's tenure.
Eichner's diverse organizational affiliations include the New York
City Partnership, the New York historic Partnership, the New York
Historic Committee, and Friends Committee of City Meals-on-Wheels.
In Miami Beach, Eichner
is known for being the developer of Continuum, located on the southernmost
tip of Miami Beach. The expansive 12.9-acre oceanfront parcel was
purchased last year for $45 million. Eichner's plans call for the
creation of an exclusive, private seaside estate with two luxury
high-rise buildings, a 40-story South and a 37-story North Tower,
encompassed by a tropical garden setting of palm groves, natural
hammocks, flowing fountains, lagoons, pools, and cabanas designed
by noted landscape architect Taft Bradshaw.
Jeff Morr is principal and
co-founder of Urbana Development, a real estate development company
focused on cutting-edge, mixed-use residential & retail/commercial
projects in emerging, urban neighborhoods. In launching Urbana with
partners Fabien Tremoulet and Jeremy Green, Morr developed the company's
strategic vision and business plan, acquired multiple site locations
at below market value, and worked closely with project architects
on design. The company is currently developing Aria in the Miami
Design District, and has two other development sites with a total
expected sell-out value of almost $100 million.
Born in Israel and raised
in Broward County, Jeff Morr began his career in real estate at
Century 21 Prospect Realty in Ft. Lauderdale. After becoming the
top producer at the age of 21 and becoming a partner, he relocated
to Miami Beach in 1990. He then went on to work as an agent at Remax
and Wimbish before launching Majestic Properties in 1995.
As founder and president
of Majestic Properties, now a leading real estate force in the Miami
and Miami Beach sectors, Morr's primary initiative is developing
new business. He also manages approximately 200 agents, 20 employees
and more than $300 million in property sales. In 1997, Morr established
the Majestic Collection to serve as a luxury sales and marketing
division for ultra contemporary condominiums. He represents developers
and assists them with site identification and land acquisition,
conceptualizes and designs projects, and performs marketing and
sales. Through the Majestic Collection, Morr pioneered the loft
concept in Miami Beach and then moved on to more fertile grounds
in North Beach, North Bay Village and the Biscayne corridor.
Willy A. Bermello was born
in Havana, Cuba and came with his parents to Miami in 1960, when
he was ten years old. He attended the University of Florida, obtaining
a bachelors degree in architecture and later a masters degrees in
architecture and city planning, where he graduated magna cum laude
and was an AIA Student Silver Medalist.
Now a Florida registered
architect with more than 25 years of experience in international
practice, he is president and CEO of Bermello, Ajamil & Partners,
Inc., a South Florida architecture and engineering firm. Bermello's
career as an architect includes a broad base of public and private
projects, spanning over two decades designing airports, seaports,
transit stations, schools and commercial and residential projects.
Having realized his youthful ambitions, he set his sights on a new
dream & to become a developer. Today, as president and chief
executive officer of BAP Development, Inc., based in Coral Gables,
Bermello is fulfilling that goal.
One of BAP's most recent
new projects is Onyx, a 28-story waterfront tower being built in
the up-and-coming area of Miami less than one mile north of Downtown
Miami. He also recently completed The Aston, a 226-unit project
with ground-floor retail. Now under construction is 610 Clematis
in downtown West Palm Beach. The Mediterranean-style condominium
residence is being developed at the intersection of Clematis Street
and Rosemary Aven ue at the northern boundary of CityPlace, in the
heart of West Palm Beach's shopping and entertainment district.
Another BAP project under construction is the 600-unit Brickell
View high-rise at 12th Street and S. Miami Avenue. BAP recently
completed the 405-unit luxury Summit Brickell apartment project
just west of Brickell Avenue and Douglas Grand in Coral Gables,
which encompasses a 44,000 square-foot Publix supermarket, 22,000
square-foot office space and 159 luxury rental apartments.
