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By Victoria Maria ’17
Escaping the cold weather of New York City, the Real Estate Association (REA) of Columbia Business School traveled down to Miami on April 8th of 2016. Accompanied by Professor Lynne Sagalyn and Kristin Svenningsen, Administrative Director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, we embarked on a full day trek around the best real estate sunny Miami has to offer.
Our quick trip started bright and early when we arrived at the offices of Related Group. We were kindly received by Matt Allen, Chief Operating Officer of the company. Joining the 22 of us from Columbia Business School in a conference room, he kicked off the day with an overview of the Related Group’s portfolio, and shared his perspective on the particulars of the Miami real estate market. He graciously proceeded in an “open floor” format in which students had the liberty of asking questions about anything of interest.
Thanks to the nice weather and the proximity, the group was able to walk over to what is soon to be inaugurated as the Brickell City Center. The project, developed by Swire, promises to be the new epicenter of Brickell, and Miami as a whole. At Swire’s offices, right off city center, we were met by Stephen Owens, President and CEO. From there we were able to view the impressive miniature model of the completed project. Mr. Owens walked us through the concept, and vision for this center, explaining that Swire aimed to merge the wonderful Miami outdoors with the shopping experience, a concept that they seem to have been masterfully developed. After a quick presentation about the company’s history and a virtual tour of Brickell City Center, we got the chance to tour the construction site. Hardhats on, we explored the advanced site, seeing the envisioned property coming to life.
After a quick stop at the Perez Art Museum, we continued towards Collins Hotel/Condo Development, owned by FAENA. After we were guided through the impressive condos, Scott Geraghty, COO, and Dant Hirsch, General Manager and others, spent time reviewing the asset in great detail, touching also on the management of both the hotel and the condominium (both managed under the same umbrella), offering guests and residents the best of both worlds.
Our final stop was the 1 Hotel, where we were received by Michael Tillman ’11, Managing Director at LeFrak. Michael went into great detail about the history of the asset, and how it eventually landed with LeFrak, before providing an in depth walking tour of both traditional guest suites, and premium penthouse accommodations, all the while explaining the concept of the lifestyle brand, which “interweaves moments of the outdoors throughout, the property.”
After a long, but productive day, we concluded on the rooftop of the 1 Hotel. The incredible views and ambiance served as the perfect venue for a CBS alumni/student networking happy hour. It was here that Professor Sagalyn shared a few remarks about the day, the MBA Real Estate Program, and the REA, and we were able to connect with local CBS alumni. Many thanks to the REA organizers, our generous company hosts, and the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate for their help in putting together this wonderful trip.
Victoria Maria ’17 was born in the Dominican Republic. She previously worked in real estate development in the DR before coming to Columbia Business School for her MBA. Her biggest focus was on developing a new healthcare facility in Santo Domingo, and overseeing the construction of industrial warehouses outside the city. She is an MBA Candidate in the class of 2017.