OneWorld Properties President and CEO Peggy Fucci has overseen luxury condominium sales and marketing for some of the largest real estate companies in the United States. This edition of CEO Connect was held at the sales center for Paramount Miami Worldcenter, a 500-plus-unit condominium that will be the centerpiece of a 30-acre, $3 billion redevelopment in downtown Miami. OneWorld is also handling the sales and marketing of Paramount Fort Lauderdale Beach, a 90-unit luxury tower.
Fucci began her real estate career with WCI Communities, which at the time, was the largest publicly traded hospitality, residential and amenity developer in Florida, and she also worked with Turnberry. In 2008, she started OneWorld Properties with the goal of creating a new kind of brokerage firm that would deliver innovative ideas during a time when the real estate market was floundering. OneWorld became the preferred broker and consultant for many financial institutions, including TotalBank, BankUnited, SunTrust, Chase Bank and Green River Capital, among others. In 2010, Fucci and OneWorld Properties were selected by ST Residential to head the sales and marketing strategies for its nationwide portfolio.
Fucci was interviewed by Gary Press, chairman and CEO of SFBW and Lifestyle Media Group, before a live audience. The CEO Connect was presented by Greenspoon Marder Law and sponsored by TD Bank. The following transcript has been edited for clarity, continuity and brevity.
Thanks for hosting us here tonight. Tell us a bit about Paramount Miami Worldcenter and how it fits in to the urban renaissance in downtown Miami.
When you come into the sales center, you get a reaction that’s like, “Wow this is really different.” I remember the day we walked in here and it was a raw space. We said we had to build something that was Apple meets Chanel. And I think we accomplished that. Our 30 acres is the second-largest urban development project in the United States. It is bringing in what the city needs: not only our newly redesigned, high-street retail, but also a city within a city. You can walk from your home to a restaurant, a great theater, a Heat game, a concert… so many things to choose from.
Paramount is the crown jewel of Miami Worldcenter. We wanted to bring in something that lets you be as connected or disconnected as you want from the city. We have four open acres for you to utilize.
What are some of the most unique attributes about the condo building?
Our architect Michael Cohen [of Elkus Manfredi Architects] is here and our developer Dan Kodsi. We spent countless hours looking at floor plans, finishings and amenities. The amount of glass here is unique in Miami. The rooftop is curved. You have large restaurants and then down to 1,000 square feet. We also have large balconies – people like to integrate the outdoors with the inside space – we call them outdoor living rooms. Aside from the living experience in your unit, you also have all the amenities that are offered, from a soccer field to tennis courts.
It was recently announced that the mall associated with Worldcenter would change to a “high-street retail” orientation. What does that mean and does it make any difference to your buyers?
Originally, the concept was to have 750,000 square feet of retail in what a lot of people felt was a suburban type of environment. It did not fit the downtown Miami dynamics. We are looking into the future. Many of us have heard that bigger retailers like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are having tough times. Bringing in the high-end retail with open plazas and really integrating into the community was a fantastic move.
Some people said they were looking forward to an indoor mall because it’s hot in Miami. However, there will be techniques used to build shade and provide cooling mists. I think the change is extremely positive and our buyers are thrilled with that.
You are also involved in some projects in Brickell and the Paramount in Fort Lauderdale, tell us about those.
We have Brickell 10 with only two units left. We also have a property called Terrazas Miami on the river, which is almost a finished project; we still have 75 units left. Paramount Fort Lauderdale is 75 percent sold. It’s a very different dynamic than Miami. It’s a true buyer – people come two or three times and make a decision.
Can you give us an idea of the scope of OneWorld in terms of how it’s organized and where your staff is located.
Our business is really focused on catering to developers. Paramount is equivalent to five towers with the amount of inventory to sell. I have a team that works close to me – Sergio Mannarino, vice president of sales and operations, and Vivian Cepero, vice president of marketing. We have a Brickell office and a Fort Lauderdale office. My business is focused on development, so I don’t focus so much on general real estate sales.
Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you grow up and how did you get into real estate?
I’m originally Peruvian. I was born and raised in Lima and moved here when I was 17. I was told I had to be a banker, a lawyer or a doctor. I actually started in banking. One of my first jobs was at SunTrust Bank. I got into real estate because I was in the trust and estate division. I got statements of our international clients who had nice property in Miami and saw how much money they were making as brokers. My first listing was in Key Biscayne, a
$3.5 million house, around 2000.
How would you describe yourself? What are your powerful attributes and what are the things you strive to do better?
I’m a huge multitasker. I don’t sleep much – I think six hours is a lot. If I sleep more, I become groggy. I feel when I’m with our team that we have the same energy level. I look for a team that has the same values. I’m not afraid to serve the coffee or sweep the floor. I think you have to always keep the ability to be humble. Just like when you own a restaurant, if you don’t know how to cook, you might as well not have the restaurant.
Your position with ST Residential was very impressive: You have the FDIC involved with major big names, such as Starwood Capital, TPG Capital, WLR LeFrak and Perry Capital, coping with more than 100 properties from the Corus Bank portfolio. How did you get such a juicy opportunity?
Fortunately for me, somebody that was the chief restructuring officer from WCI Communities when they went bankrupt became the chief operating officer of that consortium. We launched 42 buildings. I started in Atlanta, then Dallas, Los Angeles and Hawaii and back home – every week for several years. We had a $3 billion portfolio to sell.
You spend a lot of time traveling – 16 international cities in 11 countries in your biography. How has that evolved and how do you balance doing that with managing the company?
I have an amazing team. It’s not possible to accomplish this on your own. I have a phenomenal right hand and left hand and we communicate very well. In our industry, you can be mobile and doing business from everywhere. It is a challenge, but it gives you a perspective on how to be innovative and be on a path that’s great for your company.
There’s a new government rule about Miami real estate and money laundering. Is that affecting real estate sales?
Everyone is going to start looking a lot closer. A lot of people already have their money here. I think the title companies are already taking measures to make sure they comply with this law. I think it’s very good for us and is healthy. We want transparency.
About our Sponsor:
Greenspoon Marder celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2016.
Founded in 1981 by current Co-Managing Directors, Gerald Greenspoon and Michael Marder, their vision, entrepreneurial drive and unwavering commitment to client service has resulted in an Am Law 200 firm of 160 attorneys serving clients from offices across Florida.
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Now celebrating its 35th anniversary, the firm offers an array of transactional, litigation and regulatory practices and is particularly known for its real estate, hospitality, land use and zoning and broad litigation capabilities. Its clients range from small, local, family-owned businesses and start-ups, to international public companies. The firm also represents a variety of local and state public entities.
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