/Real Estate Developer Craig Robins on His Business and Design Miami – Robb Report

Real Estate Developer Craig Robins on His Business and Design Miami – Robb Report

It’s no secret that Miami is heating up. The balmy southern city is one of the hottest markets in the U.S.—Miami Dade’s government website says the city is projected to increase to over 3 million people from the 2.4 million estimated in 2005. Much of its recent boom is due in part to Covid migrations, as well as the allure of the weather and beaches and, of course, because Florida collects no state income tax. It has become an increasingly important business hub, too, with billionaire titans such as Carl Icahn and Orlando Bravo moving their operations there. But much of its development is thanks to its reigning king of real estate, Craig Robins. He was integral to the revitalization of South Beach in the late 1980s and ’90s before turning his attention toward the city’s downtown neighborhood by introducing a sleek luxury-shopping hub, the Miami Design District, in 2005. It spans 18 blocks and is home to an array of high-end boutiques, from Louis Vuitton to Van Cleef & Arpels. Most recently, his real estate-development company, Dacra, has submitted plans for a swanky 20-story apartment building at the southern end of that same area. 

But when he’s not busy transforming Miami’s skyline, he’s either traveling to remote locales for kayaking or tending to his considerable art collection of over 1,000 pieces. With Art Basel Miami Beach in full swing this month, expect him to be in attendance at many of the parties dotted across the city. Here, he gives us an inside look at what gets his attention these days. 

What have you done recently for the first time? 

Jumping from rock to rock wearing flip-flops in the Grand Canyon. 

What apps do you use the most? 

Definitely Reminders and also Audible, Kindle, Instagram, Voice Memos, and Komoot

What advice do you wish you’d followed? 

When I started in business, I was always anxious and intense. My dad said, “You gotta calm down.” And I said, “I can’t. I’ll calm down when I get this, this, and this done.” And he replied, “As soon as you get those three things done, there will be three more things.” Eventually I followed it, but it took a while. 

Craig Robins photographed in his Miami office

Craig Robins photographed in his Miami office

Devin Christopher

What in your wardrobe do you wear most often? 

I have a collection of unique T-shirts by Urs Fischer

How do you find calm? 

I read quite a bit. And being in nature—I really like camping. I love to be disconnected off the grid.

What’s your favorite cocktail, and how do you make it? 

When I drink, I usually will just have a beer. I don’t drink much. I really like natural coconut water from the coconuts in our garden. 

Who is your guru? 

There are lots of different people who’ve had important influence on me. My wife is my guru. She has this incredible capability to run a business, be a mom, be a wife, and lead her family. In a sense of finding a sense of myself, Adin Steinsaltz. In business: my father, Chris Blackwell, and Tony Goldman. In art, it’s Jack Tilton and Jeffrey Deitch

What’s the most recent thing you’ve added to your collection? 

I recently acquired a painting by German artist Jana Euler and an amazing work by Bisa Butler. Bisa does these amazing figurative works that are almost like a tapestry form of creativity. And Jana has this incredible painting technique—the most recent one I acquired is like a cityscape upside down. I try to find artists that I want to collect in depth. 

a Tide chandelier by Stuart Haygarth

A Tide chandelier by Stuart Haygarth

Devin Christopher

Who is your dealer, and what do they source for you? 

For many years, I worked with Jack Tilton, till he passed away. Now I work with Jeffrey [Deitch] on my art collection. For furniture design, I source it through Design Miami. It’s this amazing moment where the best collectible design in the world comes together. 

 a rocking chair by Maarten Baas

A rocking chair by Maarten Baas

Devin Christopher

What does success look like to you? 

When I’m having a really profound connection, the sense that what I’m doing has real meaning. 

Where do you get your clothes? 

I do all my shopping—this will probably surprise you—in the Miami Design District. There’s Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Tom Ford, but I also like the smaller, more creative brands, such as Rick Owens. I’m extremely excited to see the new collection by Pharrell for Louis Vuitton. I think it will be a transcendent moment in men’s fashion. 

What’s your favorite hotel? 

The Cheval Blanc in Paris. When Pharrell did his first Louis Vuitton show on Pont Neuf, where the hotel is, we had a room right on the corner. So for the last song that Jay-Z performed, I went up to our room and waved to my children, who were still at the concert. 

Who do you admire most, and why? 

Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton for science, who are transcendent people over such long periods of time. In art, it’s that period of modernism with Picasso and Duchamp. In business, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. In general, people who really change the world. 

Andy Warhol, Portraits of Carol Soffer

Andy Warhol, Portraits of Carol Soffer

Devin Christopher

What are the cars you are most attached to? 

I really think that the best cars in the world right now are Teslas, their E vehicles. I got my first Tesla in 2013, their Model S. Six years later, I traded it in for the Model 3. 

What’s worth paying for? 


Zaha Hadid’s Z-Car I

Zaha Hadid’s Z-Car I

Devin Christopher

Do you still write letters? 

Not too long ago, I actually did something I hadn’t done in years. I wrote a five-page handwritten letter. There’s a family member that was very close to me, and I wanted her to know how much I cared about her. 

What music makes you happy? 

Classic rock like the Rolling Stones. As a more contemporary band, I like U2.

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