Don & Jeff Soffer

CATEGORY: Originators
COMPANY: Turnberry & Associates
INDUSTRY: Real Estate/Hospitality

WHAT MAKES THEM HAUTE: Don opened his first retail shopping mall with his father when he was 24 years old. He then came down to South Florida and purchased almost 1,000 acres of marshland in northern Dade County in 1967, filled the area, and created what is today called Aventura, a planned community. Aventura is a haven of activity, with golf courses, lakes, bike and exercise paths, exclusive condominiums, hotels, shopping centers, office buildings, and more. His son Jeff followed Don’s footsteps into the real estate and hospitality realms, and, when debuting the $500 million makeover of his world-renowned Fontainebleau Miami Beach in 2008, Jeff descended the hotel’s famous “stairs to nowhere” into the lobby (which was packed with everyone who is anyone in Miami) flanked by a bevy of Victoria’s Secret Angels. Unfortunately, the consensus is that the beautiful property opened at the wrong time—in the midst of a global economic collapse that drove room prices down and affected occupancy rates. The property is riddled with debt, but as of press time, a financial restructuring plan was reportedly in the works.

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