You studied at MIT in the late ’90s. Are you a fan of the film Good Will Hunting?
Yes, and the other one with Russell Crowe.
A Beautiful Mind? Wasn’t that one set at Princeton?
I always thought it was MIT.
Switching topics. Tell me how you got to the top of the totem pole at development juggernaut Related Group.
The top of the totem pole. I like that. I started working with Jorge Pérez [CEO of Related] in 2002. I was doing my thesis, for which I interviewed Jorge. “When you’re done with that useless book, come work for me,” he told me. I started working in the rental division, then moved to condos. I survived the cycles for a long time. I’m always running. Life is a marathon.
Sounds about right. Are your parents supportive of you and your career?
Both my parents are architects in Argentina, where I grew up, so they’ve been a source of inspiration and great advice. They’re both great mentors for me and for my four kids.
Before you got your master’s degree, you were an international real estate man of mystery.
I worked all over—Brussels, Bruges, Abu Dhabi, Dubai.
Were they all residential and office developments?
In Dubai, I built an airport and a shopping mall.
You’re based in Miami now, which is where your development projects are. What are some new ones you’re proud of?
We just opened the SLS hotel with Philipe Starck. We’re delivering seven projects this year—three thousand units. Very exciting times. We have a big pipeline for the next five years. So many things.
Are you worried that, because of global warming, they might all be underwater someday?
Yeah, we’re obviously very conscious about global warming. We design most of our living spaces at a certain height so they won’t get affected. It’s not just global warming—it’s sea-level rise and hurricanes. As a global problem, we think mankind needs to find a solution. It’s not just Miami.
How has your work changed the city for the better?
We define ourselves as urban optimists. We believe in conserving the environment and putting people together, to stop sprawl. The only way to develop is up. Building one house next to another into oblivion is bad. We try to think of the ways we can make a lot of money, yes, but also how to give back to the city with urban spaces and art. Something to make the city proud.
What do you struggle with in your work?
Human management is always a challenge. I’m trying to learn every day to be better at it: delegating more, communicating better. It’s the most difficult part for me.
You’ve worked all over the world. Will you ever be done with Miami?
Miami is a perfect place because I don’t miss Argentina. I love the fact that I can have the same lifestyle as I would there but with the rule of law of the U.S. and the culture of effort that we have here. I’m not going anywhere.
Is it still a city on the rise or is it running out of steam?
Miami has tremendous potential. Look at the reputation it now has internationally. Culture is starting to sink into Miami, with its great weather and low taxes. People want to live here.
Are you worried about Trump’s proposed immigration reform?
The U.S. is a country that has grown based on immigration. Unless your name is Sitting Bull, no one is from here. We need to continue embracing immigration. Definitely there’s been a turn, but it will change back again. Life’s a marathon, you know? Keep running, baby.