Persistence is one of the keys to success.
Occupation: Managing principal of Miami Worldcenter Associates and managing director of Encore Housing Opportunity Fund
Lives in: Coral Gables
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Family Status: Married with two sons
His current project may be controversial in some circles, but there’s no disputing that Nitin Motawi is one of South Florida’s most persistent real estate investors.
After spending a decade assembling land north of downtown Miami and losing pieces of it during the recession, Motwani and his partner are finally moving forward with the massive Miami Worldcenter. The planned mixed-use project is located west of downtown, stretching from Northeast Sixth to Eleventh streets, and from North Miami Avenue to Northeast Second Avenue. Its first phase covers 27 acres and is estimated to cost $2 billion.
The sheer size of what Motwani proposes, along with the partnerships he has formed to get it done, promises to put him in the limelight for years to come as the development’s public face. Motwani is responsible for every facet of the project, including land acquisition, zoning and entitlements, financing (public and private), joint ventures and development planning.
“It’s an exciting project in a transformative city,” Motwani said. “As Miami evolved, so did our vision. It’s not easy to get done, but it will make a huge difference.”
Motwani’s community initiatives have included space and buildout for Venture Hive, a hub for start-ups in downtown Miami that has been used by tech entrepreneurs from 23 countries.
His support of start-ups and his passion for transformation through real estate development comes from his upbringing. A longtime South Floridian whose family operated numerous motels in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Motwani saw firsthand his mother’s enthusiasm and pride in helping to transform the post-Spring Break beachfront.
In a unique way, Motwani has gone back to his base. On the site of the former Howard Johnson hotel, Motwani’s Encore Housing Opportunity Fund is developing a $100 million-plus condo called Paramount Fort Lauderdale Beach. It will be the first oceanfront luxury condo community to be built in Fort Lauderdale since the housing crash, with 95 units starting at $1 million each. Construction is scheduled to begin next month.
Beyond his business, Motwani is on the board of the Miami Downtown Development Authority, where he chairs both the economic development and marketing committees. He also sits on the board of advisors for the University of Miami’s Real Estate program.
From Motwani: “My company [Encore] is developing across the country, but there is not a more exciting project in a more exciting market than this one in Miami.”
About Motwani: “I have great respect for people like Nitin Motwani who take risks. I am not aware of too many people who could have persisted for so many years with such a complex project. It takes a special person to stay focused, be persistent and get things done.” — Ezra Katz, CEO and founder of Miami’s Aztec Group