In professional practice
in Miami since 1975, Bermello is an active member of the South Florida
community. A past president of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana
and a past president of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Bermello
has been appointed to numerous advisory boards and leadership positions
in civic organizations. Currently, he serves as chairman of the
City of Miami's Urban Development Review Board; a member of the
board of directors of Colonial Bank; and a member of the Orange
Craig Robins is the chief
executive officer of Dacra and has brought a creative take to real
estate development,one that merges urban design, architecture, interior
design, and art to build and revitalize communities. For each Dacra
project, Robins forms a team of internationally renowned architects
and urban planners whose vision to transform urban areas transcends
the traditional focus on the construction of single structures. A
Miami Beach native, Robins and his projects in South Beach and the
Miami Design District have contributed to the projection of the
contemporary image of South Florida around the world.
Founded by Robins in 1987,
Dacra was one of the earliest and more significant leaders in the
rebirth of South Beach and the restoration and preservation of its
Art Deco architecture. Over the last six years, Dacra has propelled
the redevelopment of the Miami Design District, a formerly derelict
area of 1920s and 1930s buildings and abandoned factories. Aqua,
Dacra's latest Miami Beach residential venture, will be constructed
on 8.5 acres of Allison Island on the former site of St. Francis
Hospital (where Craig Robins was born, interestingly enough) and
will consist of 151-units comprised of houses and mid-rise buildings.
Robins and his wife, Ivelin,
are art collectors, and works from their collection of contemporary
art are on public display in Dacra buildings.
Tribeca West at 1500 Michigan
Avenue, the latest restoration project spearheaded by the Andi Greenwald
Development Project, is set to open in December.
Developer Andi Greenwald
has been honored twice by the Miami Beach Design Preservation League
for her excellence in restoration for her work on Coconut at 1018
Meridian and the Cabana at 1551 Lenox Avenue. With each new development
project, Greenwald seeks to raise the bar in refinement and detail. Tribeca
is the group's fifth South Beach development, following their work
on the Santa Monica, Metropolis, Coconut, and Cabana. Located just
steps from the bustling action of the cafes and shopping of Lincoln
Road, Tribeca offers a luxury hideaway with an intimate, community
feel. True to her style, Andi Greenwald has maintained the
integrity of the classic deco architecture, gutted the building,
and updated and upgraded every htmlect to the highest possible level.
Despite the accolades, Greenwald
is the first to give credit to her team. She collaborates with
friend and interior designer, Rory Gershon of the Gershon Group,
on all elements of design. For the exterior, her partner Michelle
Hill frames the projects with gracious, tropical landscaping. Together
they have created a sophisticated and secluded tropical neighborhood
in one of America's liveliest urban environments.
Born in Miami and the brother
of Andi Greenwald, Scott Greenwald understands the flow of the local
real estate market. He develops with a commitment to quality and
a desire to improve the surrounding community.
Growing up in a real estate
family, Greenwald jumped into that industry soon after earning his
graduate degree from the Real Estate Institute of New York University,
starting with his acquirement of shopping centers such as Suniland
in South Dade. After early involvement in the South Beach resurgence
through deals like the financing of the 11th Street Diner, Greenwald
developed Ocean Place, a modern Art Deco-style condominium designed
by Arquitectonica. He transformed a synagogue at 1545 Jefferson
Avenue into Lunamar, consisting of eight two-story loft units. His
latest South Beach project is Industry, on Lenox Avenue just south
of Lincoln Road, where Greenwald is converting the vintage Bell
South building into 17 authentic live/work lofts.
Greenwald is also redeveloping
an aging shopping center in North Bay Village into The Lexi, a mixed-use
condominium complex. The Lexi will include luxury condominiums with
10' ceilings and spectacular bay views at affordable prices with
the convenience of retail services right in the building.
Michael Samuel of Samuel
& Co. recently relocated from New York to Miami to take advantage
of Miami's real estate boom. Among his major moves: putting
down $34 million to buy up 56-acres of the Buena Vista Rail Yard,
a chunk of land the City of Miami is seeking to re-zone to allow
the construction of a mini-city: complete with residential and commercial
properties of nearly every form.
Samuel also teamed up with
Joseph Cayre, a former movie distributor who made millions off of
selling tapes to Wal-Mart turned founder of the New York-based real
estate firm Midtown Equities. Thanks to the partnership, Samuel
not only had the funds to become the rail yard master (he intends
to sell off parcels to other developers once the zoning changes
are completed) but he enhanced his ability to expand his empire
to the former Banyan Bay Apartments, where both he and Cayre plan
to build Nirvana.
