Mar 4·5 min read·
The Lady Behind DREAM
Suzanne Hollander manages a $17 Billion Real Estate portfolio of more than 500 properties — more than some countries’ GDPs
Suzanne Hollander is the City of Miami’s Director of Real Estate Asset Management & Marinas (DREAM), managing some US$17.5 Billion real estate portfolio of more than 500 properties. To be exact, 139 Million SF of islands, 3 marinas of over 1,300 boat slips, moorings, dry racks, retail malls, hotels, office buildings, theaters, stadiums, parking garages, historic properties, upland and submerged lands. These properties include two downtown landmarks: Bayside Marketplace and the historic Olympia Theater.
Downtown News: Powerful lady. How did you come to work for DREAM?
Suzanne Hollander: City Manager Noriega thought that my legal and real estate background would be beneficial for the city.
DN: And what were your goals?
SH: A property-centric goal is to make Miami a more livable city. Improve the stakeholders experience … Property owners who are both from out of Miami and from Miami. Improve city owned leases and Marinas. We have 100 leases, and own and operate 1300 boat slips (dry and wet) and moorings. We actually own a total of 3500 slips but are leased out to private marinas. It’s very unique for a city to own that many slips.
Another important goal of mine is working to implement processes and procedures to professionalize the management and preservation of value of city owned assets, as legacy for the City’s constituents. I have been working on this since day 1.
DN: How many people work in your team?
SH: We have around 50 employees in commercial leasing, acquisitions and marinas management and operations.
And what do clients think?
Pamela Weller, VP Asset Management, Bayside Marketplace, observed: “I am thoroughly impressed with Suzanne Hollander, the newest Director of DREAM in the City. She has already made a huge impact in our city, and I am excited to see her in action in the future years.”
About Suzanne Hollander
Prior to joining the City of Miami, Ms. Hollander advised private investors and government entities throughout the U.S. and Latin America on urban and regional development, strategies to meet demand for housing and natural resources, real estate developments’ impact on regional economies, commercial leasing, entitlements for large scale development, and, as a result of her work, the U.S. State Department appointed her to its Fulbright Specialist Roster as an Expert in Real Estate. Also, she teaches real estate law at Florida International University’s Hollo School of Real Estate.
Ms. Hollander graduated from Dartmouth College, and the University of Miami School of Law.
DN: Is that what brought you to Miami?
SH: I was awarded a full three-year scholarship for academic and professional excellence. They flew me to Miami and treated me as an athlete. They took me out to dinner, gave me a boat tour, and fortunately awarded me the scholarship. (Academics can compete with athletics.)
DN: Having experience working in both the private and public sectors, what do you see as a significant difference?
SH: One difference is that in the private sector quantitative factors are prioritized. In the public sector we must also consider qualitative factors, which is the public purpose. Often, people talk about ESG — environmental social governance in making investment decisions. In the public sector we replace the S (Social) with the P — Public Purpose. I have to have an eye on how the uses of our city owned properties benefit the public, the citizens of Miami. Also, I look at the properties as an endowment model. We are stewards for the public that owns these properties.
DN: Can you give me an example of the public purpose?
SH: Access to the water. Private marinas sell slips, and prices have gone up. The City owns and operates nearly 1,300 boat slips, dry dock slips and moorings that help us give the public access to the water at various price points.
DN: You mentioned the Olympia Theater as part of your portfolio. The Olympia, as you know, is central to Downtown. Tells us a bit about the plans for this iconic institution.
SH: We have three theaters in our portfolio, the Artime Theater in Little Havana, the Marine Stadium, and the historic Olympia, a beautiful theater built almost one hundred years ago. The city plans to put the Olympia out for RFP for an operator of the property, which consists of the theater, retail units on the bottom, and approximately 70 multifamily units currently used as rental apartments — I have heard uses that would be considered such as a boutique hotel, affordable housing, etc.
Soprano Maria Antunez and operatic tenor Martin Nusspaumer at the Olympia Theater, 2019. Photo Niels Johansen for Downtown News.
DN: you were recognized as one of the finest female professionals in South Florida. Sometimes awards turn the recipients into role models, right?
SH: I think it’s important to mentor and be a role model. If you see it, you can be it. It’s important for people to see that I am in this role, and they can do it. For many of my students, I’m the only woman professor they have in real estate or the only woman lawyer they’ve ever met.
DN: What would be your advice to a young lady that is starting out?
SH: Work hard and learn as much as you can. Learn from everyone, and not think that there are industries that you can’t get into. I believe in meritocracy. I had the opportunity to teach many people, thousands, here in the United States and Latin America. My message is, if you work hard, are curious, and want to learn how to do something, you can make it happen. But always keep integrity and ethics.
The lesson, of course, is for young men starting out as well. Women like Suzanne Hollander are mirrors in which we can see our professional aspirations reflected. And featuring her couldn’t be more appropriate as we celebrate International Women’s Month. Or, in the words of the late Charles Aznavour: “Women of today, teach us what to say!”
Disclaimer: Professor Real Estate® written materials apply generally to real estate subjects and are not intended to apply to specific legal issues.
Copyright 2022 ~ All rights reserved. ~ Professor Real Estate® Suzanne Hollander