Contact Us

The Bisnow 2016 Miami Power 50 The most influential players in commercial real estate -- Part 2 (No. 19-36)

In Part 1 of our Miami Power 50, published last week, we gave you the first 18 of Miami commercial real estate’s most extraordinary players, whom we presented as the “Board of Directors” and the “Institutions.” Now we bring you Part 2, either large new forces upon the scene or longer-standing players who’ve had major new impact. And in Part 3 later this week, we’ll be highlighting folks to watch as they start to make big moves, and wizards behind the scenes. All told, these are the remarkable individuals so dramatically changing the face of Miami.

THE NEW HEAT (No. 19-36)

19. Alan Faena (pictured), founder, the Faena Group and Len Blavatnik, founder, Access Industries


Just when everyone thought all the action was in South Beach, the Man Who Always Wears a White Suit started a march north up Collins, awakening the sleepy stretch between the Edition and the Fontainebleau. Yet another top developer from Argentina, he partnered with the checkbook, network and vision of billionaire Len Blavatnik (whose private company owns, among other things, global giant Warner Music Group) to erect or redo eight buildings between 32nd and 36th to create the "Faena District." Combining rose-themed historic restoration and bold new design, they've produced the highest condo prices ever seen in Miami. Which is saying something.

20. Wes Edens (pictured), co-chairman of the board, Fortress Investment Group and Mike Reininger, president, All Aboard Florida


“All Aboard Florida,” the $3B express train to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm and Orlando, looks to be a game-changer for Miami commerce. And not just because of a hoped-for visitor spike from other cities, or a stampede of cruise ship passengers from PortMiami to a train that will take them direct to Disney. Another huge impact will be from creation of a 3M SF mixed-use MiamiCentral station for the train near County Hall. Wes runs private equity giant Fortress, whose subsidiaries are integrally involved: Florida East Coast Industries, which is developing the train network, and Florida East Coast Railway, formerly Flagler, whose existing freight rights-of-way facilitate the passenger train expansion. 

21. David Martin, co-founder, Terra Group


David and father Pedro (then a partner at Greenberg Traurig who built great relationships with Latin investors) co-founded Terra when David was just 23 and finishing up a joint law degree/MBA at the University of Florida. They have since developed over $4B of South Florida properties. David is one of the hungriest hustlers in the business and quickly learned how to build high quality for the high-end. Now he’s got Glass rising above the latest crop of South-of-Fifth condos, Grand Bay (aka the “twisted sisters”) and the three towers of Park Grove (in a JV with Related) redefining Coconut Grove, the Renzo Piano-designed Eighty Seven Park ready to revive North Beach, and 15 luxury homes about to shine in Sunny Isles. Wherever he’s involved, his work not only stands out, but seems to remake whole neighborhoods. And his partnership with Howard Lorber of Douglas Elliman is feeding him the NY crowd to help fill them up.

22. Sergio and Manuel Grosskopf, founder and president, respectively, The Chateau Group


If Surfside is becoming an extension of posh Bal Harbour, then this family is a key reason. The Grosskopfs have long been players in the region; Sergio was Pedro Martin's equity partner in the last cycle and owns a lot of land on US-1 and Hallandale Boulevard. But the reason we put them in the "New Heat" section is that, on the heels of their 33-story Chateau Beach in Sunny Isles selling quickly, they're nearing completion of the 12-story Fendi Chateau on 93rd and Collins, boasting 58 flow-through condos with minimum 3,300 SF and price tags of $6.3M to $25M (and keep in mind most of the owners are part time). Get ready for fancy retail to spread west to Harding and more upscale residential south into the 80s. Meanwhile, the Grosskopfs are already on to partnering with Fortune on the 52-story Ritz Residences in Sunny Isles.

23. Avra Jain, founder, Vagabond Group


The one-time Wall Street bond trader then Tribeca loft developer came to Miami in the late '90s, and four years ago started acquiring and resuscitating colorful but neglected postwar motels on Biscayne Boulevard in the 70s, most notably the Vagabond. Presto, she's put MiMo on the map—and women developers, too. A one-time competitive tennis player, and the daughter of an immigrant from India, she's a relentless entrepreneur and is now eyeing other frontiers as well, like along the Miami River.

24. Moishe Mana, chairman, Mana Contemporary

Moishe Mana, founder of Moishe's Moving Systems and now successful developer

The guy who appeared from out of nowhere just 10 years ago (actually, an Israeli entrepreneur who made a fortune in NYC creating Moishe’s Moving & Storage) has been buying like crazy, seemingly every available property Downtown and in Wynwood—many hundreds of millions in holdings. Although there is some suspense about what he's actually going to do with them, his vision seems to be to restore the glory of the original heart of the city in Flagler (those pictures of beautiful buildings you see from the olden days), and make Wynwood between Northwest 2nd and 5th avenues a creative area with retail, dining, galleries and parks; and between Northwest 5th and I-95 an international trade district with office, showrooms, hotels and shops. He will be at the center of the mounting debate about whether the submarket goes more cosmopolitan or tries to stay an artsy SoHo.