As vice president and director
of development for Developers Diversified, Ralph Conti will lead
that company's efforts to build a 580,000 square foot shopping center
called The Shops at Midtown on 26 acres of land between N.E. 28th
and 36th Streets along North Miami Avenue, a component many real
estate people say could change the face of that part of Miami.
Prior to joining Developers
Diversified, Conti worked in the Pittsburgh, PA office of the Glimcher
Group where he served as senior vice president of development. Before
that, he was director of development services for the Homart Development
Company. Conti is a member of the International Council of Shopping
Centers, American Society of Civil Engineers, and is on the program
committee for the ICSC centerbuild conference.
Sheppard and Philip Wolman
Combined, Eric Sheppard
and Philip Wolman have more than 40 years of experience in development
and corporate management.
WSG Development Company
was born in 1995 when Wolman and Sheppard joined forces. Specializing
in acquisition, development and construction of commercial and residential
real estate, WSG has entered the real estate market of 15 states.
By the end of 2003, WSG and its partners will have completed 42
real estate developments which include residential condominiums,
single-family homes, Class A office buildings, warehouse/manufacturing
plants and retail shopping centers.
Most recently, WSG Development
completed the purchase of the legendary Carillon Hotel. According
to WSG, this $450 million development project will be mixed use
and includes 467 luxury condominium residences a 60,000 square foot
spa, a 300-seat oceanfront restaurant and the renovation of the
original Carillon Hotel, which will house 151 unit luxury boutique
hotel suites. The entire property will be managed by Canyon Ranch,
a destination resort and spa company.
The regional president of
East Coast Towers Division for WCI Communities, Inc., Paul Drummond
is helping to shape Florida's skyline as he leads the teams responsible
for designing, marketing and constructing WCI's premier residential
towers along Florida's East Coast. There are now 19 towers from
Coral Gables up to Jacksonville under his management since he was
promoted in 2002. WCI's South Florida projects include BellaMaré
at Williams Island, Aventura, and the luxurious, oceanfront One
Bal Harbour residential and hotel condominium planned in the Village
of Bal Harbour.
It's not by chance that
WCI, the state's leading builder and developer of [luxurious] communities
over the past 50 years, has become the industry leader in developing
residential luxury towers, says Drummond who, according to his bio,
begins his day at the office at 5:30 a.m. and works late into the
WCI has completed 34 residential
towers over the past 14 years on both coasts. An additional 10 towers
are currently under construction; 10 in design, and several yet
unannounced projects throughout the state that are in schematic
design as possible acquisitions.
Conroy and Jonathan Breene
John P. Conroy, Jr. and
Jonathan J. Breene are the founding partners of The Setai Group,
a New York-based development company specializing in luxury residential
and five-star boutique hotel properties in select markets around
Conroy, who currently oversees
development on The Vendome, a 119-unit luxury condominium residence
on Turtle Creek Boulevard in Dallas, Texas, graduated magna cum
laude from Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Science degree in
accounting and a Masters in Business Administration in finance from
Pace University. A certified accountant, Conroy was controller at
General Atlantic Realty, a financial analyst at Fosterlane Management
Company and held various positions at American Express. Conroy served
as chief financial officer of development at Millennium Partners,
a New York-based development company focusing on high-end luxury
condominium and mixed-use projects. Conroy was instrumental in the
Millennium's growth and completed more than $600 million of mixed-used
residential and retail urban entertainment development projects,
was also responsible for the day-to-day financial operations of
the company and oversaw construction loan financing and investment
activities. It was at Millennium that he met his future partner,
A graduate of Columbia University
where he earned a Master of Science in Real Estate Development,
Breene was a partner with Samut & Co., a real estate advisory
and brokerage firm in Australia. He later worked for a consortium
lead by Zechendorf Realty developing the Queens West waterfront
project in Queens, New York. He was later an executive at Millennium
Partners, a New York-based developer of luxury condominium and mixed-use
projects. While there, Breene was responsible for new development
and acquisition opportunities in urban cities, including New York
City, Miami, Chicago and London. He was involved in the development
of The Four Seasons Hotel & Tower in Miami, an 80-story mixed-use
project featuring a Four Seasons Hotel, Four Seasons Club, Class
A office component, sports club and luxury condominiums.
