It is no surprise that the real estate and development market in Miami is reaching record highs. Because of this, many companies have seen the opportunity to pivot into a new market, and that is exactly what happened with Witkoff.
Family-owned and operated Witkoff has been a focal point in the New York development and investing scene for 30 years, and in January of 2020 the company decided it was time to expand into South Florida.
Alex Witkoff, Executive Vice President of Development
We had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Witkoff, Executive Vice President of Development to talk all about this Miami expansion. Not only is he playing a large role in their Miami integration, but he is also not shy of getting involved in the community. In addition to his role at Witkoff, he also serves on the board of trustees at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.
From new projects to where the South Florida market is going, Witkoff is quickly becoming an integral part of Miami’s renaissance.
Tell us a little bit about what you do at Witkoff?
I’m responsible for overseeing all aspects of Witkoff’s operations and development activities, from strategic development and conceptualization through execution. I love the dynamic nature of the business which gives me the opportunity to come up with creative strategies for our various projects. It has been especially rewarding to oversee many of our developments, particularly in Southern Florida, New York City and Southern California.
What is it about real estate development that excites you?
Real estate development is about taking nothing and creating something — you get to paint on a blank canvas, customize every detail, take a vision and turn it into reality, and in the process impact the trajectory of a community for generations.
Hilton Cabana Miami Beach in Downtown Miami
You serve on the board of trustees at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami. Is that one of your passions?
I believe both people and companies have a duty to act in the best interests of their environment and society as a whole. This is my foundation for all of my decisions, both personally and professionally. I believe that everything I do in my work should enrich the communities that it impacts. Serving on the board of trustees at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami is one way that I am afforded that opportunity to both give back and impact a community I am committed to, personally and professionally.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have ever received was from my father – listen to others before speaking. Understanding other people's perspectives is the key to a successful relationship with them.
700 North Miami Avenue is quite a large and exciting development. Can you reveal your plans there?
Witkoff focuses on owning and developing prime real estate in high barrier to entry locations.
As we study the population growth of Miami and even Florida more broadly, Miami will continue to move toward mass transit. The Brightline will connect Florida’s largest economic hubs from Miami to Orlando and ultimately to Tampa Bay. Further it will also serve as a commuter rail, connecting districts within Miami-Dade such as Downtown Miami, the Design District, Aventura, and Wynwood. This site sits adjacent to the Brightline’s largest station at MiamiCentral; we equate it to developing in front of Grand Central Station in Manhattan 25 years ago.
Our plan includes three mixed-use towers comprising over 3.3 Million Square feet, that will be developed in phases. It will connect MiamiCentral to Miami World Center, which is seeing hundreds of thousands of square feet of restaurants, entertainement, and shops open over the next 12-24 months.
New World Tower in Downtown Miami
Can you tell us about Witkoff’s expansion plans for South Florida?
Since opening our Miami office 3 years ago, we have grown our Florida business precipitously. In addition to 700 North Miami Avenue, we are redeveloping the former Diplomat Golf Club into a private golf club, marina and residences. In addition, we have three active developments in Miami Beach.
How does Florida compare to New York?
In a lot of ways, Florida today is like New York in the 1990’s in terms of the influx of capital investment and the strong compact between the private sector and government to engender growth. Between the climate, the culture, and pro-growth state and municipal policy, a great dynamic has spawned and we are thrilled to be a part of the evolving landscape here.
Where do you see the most growth potential for Miami?
Miami has experienced outsized growth over the past 24 months and that will continue to persist over the next several years. Florida’s low tax structure, coupled with Miami’s attractive lifestyle, has drawn prominent technology and financial services firms to relocate here. This is creating a flywheel effect, where an increasing number of businesses and people are migrating to Miami given the growth that has occured over the past 24 months.
Photography by: Courtesy Witkoff