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MV Group

The Billionaires’ Builder Manny Angelo Varas Builds Without Boundaries

MV Group's Manny Angelo Varas
MV Group's Manny Angelo Varas

These dream homes are worth more than the sum of their parts. Manny Angelo Varas’s MV Group has constructed its reputation on being able to deliver luxury homes that create value while embodying the limitless lifestyles of their owners. When TRD spoke with the MV Group President and CEO last year, we covered his company’s track record of delivering on the value side; this time, Varas gave us an inside look at the design process itself, showing us how he and his team break down boundaries to build one-of-a-kind, generational homes for their clients while creating value along the way.

A Design Process Without Boundaries

Due to the incredibly involved nature of MV Group’s process, Varas has established his ultra-exclusive clientele through mutual selection rather than bidding on projects. Varas’s expertise is in high demand; his acceptance rate is about 10% of the projects that come through his door, and currently has a year-long waitlist for new projects with a backlog exceeding $100 million in work.

“It has to be the right match,” he explains. “We’re the experts in materializing their vision, so the client needs to want a builder who will lead this process.”

MV Group’s pre-construction process typically begins before the lot has even been selected. Varas guides the process with the client’s vision in mind from the very beginning, leveraging his expertise and collaborates with the top real estate agents to confirm the site meets the building, zoning, and design criteria to execute the overall vision of the intended project in the perfect location.

360 S. Hibiscus Drive in Miami Beach, currently under construction by MV group 

“During the pre-construction phase, I’m the owner’s representative,” says Varas. “I look at every property as if I’m purchasing it myself, as if I’m going to live there.” 

By taking this holistic approach, Varas ensures that his clients end up with a house that fits their lifestyle, whether that means renovating an existing property, building on an undeveloped lot, or tearing down and replacing an existing home, all with terminal value always in mind. Sometimes this means that Varas advises clients to find an existing home to renovate rather than going through the time and expense of building from the ground up. Each client requires something unique, and Varas is an expert at assessing their needs and recommending the ideal solution.

On the other end of the spectrum, when Varas can’t find the right lot to bring a client’s vision to life, he creates it. He told us about a client in Coconut Grove who wanted a waterfront home designed to entertain guests; when Varas couldn’t find an existing property that was large enough, he helped the client assemble two neighboring lots to create a compound complete with an extra-large dock and separate guesthouse. When another client wanted both a waterfront home and a garage for their collection of automobiles, Varas got resourceful and creative, steering the client to acquire a landlocked lot across the street to house the client’s “man cave.”

“We’re building for billionaires and ultra-wealthy families. I think it’s appreciated that we understand there’s no limit to what can be accomplished,” says Varas. “What we really bring to the table is still being financially conscious throughout the process and aware of the end result we’re going to achieve.”

Assembling a Bespoke Creative Team

Once the lot or home is acquired by the client, Varas mines his extensive network of designers to put together the perfect collection of talent to bring the client’s vision to life. 

“We constantly interact with and meet architects and designers from around the world,” says Varas. “So we understand what someone is good at, what their specialty is, so when a client wants to capture that specific look we bring an expert in.” 

Casa Costanera, 440 Costanera Road in Cocoplum, Coral Gables 

The resulting team often spans the globe, uniting architects, designers, lighting experts and landscapers from Belgium to Kyoto to create a single home that makes a client’s dreams a reality. Varas explains that MV Group stays away from designers and architects who claim to be able to “do everything,” preferring to work with experts who have distinct styles and can bring the very best to a specific element of a project.

“Right now we’re working with a designer who has a flair for Moroccan themes,” relates Varas. “They’re very passionate about movements within those palettes, and they’re able to capture the specific style that the client is looking for.” 

Another client wanted his home to capture the movement of water throughout the entire property. Varas tapped legendary architect Kobi Karp, who designed a home featuring a living wall, multiple water features including an interior/exterior Koi pond, and a number of other elements that embodied the client’s desired aesthetic. 

1716 S. Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove, currently under construction by MV Group

“We had a client who said he loved a celebrity’s home that he saw in Architectural Digest,” recalls Varas. “I happen to know the designer of that home, so we had her fly in from Australia and sit down with the client. That’s what I mean when I say there’s no limit.”

MV Group will go to extraordinary lengths to bring a client’s vision to life while keeping the property’s ultimate value in mind. For example, MV Group designed and built the first flat roof home in Coral Gables, which required a public hearing due to the city’s codes. The resulting home broke records with its $2,500/square foot price.

The Quarterback

Throughout the building process, from creating a Pinterest board based on a client’s taste to the last phases of construction, MV Group and Varas function as the quarterback, directing all of the team members to create a home that stands apart from its surroundings both in terms of design and value. Sometimes this means pushing back against a client’s instincts.

“We’re here to protect them from themselves,” explains Varas. “Sometimes we have to have an uncomfortable, honest conversation with a client whose design choice might not fit with a community or property. We give them options to get them aligned on the right track.”

From finding the right lot to assembling a team of designers from around the world to executing construction to an exacting standard of quality, Varas ensures that all of his projects create value for the client.

37 Star Island

MV Group is currently building projects for several owners of professional sports franchises in the NFL and NBA. Other high-profile clients include  rapper Rick Ross, who purchased a property on Star Island for $35 million. “He’s spending over $20 million completely remaking the house,” says Varas. “We’re working with him on each design component to create what will ultimately be a $100 million residence. When you truly capture design, you create incredible terminal value on a property.”

If you’re in the market for creating a generational property, reach out to Varas today.