25. Michael Comras, CEO, Comras Co


The Midas of Lincoln Road who (with Jonathan Fryd) bought a block there in 1999 for $12M, tenanted it with top-drawing retail like Apple, Nike and Gap, then sold it earlier this year to Zara billionaire Amancio Ortega for $370M, now has all eyes upon him as a brilliant real estate alchemist and harbinger of what’s next. Answer: He’s off and running (with Federal Realty and Grass River) to reinvent Cocowalk in Coconut Grove and the Shops at Sunset Place in South Miami. His late dad, "Papa Joe," a major developer in both NY and Miami, would be proud.

26. Kevin Maloney, founder, Property Markets Group


Kevin is active in NY, but seems to have dual citizenship in Miami, seen as part of the community and at it a while—in the last cycle (with then-partner Ziel Feldman) he developed the sleek Mei adjacent to the Bath Club. In the Big Apple, he's doing (with JDS) the buzzed-about supertall condo on 57th that's 1,350 feet high and 43 feet wide, expected to produce $1.5B in sales to some of the world’s richest people. That credential has created expectations that his Echo Brickell, Echo Aventura and Muse Sunny Isles will also be striking beauties—and profitable. Also, just recently, he got Square Mile equity and Centennial loans to go ahead with a 1,049-foot Vice tower at 300 Biscayne featuring luxury apartments and condos.

27. Art Falcone (on right), founding principal, and Nitin Motwani, managing principal, Miami Worldcenter


Many wondered if this grand vision of 27 mixed-use acres Downtown would ever break ground, but after years of painstakingly assembling the parcels, the first phase launched last fall. Although retail has been downsized from big box to high street, it has money and muscle behind it—Art is an extraordinary rags-to-riches story who thinks big. It also has compelling geography: the potential to become the gateway between Downtown and Edgewater, Midtown and Wynwood; a more convenient retail alternative for the arts and entertainment district to Brickell City Centre; and, sandwiched between Biscayne and I-395, a symbolic front door to the city. Construction of Paramount, Worldcenter's signature condo tower, is underway, as is the retail. In May, LA's CIM Group partnered to break ground on 863 rental units. Zom plans 429 more, and MDM is slated to start a 1,700-room, 600k SF event space Marriott Marquis Convention and Expo Center Q1 '17. Now they just have to compete with Miami's other growing retail centers and an uncertain economy.

28. Richard LeFrak (pictured), CEO, LeFrak; and Joe Chetrit, co-founder, Chetrit Group


Two of the biggest, richest players in New York are laying plans for two of the biggest, richest mixed-use projects in the history of Miami. Richard is partnering with Jeff Soffer on the $4B SoLe Mia conversion of a waste dump on Biscayne at 150th; and Joe is planning a billion dollars of mixed-use on the Miami River. Both have track records here. Richard was a hands-on partner with Barry Sternlicht the last several years to create the hottest hotel in Miami Beach (the 1 Hotel). And Joe owns the Tides, the Miami Beach Hotel and other properties. What distinguishes their ambitions is not just their scale but impact: They are creating whole new neighborhoods.

29. Arnaud Karsenti (pictured), managing principal, 13th Floor Investments; Inigo Ardid, co-president, Key International


Here are two of Miami's wunderkind, in case you wonder about the future. These guys have created big waves in short order, building retail, apartments and condos, partnering on 1010 Brickell, 400 Sunny Isles and The Harbour in North Miami Beach. Since launching in '08, Arnaud's managed $1.5B in real estate assets, deploying $350M in equity. Inigo's diversified into hotels, acquiring the iconic Eden Roc and pivoting into the select service category. Arnaud (with Wexford hedge fund help) has been a source of active JV equity capital to astute players like Seth Gadinsky, Michael Adler and Camilo Miguel. His and Inigo's secret sauce? Perhaps the fact that each has three small kids that keep them on their toes.

30. Eduardo Costantini (pictured), founder, Consultatio Real Estate; and Nadim Ashi, founder, Fort Capital Management


These two developers, like the Grosskopfs, are building some of the most luxurious condos ever seen in South Florida, and in the process moving the center of gravity for opulence more northerly along the beach. Eduardo is a major Argentine developer who brought luxe to Key Biscayne with his Oceana there; in Bal Harbour, he's finishing a greater masterpiece: 240 units where he reports over 75% already sold. If it produces his expected $1.3B in sales, it will be the single most valuable condo building in the region. As for Nadim, he's remade the venerable Surf Club into 150 Four Seasons Residences selling for $2,300 a foot (adjoining a sister 80-room hotel). Though of Lebanese parentage himself, he's also noteworthy for luring a new wave of Turkish capital and investors to Miami.

