Jorge Perez: Who is the Man Behind the Name?
by Sep Niakan | December 23, 2013
While most Miamians are familiar with the name of the billionaire developer Jorge Perez, the story behind this charismatic man's vision is nothing short of inspirational. Responsible for the development of much of Downtown Miami, Jorge Perez has become widely associated with the revamped image of the city. Once quoted as saying, "I like my buildings. I truly believe they make Miami better," Perez has certainly managed to leave his impression on the city.
Over the course of just two short decades, Miami has become completely transformed and is now well on her way to becoming one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Much of that transformation can be attributed to Perez. Arriving in Florida completely on his own just before his 20th birthday in 1968, Perez quickly began working on making a name for himself. Within eight years, he opened his own company, starting with just two low-cost housing projects and then moved on to a project in Hialeah. After taking a tremendous leap of faith, he moved on to a high rise. The rest, as they say, is history.
Almost from the very beginning, Perez has proven to be instrumental in the developmental evolution of South Florida. In many instances, Perez was actually the first developer on the scene in many of the yet undiscovered neighborhoods. The makeover of the stretch of property comprising the tip of Miami Beach to the South of Fifth into an exclusive neighborhood can be completely attributed to Perez. What began with the Portofino Tower quickly culminated into the ultra-exclusive, 67-unit Apogee.
It was Perez who first saw the tremendous amount of potential that had yet to be tapped in the Downtown Miami area. What began as a mission to construct luxury condo high-rise towers in some of the city's most desolate neighborhoods has become something of a legend. Today, Perez's accomplishments include the Viceroy Brickell, 500 Brickell, the Plaza on Brickell, and the Icon Brickell.
While his development projects are certainly prolific, Perez has made it plain that he attempts to break the norm each year and does not construct cookie cutter buildings. In an effort to truly make each project unique, he and his team attempt to select the best designers and architects in the world. As a result, his architectural projects are typically award winning. According to Perez, the ultimate goal is to ensure that "…..each of them makes a very positive contribution to the neighborhoods."
Perez's firm, The Related Group of Florida, is now ranked as the top multifamily real estate developer and the largest Hispanic-owned firm in the United States. As was the case with most other developers in Florida, Perez was not immune to the effects of the housing crisis in 2008. Due in part to his vision and optimism, Perez fought his way back
The development projects associated with Perez extend far beyond condominiums. His latest achievement is the Jorge Perez Art Museum. The museum was made possible through Perez's donation of his $20 million Latin American art collection along with another $20 million cash donation made to the Miami Art Museum, now renamed the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum of Miami Dade County. The impetus for that donation was Perez's passion for art. Perez, who began collecting art when he left South America as a way of staying in touch with his culture says that he believes the lives of people are improved by the arts.
Perez also recently unveiled plans for what will be one of the largest projects in Miami. One Brickell, located at 444 Brickell Avenue, will soar to a total height of 80 stories and comprise three buildings different buildings.
What will be the next Jorge Perez project? There may be no limit to where Perez's vision will bring the city of Miami.
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