Related Aims to Become Brazil’s Biggest Developer, Plans $1B Investment

Related Group and Related Cos. have officially launched Related Brasil, naming Daniel Citron -- former head of Tishman Speyer in Brazil -- as CEO. The firm plans to invest $1 billion in residential and commercial real estate.

With Brazilian investors having become the second largest buyer demographic in Florida (surpassed only by Canadians), Miami’s “condo king” Jorge Pérez and business partner Stephen Ross are now shifting interest to Brazil as part of a $1 billion investment in both residential and commercial real estate. The goal is that of delivering the luxury developments that the foreign investors are seeking on U.S. soil straight to their own land.

Related Group and Related Cos., led by the two developers, have officially launched Related Brasil, naming Daniel Citron — former head of Tishman Speyer in Brazil — as CEO.

The Brazilian unit will focus on the upscale and mid-income segments and is currently seeking to buy land to carry out residential, commercial, tourism and urban-development projects. The first projects will be launched within the next three months and will call for an investment of $120 million, from a total of $1 billion that the company plans to invest in Brazil over the next three years.

While the companies currently have some projects underway in Mexico, Colombia and Uruguay, they now plan on targeting Brazil as the country is known to be Latin America’s strongest economy. Going against big local builders such as PDG Realty, Cyrela Brazil Realty and Gafisa, Related Brasil will rely on partnerships to expand geographically, as the company will not have its own engineering arm.

After carefully studying the local market, both Pérez and Ross believe that Brazil is the country with the best growth perspectives for the next 20 to 30 years, comparing it to the U.S. back when they first started out in the late 1970s.  “It is easier to enter markets where prices haven’t risen too much and where there is more available land,” Citron said.

In an official statement, Related Group and Related Cos. called themselves the first U.S. developers with local Brazilian operations and stated that they will look for opportunities primarily in the northeastern region, whose economy is growing twice as fast as the nation’s overall.

Related Group and Related Cos, which grew bigger by building and operating low-income multifamily apartments in Miami in the 1980s, have about $20 billion worth of projects in their home market. The Related Group, founded by Pérez M. Perez in 1979, has built and managed more than 80,000 condominium and apartment residences since its inception in major markets throughout Florida, including landmark projects such as Icon Brickell.