One of the things I love about my day job as Editor-in-Chief of Ocean Home magazine is getting to interview a wide variety of ocean-centric movers and shakers who are committed to making a positive difference in the world. But I must admit, it was extremely early in the morning when I met with one of Miami’s youngest, and arguably the most influential real estate developer recently. We didn’t watch the sunrise in his office overlooking one of his signature projects—dual twisting glass towers designed by Bjarke Ingels—that have invigorated the skyline of Coconut Grove. But it was pretty close!
Then again, the 40-year-old Terra founder and CEO David Martin’s time is extremely valuable. In fact, he’d flown in only several hours before and I was just the first of many meetings he had on his schedule that day. And the gleam in his eye when he started to explain his development philosophy and overall vision for Miami and South Florida only confirmed what I’d already surmised. Martin is way more than just a “developer.” He’s a bright, thoughtful, hard-working, connected, and community-minded visionary who’s hoping to shape the future of sustainable living in South Florida.
He explained that he’s always working on multiple projects but that he’s particularly excited about Eighty Seven Park. The tower is Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano’s first residential project in the US and is currently under construction on Miami Beach’s North Beach.
The exclusive building features 66 residences, amazing views on every level, large open floor plans, and hotel amenities. The interior design is by RDAI in Paris, known for their work with Hermès and the landscape is designed by West 8, famous for their transformation of Governor’s Island in New York. And after visiting the site—located on a prime stretch of beach that’s even more private thanks to an adjacent 35-acre waterfront park—you hardly need to be a fortune teller to say it might just be the hottest new residential building on the beach when it’s completed in 2019.
Our discussion then shifted to complicated topics like rising sea levels and real estate market fluctuations. “The Terra business model is built on understanding both neighborhood and the customer connections as well as the complicated environmental situation that we face here in Miami so we can be resilient to market fluctuations, he said. “This means staying diverse in terms of the services we offer, the projects we build, and the places we develop. This differs greatly from many real estate firms in Miami.
We also touched on subjects that were obviously close to David’s heart such as being the child of Cuban immigrants and building his firm up from one employee. He also talked about building a legacy for his kids and how his love of family and community drives everything he does. “Aside from running a successful and responsible company, my wife and I value shaping a safer, healthier, and more culturally engaged Miami for our children,” he says.
In fact, David and his wife Christy are active members and supporters of Miami’s philanthropic community and are seated on a number of committees and boards including Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Wolfsonian/FIU, Perez Art Museum Miami, City of Miami Sea Level Rise Committee and the Urban Land Institute, Miami Children’s Health Foundation, American Cancer Society, and Vizcaya Museums and Gardens.
So, if you’re looking for some of the most innovative, exclusive, community-based, and environmentally advanced residential properties in South Florida, keep your eye on David Martin. He’s a man on a mission.