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Meet Santiago Vanegasof Habitat Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Santiago Vanegas.

Santiago is the Founder, CEO and President of Habitat Development, a leading Miami-based real estate asset management firm. With over 18 years of real estate experience, Santiago serves as the Developer for Smart Brickell, where he oversees the vision, direction, development and overall marketing for the project.

An economist from Universidad del Rosario, Colombia, Santiago arrived to Miami in 2000, beginning his career in the real estate industry as Financial Manager for Fortune International Group. He founded Habitat Development in 2005, eventually expanding the firm’s portfolio to include four branches offering specialized services, including: Habitat Development, an expert in the construction and remodeling of properties; Habitat Realty, which focuses on analyzing the real estate market in search of the best properties and investment opportunities; Habitat Management, which focuses on the management of company assets; and Habitat Hotel, which is owned and operated by Habitat Group.

Throughout his time in the industry, Santiago has worked on a number of notable projects, including: Habitat Residence 1 & 2 located in Brickell, Historic Miami River Hotel, Brickell Ten, Jefferson Hotel, and Le Parc in Colombia. Santiago has worked to generate better urbanism by evolving parks sand mixed-use outdoor spaces through land acquisition and assemblage. His greatest career milestones thus far include the completion of Smart Brickell and Jefferson Hotel. He enjoys meditation, nature and is an art lover – an interest he infuses with urbanism in many of the projects he works on.

A pioneer for growth and development with roots in Miami, real estate developer Santiago Vanegas is using his industry experience and area expertise to breathe new life into Little Havana, one of Miami’s most historic and culturally diverse neighborhoods. Santiago has become a hometown hero of sorts, working to improve standards of living, economic opportunities, cleanliness and safety to the district while preserving historic landmarks and revitalizing buildings that were previously beyond repair. Santiago founded the Riverview Historic District Association in 2016 to support the growth of the area. Through his development company, Habitat Development, and his work with The Riverview Historic District, Santiago has aided the economic growth of Little Havana by revamping a number of buildings, including The Jefferson hotel and others He is currently working on rezoning the Riverview Historic District from T4-R (Residential) to T5-O (Mixed Use Commercial) to allow for new development that will continue to bolster the area while maintaining the cultural foundation.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The most challenging moment in my career was during the real estate crisis where I was currently developing a building. I quickly took the decision to change the concept of my development and turned the project into a condo hotel, which today is Habitat Residence, a very successful hotel in Brickell.

Please tell us about Habitat Group.
I am Santiago Vanegas, Founder, CEO and President of Habitat Development, a leading Miami-based real estate asset management firm. With over 18 years of real estate experience, we serve as the Developer for Smart Brickell, where we oversees the vision, direction, development and overall marketing for the project.

Being able to develop four successful boutique hotels in a row: Habitat Residence 1, Habitat Residence 2, the Miami River Hotel, and the Jefferson Hotel. Soon we will hopefully be having our fifth successful hotel, the Smart Brickell Hotel.

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Image Credit:

Renderings courtesy of Smart Brickell

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