When we were in high school, Dad started developing some really high-profile condominiums in Miami Beach and became something of a celebrity. People always seemed to want to talk to him when we went out, which we thought was pretty cool. I always liked the idea of creating a new development, from visualization to putting all the pieces together. So, I guess pursuing a career path other than this never crossed my mind.
My road to Related
After graduating from college, I assumed I’d just go straight to work with my dad at our headquarters. Instead, he insisted I went to New York to gain experience outside of our firm. I spent six years there, putting in long hours, overseeing the development of 900 apartments and helping to obtain capital for our distressed opportunity fund. As the new cycle coming out of the financial crisis era really got going, I went back to Miami.
Over the years, my dad has frequently been the first developer to enter neighborhoods and start transforming them. A while back, I noticed how many people were going to hang out in Wynwood here in Miami. Artists and restaurants were moving in, but the buildings were still generally old one-story industrial warehouses. I figured that some of the visitors would probably like to live, work and play there too.
I went to my dad and explained this, presenting him with a business plan to develop smaller, mixed-use units in Wynwood. It wasn’t an easy pitch at first: he said he didn’t get the neighborhood’s appeal. However, he said I should go ahead with my idea anyway and now we’ve got six deals there, two completed and the rest under construction. I think I’ve now made Related’s mark on a neighborhood that has completely changed from five years ago.
I’m very fortunate to have a strong executive team around me. During the worst of the covid uncertainty, they were all looking to me. My father stepped back and allowed me to lead. He and I would still talk many times a day, but he wanted me to be the person the team went to for direction. I was nervous but I felt a big responsibility to make sure we made it through the health crisis. Under my lead – and with my father’s guidance – we emerged from the uncertainty and are now in a position of strength. The markets we’re in are those where people want to live and invest in.
The fear will always be there to some degree. Previously, I used to manage two or three major projects. Now, I have overall responsibility for all of our projects, staff, budget and direction. So I get a little less sleep nowadays, I’ve lost some more hair and I’m a bit grayer! But I’m very confident in my position having navigated covid, although it’s important always to have humility. You can be the best and plan for downside, but some things are just totally out of your control and you just have to work through that.
My younger brother also works for Related. We’re very close, basically like best friends who do everything together. I want him to become copresident of the company, alongside me. His drive and dedication tell me he’s going to get there. He’s already in charge of some of our biggest projects. I love reviewing floor plans or interior design concepts with him. We challenge each other sometimes, but we always reach an agreement in the end. It’s a fantastic relationship.