Edgardo and Ana Cristina Defortuna

She is pretty modest,” Edgardo Defortuna says of his wife, Ana Cristina. “She is the social one in the family, and she has an unbelievable personality. When we travel to foreign countries, buyers are totally drawn to her.” Those buyers are international investors in the Defortunas’ real estate developments, as well as buyers of Miami luxury condominiums. The Defortuna company, Fortune International Realty, comes by its Latin American client focus naturally: Edgardo grew up in Argentina, Ana Cristina in Peru.

In 2007, Fortune International Realty was credited with $563 million in sales, third behind The Related Group and Lennar in South Florida, yet neither one of the pair started out in real estate. She holds a degree from Boston University and was planning to work at a bank; he studied biomechanical engineering in Argentina. They each arrived in Miami at the behest of their families. Edgardo, 56, worked his way up from managing properties for foreign owners to starting a company—the foundation of his eventual real estate empire. Ana Cristina arrived to help with her father’s cotton business. They met 17 years ago on Key Biscayne, and married one year later.

These days, he handles the finance and business end of Fortune International Realty, and she works closely with architects on providing the features their clients want, making sure to have the latest in high-tech and concierge services. Their specialty, she says, is listening to prospective buyers. The Brazilians, everyone’s favorite new customers in Miami, are comprised of two types, Edgardo says. “One is more interested in the value and investment, the numbers. They prefer the business corridor [on Brickell] because the prices are lower and demand for rental is very large.” But for Brazilians buying for themselves, it has to be on the Beach, from Sunny Isles all the way up to Hollywood. It was Ana Cristina who came up with the idea of dual sunrise and sunset pools when buyers complained that the condo towers blocked the afternoon sun.

As a couple with so many interests in Latin America, and who spend their winter holiday in Punta del Este, Uruguay, they focus their philanthropy in that region, as well. The Defortunas are big backers of Manos del Sur, which helps children in 10 countries throughout Latin America, and they do a lot of direct giving as well, often through their church, St. Agnes in Key Biscayne. “We love anything that is child-oriented,” Ana Cristina says. They have three sons, aged eight, six, and four, who often accompany them on trips to Latin America. “They see the need,” their mother says. “They are exposed to poverty in the world.” As a result, she says, the children are amazingly generous. “For their birthdays, they say, ‘No gifts. Let’s do something for St. Jude’s Hospital.’” Their Latin roots are evident on Saturdays, too, says Edgardo: Those are reserved for father-son soccer games.


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