Jon Paul Pérez Makes a Name for Himself
By Jon Warech
Out of his father’s shadow comes the next big name in real estate development—Jon Paul Pérez.
From Sea Isle Marina, Jon Paul Pérez can view Edgewater, the neighborhood where he’s developing a posh high-rise for The Related Group.
As with most development companies, The Related Group’s every project starts with a vision. Founder, Chairman, and CEO Jorge M. Pérez looked at a hole in the ground and pictured an up-and-coming South of Fifth neighborhood before building Portofino Tower, Murano at Portofino, and Murano Grande. He envisioned a budding Brickell before building One Miami. And he foresaw a shining Sunny Isles before constructing Oceans I, II, III, and IV and three Trump Towers.
Riding in the backseat for all of it was Jon Paul Pérez, Jorge’s son, who would tag along with his father as he bounced from site to site, checking up on The Related Group’s latest projects. “Those were my Saturdays,” says Jon Paul. “After the soccer games, he would take us to the leasing centers and the models, since at that time he was doing rental properties. I always enjoyed visiting projects and learning what it was my father did, and I’ve been able to pick up on it fast.”
That was the plan from the beginning—to transform the young boy into The Related Group’s eventual leader. The company, which currently has a $10.7 billion portfolio, has not only changed the landscape of South Florida but also made a name for itself around the globe. And Jon Paul has seen the worldwide success firsthand.
As Related’s vice president, he regularly travels to India to visit the company’s building projects for that country’s rising middle class. “People [in India] talk about the Related name and what we’ve done,” says the younger Pérez. “There’s definitely a sense of pride when you travel and people recognize what you’ve done back home.”
After graduating from the University of Miami in 2007, Jon Paul moved to New York to “get out of my father’s shadow.”
“There was no special treatment,” he says of his five years working for the separate Related Companies, where he was directly responsible for all financial modeling, design programming, and construction management. “It was a place where I really had to dive in and learn, and work investment banking hours to prove myself in order to eventually come back and join the family business.”
Locally, Jon Paul is responsible for three projects: The Manor (a completed 197-unit apartment building in Plantation), a 365-unit development in the works in Pembroke Pines, and an as-yet-unnamed “super-luxury” high-rise in Edgewater. He’s a start-to-finish guy who oversees a development from the ground up, from deciding the right type of project for the land to working one-on-one with the attorneys, architects, interior designers, and construction executives needed to shepherd a building through to completion.
Proving things come full circle, Jon Paul is still driving around town on weekends with his father, checking on sales centers and visiting construction sites, but these days, it’s with the goal of one day taking over The Related Group alongside his younger brother, Nicholas. “We can talk business now,” he says of their father-son relationship. “But now I’m in the front seat.” And it won’t be long before he’s behind the wheel. 315 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-460-9900
photography by nick garcia. shot on location at sea isle marina
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.