Past the pandemic: Rockefeller family pitches global luxury development projects

SixRock Group, whose principal is a grandson of Nelson Rockefeller, wants to build branded resorts, golf courses and residences in the U.S., the Middle East and China

National /
Apr.April 29, 2020 05:00 PM
From left: Steven Rockefeller Jr., Wayne Morrison, and Florian Haffa

From left: Steven Rockefeller Jr. and Wayne Morrison, of SixRock Group; Florian Haffa of Brands Lab

It may seem like a bad time to pitch a series of luxury lifestyle development projects around the world.

But SixRock Group — a Rockefeller family-led real estate services firm — believes the global coronavirus crisis has created opportunity for low-cost land and construction deals. It has partnered with Miami-based Brands Lab International to make a push into high-end, branded real estate, The Real Deal has learned.

SixRock Group, whose principals include Steven Rockefeller Jr. and his son Christian Rockefeller, and Brands Lab are looking to enlist investors and developers to build golf courses, resorts, residences, and mixed-use developments. Their target is global: the U.S., Europe, the Carribean, the Middle East, Vietnam, and eventually China, said SixRock CEO Wayne Morrison.

Rockefeller Jr., grandson of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is also chairman and CEO of Rose Rock Group.

Morrison would not disclose estimated development costs or interested investors, but in 2014, Rose Rock — at the time an alternative investment management firm — planned a $2.5 billion residential and hotel development in Vietnam. Morrison, who was affiliated with Rose Rock at the time, said that project “never got off the ground,” but that SixRock is now pursuing coastal developments there.

Morrison said the partners are looking past the coronavirus crisis. “We want to be ready for any opportunity that comes,” he said, to be “ideally set up for when things do come back. If it was a building boom, we would be fighting for resources or labor.”

In the U.S., SixRock is considering a project in North Carolina and focusing on the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, including Florida.

Morrison said due to the golf course glut in the U.S., golf would be incorporated into a health and wellness resort project. SixRock plans to use wellness standards from New York startup Delos and focus on energy-efficient projects. Steven Rockefeller III — a son of Steven Rockefeller Jr., — is a Delos stakeholder. The company sells a “Well” certification that developers, employers and hotel operators can publicly display in their lobbies and promotional materials.

Morrison and Rockefeller Jr. are on the board of advisers for Bobby Jones Links, an Atlanta-based golf and country club management company. They have consulted on the design and development of a number of courses, including the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club restoration on Long Island.

Brands Lab International, led by CEO Florian Haffa, is also working with Diesel in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood to build a branded condo building and working with the Martha Stewart brand to develop projects across the country.


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