Construction heavy hitters form new Miami firm: NV2A Group

Gilberto Neves, left and Jesus Vazquez, right
Gilberto Neves, left and Jesus Vazquez, right

Aiming to capitalize on the surge in South Florida commercial development, a group of construction industry heavy hitters has started a new Miami firm: NV2A Group.

The four partners are Agustin Arellano, the former founder and chairman of OHL-Arellano Construction Co.; Gilberto Neves, previously president & CEO of Odebrecht USA; Jesus R. Vazquez, the former chief operating officer of Facchina Construction; and Agustin Arellano Jr., previously chief financial officer of OHL-Arellano.

Neves and Agustin Arellano said they plan to leverage their experience and client contacts to focus on public infrastructure, healthcare, universities, hotels and office buildings. They are currently negotiating with their first client: the private developer of a $100 million office building in Aventura, which they declined to name. Other future clients include the Florida Department of Transportation and Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, Neves told The Real Deal.

The firm has leased 5,000 square feet at the Datran Center at 9100 South Dadeland Boulevard and expects to expand, he said. At NV2A, Agustin serves as chairman, Neves as CEO, Vazquez as COO and Agustin Jr. as CFO. “The model is not to have a huge office because we will use a modern way of doing business  outsource a lot of the back office so we focus on the core business, the clients and the projects,” Neves said.

While their combined experience spans 150 years with more than 400 public projects valued at nearly $7 billion and private sector work valued at $1.5 billion, they said they rarely competed. “Occasionally we ran against each other, but it was the exception rather than the rule,” Arellano told TRD.

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“The beautiful thing about this partnership is we specialize in different aspects of the construction industry,” he said.

Among Neves’ previous high profile projects at Odebrecht USA: Miami International Airport, Metrorail, the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the American Airlines Arena and Florida International University’s stadium, the latter which was a project all four partners shared. Odebrecht also had won the bid for Airport City, a $512 million commercial project to be built on public land near Miami International Airport that the county killed in late 2014.

Arellano, who sold the firm he created at age 24 to a Spanish company in 2008 and stayed on until recently, said he “missed being in charge of my own future.” His background includes working on healthcare facilities for Baptist Health and the University of Miami, among other projects, while Vazquez has focused on residential and commercial high-rises.

Commercial construction is still booming in South Florida, with no sign of a slowdown, in contrast with the sluggish condo sales market, the partners said. From January to May, developers spent $1.36 billion on nonresidential contracts, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. And in 2015, South Florida ranked second nationwide, after New York, for total construction spending, with $6.3 billions, Dodge Data shows.

“We’re purposely focusing in sectors and clients that have good financial backing and reputation and good track record,” Neves told TRD.