Breene currently oversees
development of The Setai Resort & Residences, a 40-story luxury
oceanfront condominium tower and five-star resort hotel in Miami
Arriving in the United States
as a child through the Peter Pan program, the Cuban-American Silvia
Sabates Coltrane started out as an educator in the Atlanta and Broward
county school systems. Then, in 1980, Coltrane obtained her real
estate license and founded Real Estate Transactions, Inc. with her
husband Thomas Coltrane. Her projects as a developer include Azure
in Surfside and Parc Plaza condominium. In addition to being
a developer, Coltrane is also quite the marketing and promotions
agent. Besides handling her own marketing for Azure, Coltrane
also represents the projects of other developers such as The Parc
at Turnberry Isle, Solimar, Villa di Mare, Nautica,a total of more
than 18 residential condominiums.
Coltrane says she only backs
quality projects in key locations and then assembles a team of professionals
to promote and sell the residences. People trust my name and
what I stand for, she said. They know I deliver.
The developer of the Mutiny
Hotel, Ricardo Dunin's claim to developer fame was building the
first condo-hotel in South Florida. Due to the success of The Mutiny
project, Dunin took on the development of an adjacent site and re-christened
it the Condominium Residences at Sonestra Hotel & Suites Coconut
Grove featuring 211 condo residences in a 21-block tower in the
heart of Coconut Grove.
Right now Dunin and his
company Flagler Holding Group is constructing The Meridian, a contemporary
loft project on the triangular site where Dade Boulevard intersects
with Meridian Avenue in Miami Beach. The Meridian will offer 99
residences selling from $250,000 to more than $800,000. He
is also developing the Sereno Beach Hotel in St. Barths near the
island of St. Maarten.
Michael J. Mulhall is director
for GDC Premier Communities, a fully integrated real estate investment
and development company based in Orlando. Mulhall is responsible
for site selection and acquisition, feasibility analysis, design,
financing and development of both Class A apartment communities
and new condominiums throughout the southeast United States. To
date, the company's portfolio represents nearly $100 million in
A graduate of Virginia Tech
with a degree in urban development, Mulhall has experience in developing
apartments, office space and condominiums in North Florida, Central
Florida, Virginia and the District of Columbia. While at GDC, Mulhall
spearheaded development of a 209-unit community near Disney World.
Now both GDC and Mulhall
have turned their eyes southward to Miami-Dade County. Their
first project: Alaqua, a luxury condominium in Aventura with a sellout
value of $66 million.
Piazza and Mike Neal
Coscan Homes has a reputation
stretching back 25 years. Since 1977, starting in Aventura's Waterways
area, Coscan has built more than 5,000 homes in more than 20 Florida
A new chapter for the company
began in January 2003 when Al Piazza and Mike Neal bought out the
management of the company from the Toronto-based Brookfield Homes.
The deal gave Piazza and Neal more flexibility. The result:
Coscan Homes now also has Coscan Construction, a construction contractor
arm to help other developers build their property. Already the Trump
Dezer group hired Piazza and Neal's new company to build the Sunny
Isles high-rises Trump Palace and Trump Royale.
Past developer credits of
the Coscon include Presidential Estates in North Miami Beach, Ocean
Point in Sunny Isles Beach, the Metropolitan in Miami's Brickell
Avenue and the South Tower of The Point at Aventura. Atlantic One,
another Aventura Coscan project, is now under construction.
Benhamou and Claudio Stivelman
The two developers of Uptown
Marina Lofts, soon to be constructed in Aventura's former Thunder
Alley behind Loehmann's Plaza, Gilbert Benhamou and Claudio Stivelman,
each have interesting real estate portfolios in their own right.
