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Exploring Miami’s Real Estate Landscape with HAREB

Updated: Mar 4

Author: Mark Owen (MRE ‘24) 

Editor: Etta Madete (MRE '24)


On November 10-11, 2023, the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board (HAREB) hosted a Miami Real Estate Career Trek, an event that offered a deep dive into the world of real estate in Miami. Our two-day experience showcased the city’s thriving real estate market within a landscape of impressive architecture, culture, and vibrant urban planning, the biggest takeaway being the critical importance of innovative development strategies in creating urban environments. 


Harvard University students at Miami Design District, hosted by Michael Krupa 


13th Floor Investments 

Beginning at 13th Floor Investments, here President Aaron Stolear shared his insights into the Miami market. The discussion revolved around the complexities of urban development projects, particularly their approach to maximizing building density and revenue-sharing models. Their ambitious project, Link at Douglas, features a mix of 1,500 residential and commercial units and showcases an integration of innovative planning and public transportation. Distinctive to 13th Floor Investments is their emphasis on value-add and opportunistic real estate. They favor transit-oriented, high-density areas for their residential developments, creating a sense of community through public amenities. 

After the discussion, our group moved to Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar, a local café restaurant on South Beach, which exemplifies the city’s approach to live-work-play environments, combining urban living with social spaces. 

 

Harvard University students at 13th Floor Investments – Link at Douglas, hosted by Aaron Stolear 


Faena Group 

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to explore the Faena District, hosted by their COO, Scott Geraghty, and Alan Faena, the founder and president. We learned about the architectural philosophy that sets their work apart, such as their distinctive balconies, which challenge the traditional architectural standards of Miami Beach. Mr. Faena emphasized the significance of discovering one’s personal intention and how this philosophy is particularly relevant and influential in the creative and real estate industries. This perspective highlighted how vision and execution are interlinked, essential in creating spaces that are visually stunning and emotionally impactful. 

As the sun set, our group gathered for dinner at Los Fuegos. The evening’s menu featured a surf and turf spread, offering a culinary experience. Post-dinner, the Allura Cabaret Show was a mesmerizing blend of Miami’s vibrant culture and entertainment. This experience highlighted the significance of complementary amenities and potential synergies in mixed-use real estate assets, especially prevalent in Miami’s dynamic cultural landscape. It demonstrated how dining, entertainment, and cultural spaces can effectively integrate to augment property value and attractiveness. 


Harvard University students at the Lobby of Faena Hotel Miami Beach, hosted by Scott Geraghty 


Faena Theater - Allura Cabaret Miami Beach, hosted by Scott Geraghty 


Related Companies 

Our second day commenced with an enlightening visit to Related Companies. In a narrative presented by Anthony Stahl, they unfolded over two decades of strategic development, emphasizing their prowess in property development and management. With a $60 billion portfolio under their wing, Related Companies highlighted their forays into various business areas, including green energy and large fund management. Their approach to architecture and team-building, focusing on assembling a diverse team, was particularly striking. The Hudson Yards project in New York stood out as a transformative development, embodying their philosophy of large-scale, mixed-use projects. 


Harvard University students at Related Companies, hosted by Anthony Stahl 


The journey continued with a visit to Ytech, where Andrew Kraynak introduced us to their vision of high-end real estate development. Ytech’s focus on luxurious, innovative, and sustainable living spaces in high-rise buildings was captivating. They emphasized user experience, technological integration, and market differentiation. From motion sensors to advanced kitchen designs, Ytech’s commitment to luxury and sustainability was evident in every aspect of their projects. The technology that particularly stood out to me was their use of integrated smart home systems, which enabled energy efficiencies and eliminated the need for manual controls in temperature and lighting management. 


Harvard University students at Ytech, hosted by Andrew Kraynak 


Our Miami Trek concluded with a walking tour of the Design District, led by Michael Krupa from Gemdale USA Corporation. This tour was an immersive experience into the world of urban transformation of Miami. The Design District, once a neglected area, now stands as a vibrant hub of fashion, art, and architecture, reflecting Miami’s growth and potential. The blend of culture and commerce in the Design District was a compelling observation. Combining artistic spaces with business areas creates an opportunity that attracts diversity and drives economic activity, making it a vibrant destination. 


Harvard University students at Miami Design District, hosted by Michael Krupa 


Key Takeaways 

The profound insights gained from industry leaders like 13th Floor Investments, Faena Group, Related, and Ytech have enriched our understanding of real estate. From the innovative strategies at 13th Floor Investments to Faena’s blend of luxury and cultural integrity, each session contributed to a comprehensive view of the industry’s evolving landscape. The diversity in approach broadened our perspective, emphasizing the need for innovation, sustainability, and a deep understanding of market dynamics in the field. 


As we bid farewell to the vibrant streets of Miami, we carried with us not just memories but also a renewed vision for the future of real estate. The Miami Trek was a tapestry of learning, networking, and inspiration, painting a vivid picture of the challenges and opportunities in the real estate sector. 


This journey was a stepping stone into a world where innovation meets tradition and sustainability harmonizes with luxury. As emerging professionals in this dynamic field, we are now equipped with insights and experiences that will shape our approach to real estate, inspired by the marvels of Miami’s landscape. 

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