Adler Group has been a pioneer in the real estate industry in the Southeast United States for more than 50 years.
Adler Group was founded by Samuel "Sam" I. Adler, the first generation of the Adler family born in the United States. After growing up in New York, Sam enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was sent to South Florida for basic training, where the family's passion for both aviation and South Florida began.
After serving as a B-17 navigator during World War II, Sam Adler returned to the states and began developing single-family homes in Westchester County, New York. While developing a successful homebuilding business in New York, he saw that the real opportunity and quality of life was in South Florida.
Sam Adler relocated to South Florida in the mid-1950s. His first projects were residential developments in North Bay Village in 1957, including East Drive Apartments and The Anchorage.
In the early 1960s, Sam Adler was one of the first to identify the opportunities in Broward County. While others felt the area was too far north, he recognized the potential and started developing high rises in Hallandale. Sam built approximately 6,000 apartments throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The company would later sell the portfolio in 1983.
Sam Adler would also go on to become the visionary behind such projects as 90 Edgewater Drive, the first waterfront project in Coral Gables, and Gables One Tower, which was the company's first office building and is still managed by Adler Realty Services today. While Sam previously focused on the construction, management and leasing of rental apartments, the early 1970s marked the company's transition to industrial and office developments.
A New Generation
While his father was expanding his influence throughout South Florida, his son Michael M. Adler was earning his informal education. Michael started working in construction for his father's company, Southern General Builders, at age 16, later joining the laborers' and carpenters' unions. He continued to work as a construction superintendent while earning his Business degree from the University of Miami.
Michael graduated college in 1973 and, sharing his father's passion for flying, aspired to start his own entrepreneurial venture in the aviation industry. To better serve his transportation needs, Michael put his general contractor license to work and began developing his own 30,000 sq. ft. building where he could operate and store his cargo. However, upon completion, a third party approached him with substantial offer to rent the property. Michael leased out the building, following Sam Adler's emphasis on owning income-producing properties.
Michael saw that there was an unfulfilled need for office, warehouse and flex space in the area west of the Miami International Airport. He began another project: Skyway Center, a 210,000 sq. ft. facility with office and warehouse space.
Building on these successes, Michael bought a 167-acre property from the Tisch Family in 1978 and started the foundation for Miami International Commerce Center (MICC), which Adler would eventually build out to 350 acres and over 4 million square feet. MICC became the area's first and largest planned business community.
Once again, competitors questioned the Adler family for breaking ground in previously undeveloped areas – but Michael realized that the area west of Miami International would one day grow to become the center of a major commercial corridor.
Expanding the Tradition
The Adler name became synonymous with vision. From ocean-front residential projects to multi-tenant office, retail and flex-use properties to management intensive ventures, the company began to diversify into new entrepreneurial undertakings.
Development highlights during the 1980s and 1990s included the 320-acre Boca Commerce Center, the Vista Center mixed-use corporate park golf course in West Palm Beach and 1221 Brickell Avenue, a Class A building in Miami's financial district.
Based on their many successes, the company was also able to forge key financial relationships. They were amongst the first to joint venture partner with MetLife in the state of Florida. They also started the AP-Adler Investment Fund with Apollo Real Estate Advisors.
Adler partnerships allowed the company to experience incredible growth, even during fluctuating economic times. Thanks to the performance of programs like the AP-Adler Investment Fund, in 2003 Adler's ownership portfolio grew to over 8 million square feet with more than 2,000 tenants throughout South Florida, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, Greensboro, Charlotte and Norfolk. The company also rolled out a branding strategy for its portfolio with its FlexxSpace business communities, a network of multi-tenant commercial properties throughout the Southeast. The AP-Adler Investment Fund and FlexxSpace initiatives were the driving forces behind the company's success the past 10 years.
Michael's son, Matthew L. Adler, joined Adler Group in 2001, becoming the third generation to work in real estate. Matthew brings a valued entrepreneurial focus to the company, expanding Adler Realty Services, which provides a full line of solutions to serve the needs of stakeholders in properties both within and outside the Adler portfolio.
Matthew has negotiated the acquisition and disposition of over 4 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space throughout the southeastern United States. He also spearheaded a number of significant company business lines, including an income-producing office investment fund, commercial condominium projects and a statewide retail land bank venture.
The pioneering spirits behind Adler Group have always taken an opportunistic approach to commercial real estate and it continues today.
Adler is continuing to strengthen its financial base, raising funds through the Helios Fund, seeking new joint venture partners and acquiring assets which offer the most profitable turnaround opportunities.
Adler Group is a company recognized for its innovation, from being one of the earliest to see the potential of residential projects in Broward County to building the 350-acre MICC business community, the first major commerce park in the area west of the Miami Airport. The company will continue to seek out opportunities for growth, serve the interests of its stakeholders and be actively involved in its communities.