Gilbert Benhamou has more
than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur in France and the
United States, first with a company that designed and distributed
women's knitwear, then as one of the first people to manufacture
car phones in France, then performing condo conversions in Manhattan
and, finally, buying property in South Florida. He developed the
Grand Venetian in Belle Isle, Miami Beach and is in investing in
projects soon-to-be underway in Sunny Isles and Palm Beach.
Claudio Stivelman trained
under a Rio de Janeiro branch of an American development company
known as Morrison Knudsen prior to moving on to the family-owned
Banco Cedula where he attained the rank of chief financial officer. In
1981 he started a construction company that built 15 luxury buildings
in Rio and, later, headed various influential Brazilian business
associations. When he moved to Miami in 1991, Stivelman soon stared
investing in real estate and embarked in a joint venture with Coscon
Homes to build the Ocean Point Resort and Beach Club in Sunny Isles.
In 2002 he bought two acres of land in Thunder Alley and, on a 4.66-acre
site, joined forces with Benhamou to develop Uptown Marina Lofts.
The CEO of The Fallstaff
Group, Elliott J. Sharaby's specialty is condominium and resort
conversions. Through his efforts the Baltimore-based company has
restored many National Historic Landmarks across the country to
their original grandeur.
Sharaby is no stranger to
Miami-Dade. Ten years ago he was responsible for converting North
Miami General Hospital into Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute.
A year ago Sharaby purchased the luxury waterfront Island Pointe
condominium residences in Bay Harbor Islands and invested millions
restoring the 11-story waterfront building, transforming it into
a gated condominium that offers panoramic views for spacious residences
that sell for between the $200,000s and $500,000s.
Sharaby's modus operandi
is doing extensive market research and then selecting the right
project at the right time. He also personally oversees every htmlect
of a project's renovation and has assembled a professional staff
of managers and project directors who travel with him from project
to project. This strategy has paid off with Island Pointe where
more than 75% of the units have been sold.
Bloomberg, Ronald Gaines, Charles Sieger, Jose Suarez
The concepts and designs
created by the architectural firm known as the Sieger Suarez Architectural
Partnership are renowned by the local development community since
they pioneered the floor through/see through plan in the late 1970s. Past
architectural credits include Portofino Tower, the Pinnacle, Murano
Grande, Mystic Pointe, etc. But being sought by developers for their
award-winning high-rise designs wasn't enough for architects Charles
Sieger and Jose Suarez: they wanted to become developers themselves.
So, in order to expedite
this goal, Sieger and Suarez took on a few partners.
First came Ronald Gaines
of GS2 Corporation, a general contracting and construction management
company. Back in 1990 GS2 became a Sieger Suarez affiliate.
And recently, around two
years ago, Ronald Bloomberg became a partner. A developer in
his own right, Bloomberg has been involved in the real estate industry
since 1983 and was affiliated with Turnberry Associates. Bloomberg
constructed an office building near Collins Park in Miami Beach
and intends to redevelop the former police museum in Miami.
The first result of the
four partners: the future Terra Beachside Villas at 6000 Indian
Creek where each unit is between 1,011 and 2,049 square feet and
where plans call for the penthouse units to each have a grand roof
terrace of 1,000 square feet each.
As president of Estoril,
Inc., Bill Ross has directed the planning and construction of Espirito
Santo Plaza, a $180 million, 36-story office/condominium/hotel/retail
center that seeks to redefines Miami's skyline as the nation's gateway
city to Latin American and the Caribbean.
Associated with Group Espirito
Santo since 1991, Ross seeks out new real estate investment opportunities
in Florida for the Portugal-based banking group. A third-generation
builder/developer, Ross began his career in real estate in 1976
as manager of some of Arvida's projects. Between 1984 and 1987,
Ross was a partner with Adler-Ross Associates and president of its
Central Florida Division where he helped develop a $22 million,
277-unit townhouse condo community in Orlando. In 1987 and 1988
he was an associate for the Coral Gables consulting firm of Laventhol
& Horwath. He later became executive vice president and chief
operating officer of Five Star Homes and during his tenure the company's
profits skyrocketed from under $600,000 in 1988 to $2.4 million
Shiro, Enrique Feldman and Paul Hariton
VenAventura LLC, the company
building The Atrium in Aventura, is led by three members of the
development industry who have come together to create the new luxury
condominium residence being built directly on the water in the City
of Excellence. Three experienced luxury high-rise developers
and longtime friends, architects Enrique Feldman and Paul Hariton
and engineer Sami Shiro, formed a partnership to pursue their first
collaborative project in Dade County.
