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PODCAST: Jorge And Jon Paul Pérez On Florida’s Rise, How To Take Over A Hot Neighborhood

Bisnow's audio series, Bisnow Reports, examines every facet of the international commercial real estate industry — from the murky future of retail and office to real estate’s reckoning with diversity to the effects of climate change on the built world, and so much more. You can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music, or scroll down to listen in your browser.

Related Group's Jorge Pérez and Jon Paul Pérez, photographed at their Miami office.

South Florida has been a beneficiary of a major influx of people and companies in recent years, a process that was accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. And that has one of the largest developers in the U.S. licking its lips at the prospect of building residential and mixed-use schemes to house this growing number of highly paid workers.

Bisnow sat down with Related Group Chairman and CEO Jorge Pérez and President Jon Paul Pérez to talk South Florida real estate, the region's changing demographics and how the company is dealing with the twin challenges of climate change and skyrocketing construction costs. Related has built more than 100,000 luxury and affordable residential units since Jorge Pérez founded the company in 1979 alongside Stephen Ross, and sold $50B of real estate.

“We have taken advantage of that huge demand coming from everywhere into South Florida; we're seeing an immense influx not only of people, but of businesses relocating, particularly from the Northeast, and even from California,” Jorge Pérez said. “They’re taking advantage of the open air. People who are afraid of the pandemic and want places that are more open, more sunny, where you can breathe more freely.”

Is this influx of people and companies temporary, or can developers building homes for them bank on them staying? “We're very bullish that will continue,” Jon Paul Pérez said. “One of the factors that makes us believe in that is the corporations that are moving down are signing long-term leases, they're not one-year, two-year temporary leases, these are companies signing 10- to 15-year leases; and major companies, like Blackstone, D1 Capital, JPMorgan or Thoma Bravo out of Chicago.”

Jorge Pérez was for a long time a friend of former President Donald Trump, with the developer-in-chief having offered him several positions in his administration. But the relationship is essentially over after some serious differences in opinion, Pérez said.

“No, we are not in great speaking terms,” Jorge Pérez said. “We have different philosophies as how to run the country and where to spend the money. We disagree on public health. We disagree on the environment. We disagree on foreign affairs and immigration. So that has caused a sort of break in our personal relationship.”