Miami’s Condo King Opens Office in Dallas to Develop Apartments

(Bloomberg) -- Jorge Perez’s Related Group has opened an office in Dallas to explore opportunities for developing apartments in the U.S. Southwest, a new direction for the billionaire who’s known as Miami’s Condo King.

The company hired Kevin Wisdom, previously an executive at Austin, Texas-based builder Aspen Heights Partners, to run the office as senior vice president of development. Wisdom will also evaluate investments in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and major Texas markets.

“It’s rental in the beginning, but if there’s any condominium opportunities there, we will also exploit those,” Perez said in an interview.

Perez, who made his name developing Florida condos and recently expanded into such markets as Mexico and Argentina, said his company has never been more diversified. He’s also become more conservative in his use of debt since he got burned in the U.S. real estate crash.

Related Group generally targets areas where average rents justify building costs and where employment growth is outpacing housing production. Markets in the Southwest meet those criteria, according to Perez. He said the company once had a foothold in Texas but pulled because he thought, “wrongfully so, that Texas was way overbuilt.” The region’s growth now is such that he wishes he had never left.

“It’s a big state, very big state, and it’s done very, very well in the last decade,” Perez said.

Another of the Miami tycoon’s claims to fame is his relationship with President Donald Trump, who also made a fortune in real estate and wrote the introduction to Perez’s 2008 book, “Powerhouse Principles.” Perez, an outspoken supporter of Democrats, said the two haven’t spoken in months.

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