Women making waves in Miami CRE
CREW Miami president says number of women in commercial real estate has doubled
January 02, 2015 03:45PM
By Donna Airoldi
Avra Jain, Investor/Developer and former Wall Streeter
Avra Jain has been credited with reviving the stretch of Biscayne Boulevard along Miami’s Upper East Side (sometimes dubbed MiMo, for Miami Modern), between 50th and 77th streets by revamping several iconic and historic motels. The 1953-built Vagabond — designed by B. Robert Swartburg, also responsible for Delano — was the first, reopening in August to rave reviews. Additional properties in the works: The Royal (1951), which will be renamed Knoxon Motel; the Bayside Motor Inn; Stephen’s International Motel; and the South Pacific Motel (1953). Beyond motels, Jain also is investing in office buildings, retail spaces, and restaurants and bars, including the recently reopened Magnum Lounge piano bar.
Donna Abood, principal, Avison Young
Lori Hartglass, Partner, Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Lori Hartglass received the CREW Lifetime Achievement Award in July of 2014. She is the founding president of CREW Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beach (now known as CREW Fort Lauderdale/Boca Raton) and a past president of CREW Miami. In 2013, Hartglass helped secure a $214 million construction loan to build the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach — the largest condo loan at the time for the southeast since the real estate collapse and recession. The Daily Business Review named Hartglass a 2014 “Top Dealmaker of the Year” in the Real Estate Finance category.
Tere Blanca, President and CEO, Blanca Commercial Real Estate
Tere Blanca founded her company in 2009 in the midst of the collapsed economy and real estate market. Despite these challenges, she has since closed on more than $1 billion in commercial deals. Business continues to boom: Blanca CRE has 24 office listings and represented law firm Akerman LLP this fall in signing on as the lead office tenant at Brickell City Centre. And the firm was tapped by All Aboard Florida to be its exclusive leasing agent for nearly 800,000 square feet of office space. In the Florida real estate business for 25 years, Blanca holds various board positions and honors, including being named a 2013 “Women of Influence: Legends” by the Real Estate Forum and a “Top 25 Women in Real Estate” by Commercial Property Executive. She also joined the board of BankUnited, which lends to commercial developers.
Vanessa Grout, President, CMC Real Estate LLC
Vanessa Grout made news this year when developer Ugo Colombo lured her to CMC to oversee sales and marketing. Prior to the move, she was CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida from 2010 to 2013, where she opened nine offices and grew revenue 400 percent. During her tenure, Elliman represented bulk buys at the St. Regis Bal Harbour and Midtown Miami, and secured exclusive marketing and sales work for new developments, including Alan Faena’s Faena House and Ian Schrager’s The Residences at Miami Beach Edition. The Urban Land Institute named Grout 2013 Young Leader of the Year, and she made the South Florida Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list in 2012.
Suzanne M. Amaducci-Adams, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg, Attorneys at Law
Miami is one of the leading hotel markets in the country, and Bilzin Sumberg partner Suzanne M. Amaducci-Adams heads the firm’s hospitality group, restructuring more than $6 billion of debt secured by hotels. In 2014, the South Florida Business Journal named her as one of the “Power Leaders in Commercial Real Estate.” She is a past-president of CREW Miami and co-chaired the 2014 national CREW Network Convention and Marketplace held this fall in Miami.
Mary Jo Eaton, Executive Managing Director Florida, CBRE
Mary Jo Eaton holds one of the top jobs in commercial real estate. She took the Florida reins of the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm nearly four years ago and leads a team of more than 900 professionals in eight offices across the state. Eaton made the Commonwealth Institute list of Top 50 Women-Led Business Leaders in Florida in 2014 as well as the South Florida Business Journal’s 100 Power Leaders in 2012 and 2013; she also was honored by IREM as a Woman Changing the World of Real Estate. Management in 2013.
Commercial real estate has historically been a man’s game, but women have made significant inroads in recent years — not just in sales, leasing and development, but also in other disciplines that comprise the field, including finance, legal, development, insurance and engineering.
“We’re finding that there are so many more women coming into this type of career than there were five years ago. A lot more. I can safely say it’s doubled,” said Karyl Argamasilla, president of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Miami and an attorney in Bilzin Sumberg’s real estate group.
CREW Miami offers a mentoring program with education partners the University of Miami and Florida International University in which members talk to students in all real estate-related disciplines (e.g., MBA, law, architecture). Argamasilla noted that “when we started five years ago, it was always men. There may have been one or two women in the audience, and they would really stand out. But now it’s more like half and half.” Scroll through The Real Deal’s slideshow to learn about the women who made waves in the Miami commercial real estate arena in 2014.
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