By Eric Kalis
The experience of navigating through the devastating real estate market collapse of the last decade and the past few years' revival has defined the careers of many in South Florida's real estate industry, particularly those relatively new to the business. The Real Deal talked to dozens of local real estate experts to get a sense of who in the 35-and-under crowd is flourishing in a reinvented industry. Several of the names that emerged, including Jon Paul Perez, Daniel de la Vega and Raymond Fort, represent the next generation of prominent South Florida real estate families who are carving their own paths within the family business. Others, like Liliana Gomez, relocated to the area to pursue new opportunities and found their own paths. Read on to learn more about what makes these industry leaders standout.
Alexandra Lehson knew she would end up going to law school from the time she was a teenager. But unlike many prospective attorneys, who fantasize about winning over juries with passionate closing statements, Lehson had little interest in litigation.
"For me the most exciting part of working on deals is making it happen," she said. "I love the fact that with real estate there are visible, tangible results. I can point to the Miami skyline and pick out deals we handled."
She graduated in 2007 from the University of Florida's law school and began a three year stint in the Miami office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. A first year spent primarily handling loan originations gave way to the financial collapse.
"The recession hitting one year into my career was one of the best things to happen to me," Lehson said. "I got some of the best training possible in knowing how to draft documents, then spend years picking them apart during workouts. I learned the things you have to pay attention to particularly as the market heated up and we did more loans and transactions."
Lehson joined the prominent law firm Bilzin Sumberg as an associate in 2010. She has worked on numerous significant and complex transactions, including July's sale of a long -term ground lease for the Bahia Mar Resort and Marina in Fort Lauderdale, and a $75 million development and construction loan for the Flagler Station business park in June.
When she's not hammering out intricate transactions, Lehson volunteers as a co-chair of the Social Action Network of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. "Hands-on volunteering puts everything in perspective for me," she said.
This article was first published in The Real Deal October 2014 Issue.