LATEST NEWS

Jorge Perez, Miami Real Estate Developer Prepares To Hand Down His Legacy

Jorge Perez talks about his life and times in Miami real estate

By Jeff Vasishta October 12, 2016
Photo courtesy of artnet News

When your donation to the Miami Art Museum is $40 million and you can still smile when your net worth drops by $700 million, you can only be one man—Jorge Perez.

Unlike many real estate billionaires who were handed down their fortune from their family, Perez, the Cuban/Argentinian developer earned his un-Godly wealth from old school principles. Education and hard work. The fact he also has an impeccably groomed beard seems to only add gravitas to his accomplishments.

Related: NYT: “High-End Real Estate Buyers in NYC and Miami revealed”

How did the undisputed Latin King of real estate do it, exactly? He used scholarships to earn an undergraduate degree at CW Post and a master’s degree of urban planning at the University of Michigan. Credentials in hand, he traded snow for sun, working as an urban planner in Miami. A meeting with New York developer and Related Companies founder Stephen Ross led to a fateful partnership. The two co-founded Related Group in Florida in 1979.

Photo courtesy of FoodTruckEmpire.com
Photo courtesy of FoodTruckEmpire.com

Picture Florida in the 1970’s. Miles of desolate beaches. Drop-outs, junkies and Jewish retirees in velour tracksuits. All kitsch and no cool. Ross and Perez had a plan. They started off building affordable housing then flipped the script to high end condos. Much of the S. Florida skyline is down to Perez. He attracts planning permits like the pope attracts an audience. In total he’s built 90,000 condos.

With the Miami market softening last year, Perez’ net worth dropped precipitously. But he’d learned his lessons from the crash of 2008. This time he’d entered into partnerships with others and required large deposits (often 50 percent) from overseas investors. The language of leverage is no longer in this land baron’s lexicon. Unlike in 2008 when anyone with a pulse—and some without—were trying to flip pre-construction priced condo’s, this time around, Perez was more judicious in choosing his buyers. He told Forbes that many of the condos he has under contract are with wealthy Latin American investors who have put 50 percent down of the purchase price.

Also, Perez is showing some Latin love, building developments like an international coalition, expanding to Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Panama.

“We started planning international before the Miami market was cooling off,” Perez told Forbes. “During the last recession, we put too many eggs in one basket,” he admitted.

With two residential towers and a waterfront in the previously hard to crack Buenos Aires market, now 80 percent pre-sold, all Perez’ eggs could be Faberge if he wanted. “He’s completed three beachfront residential towers on Puerto Vallarta and is completing three more.

“In Latin America I feel very much at ease,” says the billionaire who counts Trump as an admirer but plans to vote for Hillary. “Miami will continue to be our base, but we will continue to foray into other markets to exploit the brand we’ve been able to create over the years.”

In all, the 66-year old Miami’s Condo King has 12 international joint venture projects in the works. But these days he’s planning for successors, likely his sons, Paul and Nicholas who, like the Trump clan are involved in the family business.

“They’ll keep on earning their place in the company, and of course my hope would be that they would come to run the company a few years from now,” he told Bloomberg. “I can act much more as sort of the true chairman of the company and do some of the things that I want to do.”

The dream for us all.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

  • AGORAFY
    Stefano Boeri, the architect mastermind behind the famous plant-covered skyscrapers, is now designing Forest Cities in Liuzhou, China. #ForestCity #China https://goo.gl/PsTUwv
  • AGORAFY
    Auction is the second scheduled in a month for a One57 unit and it could set a NYC foreclosure record. #BillionairesRow #Foreclosures https://goo.gl/NZ3zqD
  • AGORAFY
    Once a couch-surfing website, Airbnb moves on to luxury properties, further disrupting hospitality industry. #Airbnb #Luxury https://goo.gl/7TpLk6
Four Countries To Retire In With $200K In Savings—And How Much Real Estate Costs There
Ever dreamed of retiring abroad? You know, affordable healthcare, better climate, more positive news—becoming an expat seems like an enticing option, especially one you no…
While Other Real Estate Platforms Start Charging Agents $3-Per-Day Exposure Fee, Agorafy Remains Accessible To All
Real Estate searching platform are always finding news ways to diversify their revenues models. Case in point—on Tuesday July 18, Streeteasy, one of New York…
Is Real Estate Crowdfunding The Fix That Urban Housing In America Really Needs?
Saving money for a down payment? One can only hope. Most millennial in their twenties or thirties are mortified that they might never be able…
Brooklyn And Queens’ Real Estate Sub-Markets Continue Their Ascent To The New Heights
So, the sales prices in Brooklyn and Queens hit record highs. Again. Just like they did in December 2016 and at the end of this…
The Economy Of Car Services And Delivery Apps Might Be Making NYC Less Eco-Friendly
Living in an eco-friendly neighborhood is a good thing. And, as it always the case with the good things, it also costs more. High rents…
Building Communities: What The U.S. Developers Should Learn From Soho China
As our world emerges into the new period of globalization and technology, some of the most important by-products of this process are buildings that have…
Five Reasons Why All Entrepreneurs Must Keep Their Eyes On China
It is hard to overestimate the importance of Chinese influence on the modern global economy. Carving out a place in Chinese market and winning over…
Airbnb Up Their Game With A New Luxury Tier Featuring Mansions And Villas
Airbnb is about to seriously up their game. First, the company started testing a new service called Select in an attempt to push accommodation listings…