Beyond The Bio: 16 Questions With Black Salmon CEO Jorge Escobar
This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles.
Jorge Escobar had a good thing going in banking. He served as global head of HSBC Private Bank for the Chile market, where he oversaw more than $1.5B in funds for high net worth clients throughout the world.
He left it behind to delve into commercial real estate, and now he is at the helm of Black Salmon, a Miami-based CRE investment firm with a $450M nationwide portfolio of office, senior housing, industrial and hospitality properties. The tennis-obsessed exec has retained much of his banking DNA, though, and continues to work with a select group of high net worth individuals and family offices in Latin America and Europe.
Bisnow: What is your favorite part of your job?
Escobar: The personal interactions at work, with both our investors and our team. Everyone we work with brings a unique perspective that fuels our growth.
Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?
Escobar: None. All of the jobs I’ve had helped me grow both personally and professionally. Even if some were more challenging at certain points than others, each was an opportunity that resulted in a positive outcome. Everything I’ve done in life has shaped what I am and where I am today.
Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?
Escobar: Banking and finance, the industry is part of my DNA.
Bisnow: What deal are you proudest of?
Escobar: I’m proudest of our firm Black Salmon’s acquisition of U.S. Bank Center in Phoenix this past August. It was truly a landmark deal that put us on the playing field alongside some of the largest commercial real estate investors in the country.
Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure?
Escobar: A deal we lost in Seattle this year. It was a great opportunity for the firm, but we fell short on bidding.
Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Escobar: To be interrupted at the office. There’s limited time available to push tasks through that require my complete concentration, so when there’s an interruption it can throw workflow off track.
Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?
Escobar: Every summer, my wife and I spend two weeks on a friend’s yacht in the Mediterranean. It’s the perfect time to unplug and recharge.
Bisnow: What motivates you?
Escobar: Accomplishing my goals, making my family, partners and team proud, and creating value in my firm every day.
Bisnow: What advice do you wish you got when you started in CRE?
Escobar: CRE might look like an easy business, but it’s a bumpy ride, especially at the beginning. You need to be able to establish solid relationships with the right colleagues and partners in order to get to the right deals.
Bisnow: What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Escobar: Leaving behind a 20-year career in banking to start a new endeavor in a different industry, but I’m glad I did, because it has proven to be the right decision.
Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?
Escobar: The well-being of my family, their health and happiness; it’s the most important thing in my life. After that, the thought of our investors losing money, and coming up with solutions to combat any obstacles that we’re faced with.
Bisnow: What is your favorite place to visit?
Escobar: Spain, Hawaii and Vail, Colorado.
Bisnow: Outside of work, what are you most passionate about?
Escobar: Outside of work, I’m passionate about tennis. My partner and I try to play tennis every day; it helps us connect on a daily basis, plan for future challenges and have fun. We take our rackets everywhere we go. Our most difficult business decisions are made on the court.
Bisnow: What CRE trend do you think will have the most impact over the next few years?
Escobar: The technological revolution that is continuously changing how people live, work and play.
Bisnow: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Escobar: My sense of humor.
Bisnow: What do you want your legacy to be?
Escobar: If you can dream it, you can make it. Of course, you may be scarred during the process, but I’ve learned that with hard work, a lot of effort and the right people by your side, you can achieve anything.
CORRECTION, JAN. 21, 11:10 A.M. ET: A previous version of this story had an outdated number for Black Salmon's investments. It has been updated to reflect the company's current $450M portfolio.