Marc Lawrence graduated from the University of Miami in 1996, with a JD from Nova in 1999 and an LLM in real estate law. He first worked with Jorge Perez at The Related Group until 2005. From finding new projects, to financing and having the right product for property, Lawrence is ahead of the trend curve and understands today’s real estate development market.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

The Anglers all started when I was working at The Related Group. To relax I would jog along the neighborhood, and while the rest of the area was being developed, I noticed a worn-down, neglected Mediterranean Revival building. The original Anglers began as a simple 49 room condo/hotel conversion, and ran into headwinds due to market conditions, which forced the developer to return deposits when buyers couldn’t obtain end-loans. Other issues ensued such as renegotiating a bank loan, buying out partners, operational issues, evicting a restaurant tenant for not paying rent, and a global recession. After 7 years of ups and downs, KHP (and Kimpton hotels) entered as a partner to merge the existing hotel with a newly acquired property to build phase two, adding 85 new rooms, complete with a rooftop pool, underground parking, retail space, a new lounge (Minnow bar), new restaurant (Seawell Fish and oyster), and renovations of the existing property. The hotel is currently a shining star on Washington Avenue. While other developers are beginning construction today, there are around 1,000 new units being built on Washington avenue, and the Anglers is once again the trendsetter on the block, leading the way for a new and improved Washington Avenue.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The life of a developer is spontaneous to say the least— every day is totally different. It can range from walking a construction site, meeting with a design professional, or GM regarding a celebrity in-house, attending city commission meetings, visiting a warehouse storing FF&E, and partner meetings all in the same day. Lawrence is not afraid to get his hands dirts and do anything that is required, including punching units in the morning and checking people in at night.

How do you bring ideas to life?

You have to believe in yourself- I’ve been on a mission to refresh and relaunch the deteriorating area of Washington avenue. Currently, I sit on the Washington Ave BID (Business Improvement District (the BID) as secretary). Under Mayor Levine, the city recognized that Washington Avenue needed help, and my brother Eric was appointed to the Blue Ribbon panel to incentivize developers to invest in and improve Washington avenue. After I worked tirelessly to change zoning and planning laws, Washington is in the middle of a revitalization, and armed with a 10 million dollar General Obligation Bond GO BOND to spend on a master plan, clean up, additional security, creating artistic street interactions and hosting concerts in the area. The transformation of the community and interaction has been a top priority for me.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am reshaping the city I live in, helping put Washington back on the map, rebranding and working with with Business Improvement District BID, to rebrand a once forgotten street into one of Miami Beach’s best new destinations. I have been working with City, the BID, the neighbors and design professionals to create a destination that will inspire a new generation of people to enjoy and take pride in. I am excited and honored to be part of this process. It’s a great feeling to know what you are creating today will reshape the community of tomorrow and is something I can point to with pride knowing that all my love, sacrifices, energy and passions went into.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Write everything down. Having persistent drive and entrepreneurial spirit to my grandfather who at an early age always influenced me to be my own leader and always own my own business. Even if I was trained as a lawyer, I knew that it was only a means to an end as I always listened to my grandfather’s good advice. However, the most influential person who exposed me to the world of development is Jorge Perez. I was lucky to have worked at the Related Group for 5 years and I learned quickly that a career in development was exactly what I wanted to do.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stay humble- allow other people to shine and don’t be afraid to listen and not be the smartest in the room

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

When I purchased the hotel, it was an abandoned crack house on Washington Avenue with no new hotels built in over 2 decades. Everyone thought I was crazy. I didn’t see an abandoned building- I saw opportunity.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I was incredibly fearful that this would be the end of my entrepreneurial dreams and career. I felt my back was against the wall. I got the drive from my grandfather. As a child, my grandfather has instilled in me a sense of fortitude. Hard work and smart work, he believed, were the keys to success and would push me through. He also taught me to create our own luck and destiny, as well as our own paths and opportunities.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I was able to stick to the game plan and consult with professionals who gave me great guidance and continued to press along with opening the hotel and feeling confident in my abilities, knowing there would be brighter days in the future. After dissolving my partnership, renegotiating with the bank, we were able to open the first new hotel on Washington avenue, earning a top spot on Tripadvisor for four years and won a few awards.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

It was 2008 and recession was in full swing. It was the same time I got my CO for the newly renovated Anglers Boutique condo hotel. When it came time for the buyers to close on their units, no one was able to get a mortgage on a condo hotel project. We had to approach our lender for an alternative strategy as our loan was due. It was at this time that I had to renegotiate with the bank, return deposits, self fund the remainder of the project and renegotiate my partnership agreement. It was really risky because the loan expired and they may have foreclosed on me– and this was just as we were opening. I kept pushing on.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

One thing that is always needed and makes your hotel stand out is service. A app that geolocates the guest and acts as a concierge or service for hotels- it would be a huge benefit in the hospitality industry and would eliminate the need for massive staffing.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Apple earbuds- I use them for private conversations and don’t need to hold a phone up to my ear.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I like loopnet- it helps me find available properties

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Alchemist– all time classic and it teaches you that the power of everything you need is right in front of you- the search begins with you.

What is your favorite quote?

“sometimes you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right”

Key Learnings:

  • Listen to your gut and voice inside your head- absorb everything and do not be afraid to learn
  • You have to believe in yourself- I’ve been on a mission to refresh and relaunch the deteriorating area of Washington avenue. Currently, I sit on the Washington Ave BID (Business Improvement District (the BID) as secretary). Under Mayor Levine, the city recognized that Washington Avenue needed help, and my brother Eric was appointed to the Blue Ribbon panel to incentivize developers to invest in and improve Washington avenue. After I worked tirelessly to change zoning and planning laws, Washington is in the middle of a revitalization, and armed with a 10 million dollar General Obligation Bond GO BOND to spend on a master plan, clean up, additional security, creating artistic street interactions and hosting concerts in the area. The transformation of the community and interaction has been a top priority for me.
  • Don’t accept no for an answer -The life of a developer is spontaneous to say the least— every day is totally different. It can range from walking a construction site, meeting with a design professional, or GM regarding a celebrity in-house, attending city commission meetings, visiting a warehouse storing FF&E, and partner meetings all in the same day. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and do anything that is required, including punching units in the morning and checking people in at night.

Connect:

https://www.anglershotelmiami.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/marc-lawrence-b32b3759
https://www.instagram.com/mr.anglersmb/