31. Barry Sternlicht, founder, Starwood Capital; Joe Sitt (pictured at a Bisnow event), founder, Thor; Ben Bernstein, founder, Redsky; and David Edelstein, founder, TriStar


Call them the merchant snowbirds. Barry and Joe, nationally renowned real estate figures, are first among equals in the category. Barry's got his 1 Hotel on the market for a million a key, and people wonder what he will do next. (He just bought a home on North Bay Road, so presumably something.) And he knows the scene: his Starwood Property Trust bought LNR in 2013 and Starwood Capital has heavily invested in South Florida. Joe and Ben are feverishly buying and selling in Wynwood and the Design District, and Joe also owns on Lincoln Road. David has a permanent team here and has been active on Lincoln Road and in the Design District.

Others often seen around are Dan Loeb of Third Point, Aby Rosen of RFR (the W and 800 Lincoln), Jason Halpern of JMH (300 Collins, 29th and Indian Creek, Surfside, and the Aloft, which he sold to Rockpoint), Alex Sapir (Surfside), Jonathon Yormak and David Peretz of East End Capital (Wynwood), Ben Ashkenazy (DD and Bayside), Raymond Gindi (DD), Morris Bailey (DD), Eric Hadar of Allied Partners (a big mixed-use parking garage at 400 Collins, and the Savoy), and the Safra family from Brazil (Lincoln Road and Wynwood). And NY grandmaster Steve Witkoff this year unveiled the Washington Park Hotel at 10th and Washington (a renovation of the old Wyndham), and living part time on Sunset Island as he does, will probably be doing more.

32. Bjarke Ingels (pictured), founder, BIG; and the late Zaha Hadid


The world's starchitects have converged on Miami, and two of them have already conceived what may become the city's signature edifices. Bjarke is widely seen as the new Frank Gehry, using dramatic and unconventional shapes—in Coconut Grove, his "twisted sisters" Grove at Grand Bay is glamorizing the traditionally Bohemian neighborhood and making it one of Miami's hottest. On Biscayne at 10th, the late Zaha Hadid's sensuous exoskeleton for Regalia and Louis Birdman's 1000 Museum condos is creating a design every visitor will see and remember. A herd of other out-of-town stars are hard at work as well: Cesar Pelli, Rem Koolhaus, Rafael Vinoly, Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Neuron, Piero Lissoni, Carlos Ott, Yabu Pushelberg, David Rockwell, Phillipe Starck and Ricardo Bofill.

33. Toby Cobb (on right) and Justin Kennedy, principals, Grass River Property


Flying under the radar, they’re centrally involved in reviving Coconut Grove and South Miami, partnering with Comras and Federal Realty on Cocowalk and the Shops at Sunset Place, and on their own won a $196M RFP for mixed-use at the CG metrorail station. Although they also build apartments, they’re best known for adaptive reuse and repositioning in retail, and in Coconut Grove are complementing what Terra and Related are doing for multifamily. Backed by greybeards Chuck Cobb (former CEO of Arvida) and Bill Powers (who ran fixed income for PIMCO), Toby and Justin are themselves former co-CEOs of LNR Property, and financial wizards rumored to be putting together a new lending platform.

34. Ricardo Glas and Luis Pulenta, founders, MDM Development Group


They've been Downtown players with their 40-story Met 1 condos, 47-story Met 2 Wells Fargo Center and 41-story Marriott Marquis, and Met 3 (known to the world for its 41k SF Whole Foods). But now MDM is crowning these projects with an 80k SF cinema and 40k SF of retail at Met Square across from the Epic, and separately is planning a huge Marriott Marquis convention hotel at Miami Worldcenter (see No. 27 above).

35. Jose Luis Melo, president, and Martin and Carlos Melo, principals, The Melo Group


These prolific developers, whose family business started in Buenos Aires 70 years ago, have remained active through this cycle, in Edgewater (like their 53-story, 648-condo Aria on the Bay) and the Arts district (e.g., their new 36-story, 497-apartment Melody).

36. Keith Menin (pictured) and Jared Galbut, co-founders, Menin Hospitality


Scions of the Crescent Heights founders, these cousins started their own firm in a different space and with a Millennial edge. Hotels like the Gale, Sanctuary and Kaskades; bars like Bodega and Radiohead; and eateries like Red Ginger, Bakehouse and Ricky's. Sort of a modern speakeasy gestalt, where a party is never far from the front door. And most likely a big pipeline of more; after all, they grew up in entrepreneurial families that taught if you can dream it, you can do it. Not to mention, they have an active partner and strategist in Russell Galbut.