While new to the area, VenAventura's
experience in real estate design, development and management is
quite extensive. Before collaborating with Shiro, Feldman and Hariton
were partners for 10 years in Hariton & Poplicher Asociados,
a renowned architecture, engineering and development firm in Venezuela. Feldman
and Hariton are credited with designing and developing numerous
residential and commercial projects in Caracas. Sami Shiro
brings his expertise in management and consulting to the project.
Once completed in early
2005, the Atrium will offer two and three-bedroom units priced from
the $300,000's to over $600,000.
Perfecting the art of bankruptcy
liquidations in the 1970s, Michael Swerdlow soon gained a reputation
for turning the leaseholds of bankrupt tenants into valuable assets.
According to his bio, Swerdlow restructured, marketed and sold over
30 million square feet of leases between 1977 and 1984. Thereafter,
Swerdlow became a developer: building two million square feet of
retail and office space in Northern Virginia, Connecticut and Illinois
from 1985 to 1987.
From there, Swerdlow turned
his attention southward to Hollywood, Florida and led a group of
investors in the take over of Hollywood, Inc. in 1988, giving him
access to $400 million worth of 3,000 acres of vacant land and two
million square feet of functioning properties.
Recently Swerdlow went on
to develop such projects as Dolphin Mall, Las Olas Riverfront, West
Lake Village, Oakridge and Oakwood Plaza. He is now in a joint
venture with Boca Developers to construct Biscayne Landings on North
Miami's Interama site.
As executive vice president
and partner of J. Milton & Associates, Yosi Gil serves as the
lead principal and face for all new developments. In this role,
he determines the feasibility of future acquisitions, seeks out
new development opportunities in prime locations, researches market
conditions and develops a financial strategy that ensures company
profitability. He also designs relevant marketing campaigns and
oversees the sales force of each development. Gil is currently involved
in implementing strategic planning for the company's newest Sunny
Isles Beach residential properties, Sayan and King David.
After graduating from Tel
Aviv University with a degree in marketing, Gil set off for the
United States to fulfill his dream of becoming a real estate professional.
Gil moved to Los Angeles in 1987 to join Crescent Heights, the nation's
largest condominium converter. He acquired a feel for American policies
and tactics and quickly rose in the ranks, becoming directly responsible
for all of the company's marketing, advertising, and in-house financing.
As a result of his comprehensive efforts, Gil marketed and sold
1,200 oceanfront condominiums, representing a sellout value of $150
million from 1989 to 1991. He moved to Miami in 1991, and was recruited
by Pacific International Equities to serve as sales and marketing
director for several high-profile developments. At Sunset Harbour
and The Courts at South Beach, he was responsible for over $300
million in sales.
Gil then joined J. Milton
and Associates in 1998 as executive vice president and principal
for the Pinnacle, a 246-unit luxury high-rise on the ocean in Sunny
Isles Beach. Under his direction, the developers achieved a sellout
of over $140 million.
As vice president of development
at MDM Development Group, Timothy Weller has been responsible for
the development of the JW Marriott and the Mellon Financial Center,
both on Brickell Avenue. Currently, he is overseeing the development
of Metropolitan Miami, a $600 million, mixed-use development in
the heart of downtown Miami.
Prior to joining MDM Development
Group, Weller was a hotel industry executive for twenty years and
served as general manager of several four-star hotels. He joined
MDM Hotels Inc. as general manager of the Dadeland Marriott in 1989
and transitioned into MDM Development Group when it was formed in
As vice president of development
for MDM Development Group, Weller serves as direct liaison between
the owners, contractors, financial institutions and design teams.
He is charged with expediting zoning, permitting and construction
processes to assure that projects are completed on schedule.
A graduate of Ohio State
University, Weller is fluent in Chinese and is certified in hotel