Developers of South Florida
SunPost - 12-4-04
Art 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
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
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 Southï¿½it 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
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 and exploited.
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 all.
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 aspects 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.
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.
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.
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, and Minimal.
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
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.
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.
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 aspect 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
newest project, Bellini ï¿½ 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 ï¿½boutiqueï¿½ 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
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.
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.
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 the area.
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.
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.
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
latest project: The Club at Brickell Bay, a 43-story luxury
high-rise that is being billed as ï¿½Miami’s Answer to Park
and Melanie Muss
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 Hilton Hotel.
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.
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.
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.
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 Beach.
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.
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
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 locales.
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.
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 and Chicago.
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.
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: ï¿½it’s
obvious the gamble is paying off.ï¿½
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.
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 rooms.
Dezer, Donald Trump and Michael
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 Beach Resort.
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
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 acres.
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.
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 aspects 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.
began his real estate career in 1979 as a real estate appraiser.
From 1984 ï¿½ 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.
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.
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 Jersey.
has also been active in the Miami-Dade community. He chaired the
1995 ï¿½ 1996 Boarder Baby Project to provide homes for urban babies
abandoned by their parents at hospitals. From 1999 ï¿½ 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
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.
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
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
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.
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 in Dadeland.
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.
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.
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
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 under way.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 ï¿½ 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ï¿½ to become a
developer. Today, as president and chief executive officer of BAP
Development, Inc., based in Coral Gables, Bermello is fulfilling
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 Avenue 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.
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 Bowl committee.
Robins is the chief executive officer of Dacra and has brought a
creative take to real estate developmentï¿½one 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.
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.
and his wife, Ivelin, are art collectors, and works from their
collection of contemporary art are on public display in Dacra
West at 1500 Michigan Avenue, the latest restoration project
spearheaded by the Andi Greenwald Development Project, is set to
open in December.
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 aspect to the highest possible level.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Eric Sheppard and Philip Wolman have more than 40 years of
experience in development and corporate management.
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
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 Carillon, a destination resort and
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 BellaMarï¿½ at Williams
Island, Aventura, and the luxurious, oceanfront One Bal Harbour
residential and hotel condominium planned in the Village of Bal
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,ï¿½ says
Drummond who, according to his bio, begins his day at the office at
5:30 a.m. and works late into the evening.
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
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 the world.
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,
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.
currently oversees development of The Setai Resort & Residences,
a 40-story luxury oceanfront condominium tower and five-star resort
hotel in Miami Beach.
in the United States as a child through the ï¿½Peter Panï¿½ 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, Nauticaï¿½a total of more than 18
says she only backs quality projects in key locations and then
assembles a team of professionals to promote and sell the
residences. ï¿½People trust my name and what I stand for,ï¿½
she said. ï¿½They know I deliver.ï¿½
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.
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.
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 multifamily
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.
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
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 communities.
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
ï¿½flexibility.ï¿½ 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
modus operandi is doing extensive market research and then selecting
the right project at the right time. He also personally oversees
every aspect 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
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 ï¿½floor through/see
throughï¿½ 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.
in order to expedite this goal, Sieger and Suarez took on a few
came Ronald Gaines of GS2 Corporation, a general contracting and
construction management company. Back in 1990 GS2 became a
Sieger Suarez affiliate.
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.
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 ï¿½grand roof terraceï¿½ of 1,000 square feet each.
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 ï¿½redefines
Miami’s skyline as the nation’s gateway city to Latin American
and the Caribbean.ï¿½
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 in 1989.
Shiro, Enrique Feldman and Paul Hariton
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
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.
completed in early 2005, the Atrium will offer two and three-bedroom
units priced from the $300,000’s to over $600,000.
the art of ï¿½bankruptcy liquidationsï¿½ in the 1970s, Michael
Swerdlow soon gained a reputation for turning the leaseholds of
bankrupt tenants into ï¿½valuable assets.ï¿½ 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 1997.
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.
graduate of Ohio State University, Weller is fluent in Chinese and
is certified in hotel administration.