Stephen M. Ross, Kenneth A. Himmel and Gopal Rajegowda

Stephen Ross, Gopal Rajegowda, and Ken Himmel.

Stephen Ross, Kenneth Himmel and Gopal Rajegowda

Chairman and founder of Related Companies; president and CEO of Related Urban; partner of Related Southeast at Related Companies

Stephen M. Ross, Kenneth A. Himmel and Gopal Rajegowda
By February 18, 2024 6:03 PM

Related Companies has all the bases of building a South Florida community covered: condo, multifamily, office and retail. And while 2023 was not the year anyone in real estate hoped for — “It was certainly not an easy year seeing what happened economically,” noted Related Southeast partner Gopal Rajegowda — the master developer has continued to build, to lease, and to buy.

In terms of buying, there was 1355 South Flagler Drive, the waterfront site for which Related plunked down $194.6 million and where architectural legend Robert A.M. Stern is designing a gleaming pair of luxury condominiums. The Stern name has already worked its magic. “A lot of these buyers are coming out of New York and Boston,” Related Urban president and CEO Kenneth Himmel said. “We’re off to a pretty good start with presales.”

At 575 Rosemary, aka The Laurel, the company is unveiling 323 luxury rentals, along with an office component, opening this spring.

Related has also taken the reins with perhaps the thorniest of asset classes with One Flagler, a David Childs-designed 270,000-square-foot Class A office building that is 70 percent preleased. And the office that they already brought to market has done exceptionally well: 360 Rosemary is 100 percent leased.

“We assembled another seven sites in West Palm Beach,” said Himmel. We’re going long on office, we’re already dominant in retail, in restaurants, we submitted [plans for a] 400-room convention hotel.

“The better part of our week, we’re thinking, ‘What’s needed to make this city come to life?’ For an all-inclusive approach to growth. For that to happen we need a great university, more great schools — private, charter and public — and a great hospital.” 

They are not sitting by and waiting for a miracle. A “major university” will be opening a satellite campus “in the next three to six months,” Himmel said, which in its first phase will have space for 1,000 graduate students. Related’s also in talks with two contenders for a $500 million teaching hospital, and has been in talks with a well-known Boca Raton institution for a K-12 private school.

There is a whole other side of Related that was active over the course of the last year: its affordable housing business. It picked up properties such as Federation Plaza Apartments for $29.7 million in the fall, and shelled out $48 million for the Sorrento affordable housing complex in Miramar.