Women in real estate “building neighborhoods:” panel

Kim Briesemeister, Avra Jain and Alicia Cervera Lamadrid
Kim Briesemeister, Avra Jain and Alicia Cervera Lamadrid

For Avra Jain, investing in real estate is more than finding the right building. It’s about identifying a neighborhood with a sense of history and a potentially bright future, The Vagabond Group principal told a group of more than two dozen real estate professionals gathered Friday for a luncheon and conversation about women in real estate.

“When I go in, I’m not finding buildings,” Jain said. “I’m finding neighborhoods. I am not a pioneer. I like to be just ahead of the curve because if things go wrong or go bad, I am not as exposed.”

Jain joined Kim Briesemeister, co-owner of Redevelopment Management Associates and Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner of Cervera Real Estate, at the panel hosted by University of Miami and the Master of Real Estate Development + Urbanism (MRED+U) program in the School of Architecture. The event was held at Ted’s Place inside the National YoungArts Foundation headquarters at 2100 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.

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Jain spoke at length about her most recent project, the Miami River Inn, a historic hotel considered the first to open in the city during the early 1900s that the developer purchased last year for $8.6 million. She renamed the property the River Inn Miami, and recently reopened it as Roam Miami following extensive renovations and a deal with Roam, a start-up company that is developing a network of “co-living” properties across the globe that will manage the former boarding house and hostel.

“This [inn] is like time in a bottle,” Jain said. “We have taken the old and made it relevant again.”

Jain told attendees that Roam executives approached her nine months ago when the inn’s restoration project was still in its infancy. “They wanted Miami to be their first city in the country,” she said. “I loved it. I bought into the idea of co-living.”

Unlike a timeshare, Roam users pay an $1,800 a month flat fee to stay at any of the company’s co-living locations across the globe, Jain explained. The first two to open are in Bali and Miami. “The idea is that you can work and live from anywhere,” she said. “All you need is a suitcase and a laptop. It’s an interesting fit for this hotel.”