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New Member Spotlight: Avra Jain/ Vagabond Hotel

Avra Jain

One of our new members, is a Miami real estate developer who owns the Vagabond Hotel.

What is your business?
I am a real estate developer in the Miami market. I specialize in identifying new neighborhoods and new opportunities that are transitional for adaptive reuse or existing space for new tenant use.

I stay pretty close to the urban core but focus on areas that have added value. I live for the opportunity to repurpose the old into new use such as old office spaces, warehouses or like the old dilapidated Vagabond Hotel and bring them back to life. I look past the buying opportunity to how the community can benefit as well.

The fact that I live here, gives me an edge on locating a lot of the gems. I take the opportunity go around the neighborhoods and inquire about the wants and needs of the people. I speak to people who are displaced, and I base a lot of my decision making on their needs and desires.

I’m focused mainly on commercial properties, which include office, retail and light industrial. I also do some multiple family housing. The multi-family housing is created based on the ecosystem to create affordable housing for the employees of the clients I work for.

Where are you from?
I was born in California but grew up in the Midwest. I lived in New York for fifteen years out of college and moved to Miami in 2000

If not Miami, why/how did you come to Miami?
The cost to purchase real estate is more affordable than New York and, of course, the weather is amazing!

What is your professional/business history?
My hobby has become my second career.

I have an engineering degree from Purdue University. When I went to New York City, I worked on Wall Street where I focused on a niche market in Wall Street on federal reserve policies. The funny thing is I know absolutely nothing about stocks because Wall Street in itself is a niche market. While living in New York City, real estate became my hobby.

It started off with my apartment, one property, and that turned into two and so on with friends of mine who worked on Wall Street. I left Wall Street in the 90’s to pursue real estate full time. I had the opportunity do my first 100,000 square foot warehouse in North Tribeca and I never looked back.

What makes your business successful/unique? Anything you take special attention to or pride in?
I tend to approach things differently. Because of my experiences on working in Wall Street, I look at risk differently from a lot of other developers. People look at the transitional neighborhoods that I develop as risks, but I am value orientated on the purchase so for me it’s low risk. Coming from Wall Street, I’ve learned to evaluate risk and make decisions based on appreciating that there will be a downside before there will be an upside. I personally think I am very risk conservative, but it is mostly not the market’s perception.

My engineering degree has played an important part as well because I understand construction and project management. This is important to make sure the project stays on task and on budget.

A lot of what I do is an input from the places I lived and visited and I have brought that with me to Miami. Although no two cities are the same, there are a lot of things that are similar, and I infused some of the likes and brought them to Miami.

How is it running a female locally owned business? Struggles? Advantages?
I am often asked this question, and the struggles to me are the same to no matter what gender you are. I have seemed to have always landed in dominant male professions. I’ve never seen that as a boundary, maybe I am a little naïve, but I do not look at things that way. I believe you must be good at what you do and if you are a woman you must always do your homework and try to know as much as you can. Learning never stops, you have to stay on top of your market. As a female owned business, I think as a community we can do a better job mentoring so that we can be more helpful.

Outside of running the business, what are some of your personal interests?
My daughter is my number one and I enjoy my time with friends. I started playing tennis again, and that has been fun because I work a lot. I enjoy being a part of the City of Miami.

Quotes: “Be authentic, be new and be different.”

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