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Who Is Donald Soffer And What Is His Legacy? By Benzinga

Who Is Donald Soffer And What Is His Legacy? By Benzinga

© Reuters. Who Is Donald Soffer And What Is His Legacy?

Miami-based Donald Soffer embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and vision of his ancestors who escaped Europe in search of opportunity in America.

Here’s what you need to know about the 89-year-old billionaire businessman and his family.

Childhood: Born Sept. 20, 1932, to immigrants of Polish and Hungarian descent, Soffer grew up during the tail-end of the industrial revolution in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Soffer attended the Massachusetts-based Brandeis University on a football scholarship. Despite a rough start, he was one of the few players in his class that graduated in 1955.

Immediately after, Soffer forwent an opportunity to play professional football for the San Francisco 49ers and joined the U.S. Army.

Post-WWII: The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (G.I. Bill) was passed in 1944 and Soffer returned to a burgeoning suburban Pittsburgh area.

For low cost, World War II veterans were able to finance their new lives on the outskirts of cities. Soffer and his father thought these families were in need of sustainable suburban ecosystems to work, live, and play holistically.

In 1965, at the age of 28, Soffer began building suburban shopping malls with his father which allowed these new communities to better self-sustain.

South Florida: In 1969, Soffer, alongside some partners, bought 785-acres of swampland in South Florida for $6 million. Originally called Turnberry, the site was renamed to Aventura which is Spanish for adventure.

Despite some early hiccups with regard to procuring build permits, Soffer went on to create an upper-class city less than 20 miles north of Miami.

The swamps were drained and rezoned to construct high-rise developments, resorts like Turnberry Isle, malls, marinas, golf courses and beyond.

Today, Aventura into a national destination for both living and pleasure.

Legacy: Soffer formed Turnberry Associates in the late 1960s, paying homage to the land beneath Aventura which was initially referred to as Turnberry.

The business was led by Soffer children Jeffrey and Jackie who, in 2019, broke most of their joint interests up into separate ventures.

Jackie, who is the CEO and chairman of Turnberry Associates, continues to own and manage attractions like the Aventura Mall, one of the highest-grossing shopping centers in the United States, Town Center Aventura, the Residence Inn, and Courtyard by Marriott in Aventura, the Courtyard by Marriott in Orlando, and the Hampton Inn in Aventura.

Jeffrey, under the Fontainbleau Development LLC, among many properties, owns and manages JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa, developments in Sunny Isles, and the Fountainebleau Hotel club in Miami, home to LIV Miami, a premier, a high-energy nightclub opened by David Grutman.

The Soffer family, apart from its continued interest in commercial and residential real estate developments, engages in philanthropic activities.

Soffer, who is a recipient of the Brandeis Alumni Achievement Award and inductee to Brandeis’ Athletics Hall of Fame, has donated to his alma mater and sponsors students’ education.

According to some estimates, Soffer’s worth sits north of $2 billion.

© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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