Trendsetters - Jan. 2007
Alicia Cervera Lamadrid
Related Cervera Realty Services
Recreation: Boating. Her husband, Alberto Lamadrid, owns the Miami Yacht and Engine Works boatyard in Miami. He named a refurbished yacht for her. "After 20 years of marriage, that was pretty big." Also: Gardening. "I like orchids."
Advice from Mom: "The honorable route is always the right route. She really taught me that almost lost art of giving people time. In training my staff ... if you're spending less than a half hour with any client, no matter how underqualified they seem, you're doing a lousy job."
Alicia Cervera Lamadrid put in three years of work toward a doctorate in clinical psychology before joining her mother's real estate firm full time. There, she got another education. Her mother, she says, "always thinks out of the box."
Lamadrid's mother, Alicia Cervera, is president of Cervera Real Estate, a longtime force in Miami real estate. In 1995, her firm began selling condos for another force, mega-condo developer Jorge Perez, head of The Related Group. In 2001, Lamadrid and Perez became partners in Related Cervera Realty Services. Their firm, run by Lamadrid, has sold 11,000 new condo units -- 84% of them at Perez projects -- for a total of $6 billion. (In Miami's condo-flipping market, some of that 11,000 includes condos sold twice. At One Miami alone, the firm resold 500 of the 900 units.)
"You can open your door to anyone, but it's up to them to make a successful entrance," Perez says of Lamadrid. "I think Alicia is a natural salesperson, with an innate sense of marketing. She gets along great with her staff and is a source of inspiration for them."
Lamadrid, 48, says segments of the market remain strong. At Loft 3, where most units are priced under $300,000, her firm sold 400 of the 500 units in the first week in October. Meanwhile, the St. Regis Bal Harbour is "selling beautifully" with average prices of more than $3 million. The market is "less vibrant in the middle market for the property that's between a half-million and a million," she says.
How to understand going forward with a luxury condo/hotel project in Lake Buena Vista in a slow real estate market?
Shamanand K. "Sham" Maharaj says it's a matter of keeping the emphasis on the hotel side and the traditional measures of hotel performance -- occupancy rates and average daily room rates. His BVC Corp. plans to begin construction this quarter on a 504-unit, twin-tower Wyndham Hotels and Resorts on his 214 acres off I-4. A native of Trinidad who came to Orlando more than a decade ago from Canada, Maharaj has holdings that include the Orlando Sharks of the Major Indoor Soccer League. He expects most guests of the Wyndham, scheduled to open in 2009, to be convention-goers attracted by amenities such as a spa and rooftop nightclub. Says the 45-year-old: "There's certainly a lack of upscale lodging in Orlando."
Notables in Naples
Betsy D'Jamoos, 46, is chief operating officer, and Andy D'Jamoos, 43, is sales and marketing vice president at The D'Jamoos Group, founded by their father, Joseph, in Naples.
The firm is developing the Brazilian-styled S?o Grato, a 23-acre, $100-million mixed-use project in Naples -- a portion of the 2.5 million square feet the family company has on the boards or under development.
The two younger D'Jamooses, Massachusetts natives, worked for their father's wholesale building supplies distributing company before he sold it and moved to Naples in 1989.
Betsy went into government service in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Andy went into sales in medical equipment and human resources. They rejoined their father in Naples after 2000. Their sister, Jennifer, 36, is deputy COO.
For fun, Brian Street drove in a Nevada road rally in November and went on to Baja for a 24-hour desert race. "Twenty-four hours of non-stop hell," Street says. "It takes three or four months to figure out whether you enjoyed it or not."
We'll know in a few years whether Street enjoys a different kind of driving -- steering his $1.5-billion, 6,000-unit Biscayne Landing development in North Miami, the largest waterfront project in southeast Florida.
A South Africa native who served in the military there and in Israel, Street came to Boca Raton via Canada in 1986 and became a waterfront luxury condo developer. He founded Boca Developers in 1992 with James Cohen, a resort developer and venture capitalist.
Street, 58, says the market is slowing, but he believes top-quality projects -- like his -- on the water near amenities will succeed. "I like to think we've never kissed a frog and called it a princess," he says.
At Biscayne Landing, he has two towers nearly complete. Six more will get under way this year along with an office tower, retail space and a hotel. He has 11 more towers under way or ready to break ground this year in Aventura, Riviera Beach, North Miami Beach and Daytona Beach, plus a Keys townhouse and marina project and plans to redevelop a Fort Lauderdale riverfront retail center into a three-tower project. When all 16,000 units at his projects are sold, the gross will be $9 billion to $9.5 billion. "You just have to sell them, you see," he says.
President, Deerfield Beach
Pastimes: Polo playing in Boca.
Getaway: His Okeechobee ranch, where he raises exotic cattle and wildlife.
Far getaway: Generally travels to Africa yearly for a photo safari.
Foundation: Street and his wife, Linda, have a foundation to support ecological causes. Its first commitment will be to the Cheetah Conservation Fund. "If I can say when I die I contributed to saving an endangered species, I can be proud of myself."
10 lessons learned: "Lesson one is patience. There's no need to jump on a deal because there's nothing in the pipeline. That's lesson one through 10."
Building: "You take a $200-million bet every time you build a high-rise building. You build 10 buildings, and before you know it, you're into real money."
The Art of Being Unique
Years ago in Seattle, developer Jimmy Aviram helped an artist renovate a building for use as a studio. Aviram took some of the artist's work as compensation -- and remained his friend. The artist was Dale Chihuly.
Aviram thought of Chihuly as he noodled how to anchor a condo project he was putting together in St. Petersburg. Aviram was able to anchor his project, The Arts, with the first permanent collection of Chihuly's artwork; Aviram also provided the site next door for St. Petersburg's non-profit Arts Center. At The Arts, Aviram is a partner with Israel-based developer B.S.R. Group on the 503-unit, $250-million, 31-story (St. Petersburg's tallest) project scheduled for groundbreaking in the second quarter.
Aviram's parents moved from Romania to Israel when he was 3. Aviram relocated to Portland, Ore., in 1976 as a father of three at age 29 to take an $800-a-month job at a Jewish community center. "I remember my first credit card. I remember I was so excited. My first limit was $300, and I never reached it," Aviram says. After taking up real estate in Portland and Seattle, he moved a decade ago to Pinellas. He has an interest in the Bank of America tower in downtown St. Petersburg and is a partner in the 400 Beach Drive, Parkshore Plaza and Ovation condo developments. He hopes to submit plans this year for a retail-hotel-condo project he's developing in St. Petersburg with Miami developer Tibor Hollo.
"I always try to come with innovative ideas -- how to make it more successful. I want to be unique."
Education: Bachelor's in political science and economics, Hebrew University; master's in school administration, Portland State.
Visits Israel: Four times a year.
Charity: Recognized in 2004 for his support of Israel bonds and in 2006 for his support of Hadassah Hospital in Israel.
Quote: "I believe in 'The more I give, the more I get back.' We came into this world with nothing. We're going to leave with nothing. If you want to make an impact, help people."
Getaways: A condo in New York, buying one in Israel.