Jorge Pérez on building golf courses in Cuba with Trump, stepping down as president and more

"We had talked about going to Cuba to build golf courses and, all of a sudden, he’s anti-Cuba?" Pérez said of the president

Jorge Perez
Jorge Perez

UPDATED, Feb. 13, 10:48 a.m.: Miami’s condo king Jorge Pérez revealed he once discussed building in Cuba with President Trump, offered his timeline for stepping down as CEO of the Related Group, and talked about the influx of buyers from the Northeast and more.

Pérez, chairman, founder, CEO and president of Related, said he plans to step down as president of the Miami-based firm in a year or two, but will stay on as chairman. His son, Jon Paul, a vice president, would become president, he told the Commercial Observer.

Pérez has been candid about his former friendship with Trump, adding that Trump’s views pre-presidency and today “don’t compute.”

“I mean he was a guy that was just not political at all. So as a matter of fact, we had talked about going to Cuba to build golf courses and, all of a sudden, he’s anti-Cuba? Trump was an internationalist,” he said.

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The Miami developer also acknowledged the slowdown in condo sales, due in large part to a decline in Latin American buyers, but said that some areas of South Florida remain strong: Fort Lauderdale on the water, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton.

Meanwhile, buyers from the Northeastern U.S., attracted to Florida from a tax perspective,  are increasing. But it’s not making up for the drop in foreign investment, he said.

Related has pivoted to developing rental projects in South Florida and beyond. Last month, Related announced plans for a 47-story luxury rental tower with 311 units in downtown Fort Lauderdale. [CO]  – Katherine Kallergis

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Pérez will step down as CEO.