Visionary and developer extraordinaire Jorge Perez of The Related Group of Florida shares his thoughts on – what else? – the present and future of luxury real estate
By Kamal Hotchandani
“I am concerned with the affordability gap; that is the unnecessary discrepancy between housing prices and household income. We need to diversify our ways.”
HL All of your Florida developments are known for their smart style and extraordinary amenities, but HL readers would love to know what current, non-Related Group development you wish your company had built in the Sunshine State.
JP It is hard to pick the product of one’s competitors. But I like what Craig Robbins did at Aqua and Ugo Columbo at Grosvenor House. They are both well thought-out and executed.
HL And in Manhattan? What are some of your favorite developments?
JP My favorite is Related’s Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. It is the new Rockefeller Center, which is also one of my favorites. I love the Guggenheim and the new MOMA as great museum spaces, and the Seagram Building is outstanding.
HL Many developments today can in fact impact a particular community, or even a city. It seems many of your projects do. Which one do you think has been the most important so far?
JP The projects that we have done that have impacted the development of cities most are CityPlace in West Palm Beach and One Miami with its bayfront art walk in Downtown Miami.
HL Who are your biggest buyers? Floridians, Latin Americans, New Yorkers, Europeans – and do think that will change anytime soon?
JP We not only have local buyers that want to move to an urban setting for work or personal reasons, but we have a great number of buyers from Latin America, the Caribbean, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Northeast part of the US. Additionally, many of our buyers are also young local professionals who want to live in the hub of city activity. We also have buyers that are empty nesters who are embracing the urban lifestyle.
HL Do they plan to live year-round or seasonal?
JP Some live year-round. These are the permanent residents who live, work and play in our communities. Others purchase Related condos as a second home, and some purchase it as a tertiary home. Of course, these people use these homes seasonally.
HL Going beyond Florida and New York, what do you consider the next emerging hot market?
JP We’ve been looking at Atlanta for quite sometime. We feel the time is right to go into this market.
HL What does the future hold for South Florida real estate as a whole in the next five to 10 years?
JP I see a need for affordable housing. I am concerned with the affordability gap; that is the unnecessary discrepancy between housing prices and household income. We need to diversify our ways, in partnership with the public sector, to build condos that are affordable to the middle class that work in urban centers.