Palm Beach Paradise: An Interview With Renowned Real Estate Developer Todd Michael Glaser

(Left to Right): Brandon Zarco & Todd Glaser

Todd Michael Glaser is a renowned real estate developer, owner’s representative, and business connoisseur. Starting his career as a fire sprinkler designer gave him a foundational understanding of building construction and developments, and now he sells multimillion-dollar properties, owns some of the largest real estate developments in South Florida, and has worked with A-list celebrities such as DJ Khaled, A-Rod, Lil Wayne, Chris Bosh, Hulk Hogan, Randy Frankel (owner of Tampa Bay Rays), Kevin Douglas (IMAX board member), and Stephen Levin (founder of Gold Coast Beverage Distributors).

Though originally from Miami Beach, Glaser has most recently brought his expertise to the Palm Beach market. Of course, the area has always been known for its beautiful estates, upscale resorts, and palm-tree-lined shopping district of Worth Avenue. Since 2020, the real estate market in Palm Beach has grown rapidly. Whereas a decade ago a $20 to $30 million house was considered top of the market, that price is now considered average, with $100 million homes in the mix.

“It’s a generational change in 2017 that I caught,” Glaser says. “A lot of stuff that had not come on the market for at least 50, 60, 70 years is starting to bubble up. They are big, expansive estates, and Miami Beach does not have that. The Palm Beach market, like Tarpon Island, really does not exist in Miami.”

Tarpon Island is a one-of-a-kind private island estate a block from Worth Avenue that Glaser bought this year and is currently renovating and developing. It has only one single-family home, accessible via its own bridge. The home has 1,300 linear feet of waterfront and will boast almost 25,000 square feet once completed. It will be brought to market by Lawrence Moens and will be listed for sale as-is for $120 million. If the buyer would like Glaser to complete the renovations, the cost will be $200 million.

Glaser recently sat down with Haute Residence to discuss his success in the new market, his favorite projects, and why Palm Beach is stealing the limelight from Miami Beach.

Tarpon Island, Palm Beach County, Florida


Haute Residence: What are some of the projects you’ve worked on in Palm Beach?

Todd Michael Glaser: I went into the market and purchased some landmark homes, renovated them, assembled a team of subcontractors, and once I felt comfortable, I started building. I did 125 Via del Lago, 121 North Lake Way, and 127 Dunbar Road, which are all landmark homes. I bought 127 Dunbar Road for $17 million and sold it for $27.5 million in under 10 months.

The reason we’re renovating right now is to get products on the market. In Palm Beach, there are only about 18 listings right now, whereas there are usually about 190. So we decided to buy some properties in April and May that we could fix and have on the market by October 15 to capitalize on the upcoming season.

HR: How has the real estate market in Palm Beach changed recently?

TMG: The real estate market, in general, hasn’t gone up so much in the last 15 years, and I attribute a lot of it to what somebody’s net worth is versus what they’re buying house-wise — it doesn’t correlate. Before, people used to buy a $150,000 house and you were only making $30,000 per year — one-fifth that amount. However, to flip that ratio, if somebody is worth $3 billion, why wouldn’t they buy a billion-dollar house valued at around a third of their worth? The correlation is off. In 2001, we started seeing $3 million houses. In 20 years, pricing has gone up, but not as much as what people’s income and net worth have risen. The graph of people’s income and net worth is vertical, and real estate has seen a slow rise. I think real estate is way undervalued.

But for Palm Beach, let’s go back four years. Four years ago, when I bought 125 Via Del Mar, Miami Beach and Palm Beach properties were actually the same prices. That shocked me. I paid $6 million for a property and we later sold it for $16 million. That’s what really caught my eye — I could finally buy in Palm Beach for the same price as Miami Beach. There have been eight single-family homes that have sold for over $100 million in the last 18 months in Palm Beach. It’s a new trend, and a $50 million house in Palm Beach is not that big of a deal anymore because the sale prices have gone up to $100 million.

HR: What do you and your team hope to accomplish in the fourth quarter of 2021?

TMG: We own several properties that can be sold as land, and we’re looking to see if we can sell them simply for an appreciated land value. There’s been a big increase in land values in the last six to eight months. There are a lot of people out there looking for land, and there’s nothing out there. We currently own a lot of property in Palm Beach. We’re also building some new homes because there’s no inventory in Palm Beach. We’ve never seen anything like this.

HR: What makes Palm Beach better than Miami Beach?

TMG: Palm Beach has the highest elevations on the east coast of Florida, and that’s why people picked it. The size of the parcels, when they were subdivided, was done in a resident-oriented way. They do everything for the residents in Palm Beach.

On the other hand, Miami Beach seems to be increasingly catering to tourists. I’ve lived here my whole life and have watched the city grow out of its small beach-town environment and into this booming metropolis. It used to have small-town vibes where everyone knew their neighbors, but those days are gone. I’ve renamed Miami Beach the city of Miami Beach — it’s not a town anymore, it’s a full-blown city. So many of us are gravitating up to Palm Beach, and a lot of young families are moving there, which is fantastic.

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