Posted: February 17, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development
PROFILE OF A LEGEND – JORGE PEREZ, THE CONDO KING
Jorge Perez, the Argentinian born Cuban real estate developer, moved to the US to attend college and obtain his bachelor’s degree from CW Post in Long Island. Later he would obtain his master’s degree from the University of Michigan which his future business partner – Stephen Ross – also previously attended. Eventually Perez would move to Miami to lead the economic development department before embarking on a long and storied development career.
In 1979, Perez would form the Related Group of Florida with Stephen Ross. It was and remains an interesting partnership which has greatly benefited both parties. In a sense, Stephen Ross would franchise the company he founded and provide some form of platform equity to Perez as opposed to project financing which is generally more common. Perez began by operating low-income housing apartments across Miami. Later Perez would enter into market-rate apartments and soon after would become a well-diversified investor and developer. Today the Related Group is perhaps best known for their condo developments with Perez becoming one of the most prolific condo developers in the US and building an estimated net worth of $2.8B.
In 2006 and 2007, when the condo market (particularly in South Florida) began to slow, Perez would watch the empire he built teeter as several of his large projects where on the brink of collapse with large debt obligations looming. Given his development and operational prowess, Perez’s lenders recognized there was no one better suited to finish the projects and worked with Related to restructure the debt. With new found life, Perez would even form a “vulture fund” to buy other busted projects. When the market recovered, Perez picked up where he left off and continued to help shape the South Florida skyline. It’s estimated Related Group has developed 90,000+ condo and apartment units and remains one of the most active developers in the nation with dozens of cranes scattered across the South Florida skyline.
Perez’s strength as a developer resides in his ability to quickly execute (and sell) projects, create an organization of “hard-chargers” – not an easy task in the unique Miami landscape, promote loyal “lieutenants” to lead and participate in upside, partner with competing developers to develop great sites his company may not control, create a development product catered to a diverse group of domestic and international buyers and price points, and create a brand for both his projects and the company.
Today, Perez has begun to wind down his career and is in the process of handing the reigns of his company to his sons. In addition to being an avid art collector, Perez is involved in several philanthropic activities and has donated art and money to several causes across South Florida perhaps most notably the eponymous Perez Art Museum Miami in Downtown Miami.