Alex Garcia (MS ’80, BACC ’74) stands overlooking the crystal blue Atlantic Ocean admiring its beauty. He is standing on the back terrace of his office, IL Villaggio Realty, of which he is the principal and founder.
IL Villaggio Realty is a leading South Beach boutique realty company specializing in upscale waterfront properties. It has an extensive selection of exceptional residences in South Florida’s most upscale areas, including South Beach, Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, Brickell, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables/Coconut Grove, and Sunny Isles. IL Villaggio Realty’s portfolio includes captivating buildings such as the Continuum, Capri South Beach, 1500 Ocean Drive, One Bal Harbour, The Setai, Blue, Aqua Island, IL Villaggio, and The Strand, to name a few.
Garcia oversees all business operations and directs the commercial division of the company, which specializes in commercial condo sales, leasing and management, development consulting, and investment property representation. He has more than thirty years of real estate experience, including serving as director of asset and portfolio management for IRE Funds, a national real estate investment company, and as investment manager for real estate investments and developments for Prudential Insurance Company. Garcia has been involved in development, condo conversion, sales, and management of more than 5,000 residential units and 5 million square feet of commercial space throughout the southeastern United States.
Garcia graduated from the college with an accounting degree with its first class in 1974. When asked what he enjoyed most about the university, he said, “FIU made a conscious effort to be an international school and it was interesting being a part of a new university.
“I’ll never forget my economics class,” he said. “We had an experimental learning environment. The professor asked that the students come up with their own grading system. We proposed that we should all get A’s upon meeting certain criteria—perfect class attendance and active participation. We never thought that he would buy into it, but he had it passed by the administration.”
It was this type of innovative thinking that Garcia said has led to his success today.
He considers himself to be extremely fortunate to work in such a unique market. His firm has a very special clientele with specific needs, people who own properties in the most prominent cities in the United States and who choose to own a residence in South Beach.
“There is an all-time high interest in owning property in Miami because of its climate, geographic location, international flavor, and distinctive architectural styles,” Garcia said. “Additionally, favorable Florida tax laws create incentives for establishing residency in the state.”
His clients predominantly are Americans from the northeast who work in the entertainment industry. The least expensive residence he sells ranges from $300-400,000 and shoots upward from there to $10 million.
IL Villaggio Realty generates $200 million in sales with eight agents. Garcia attributes the company’s success to the location of his office on South Beach, his highly-experienced sales force, and his focus on the higher-end market. His sales force knows how to cater to the needs of buyers.
“It is usually easier from a financing aspect to sell homes that are higher–end, because the buyers are generally qualified,” Garcia said. “We deal with fewer obstacles.”
Garcia’s company definitely has created a market stronghold in luxury real estate.