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Family members Tragedy Introduced Driftwood Cash Founder’s Hotel Job and US$3 Billion Empire


Mar 15, 2023
Carlos Rodriguez Sr., founder, chairman and chief executive of Driftwood Capital. (Driftwood Capital)

Carlos Rodriguez Sr. was ready to do anything at all to fund his authentic estate-concentrated hospitality vocation outside of Costa Rica, even promoting his children’s toys.

Rodriguez, founder, chairman and chief government of Driftwood Money, did just that to create his to start with U.S. resort, a six-storey Holiday Inn around the airport in Miami in 1996.

“We bought everything to shift [to the United States] and get our very first lodge,” claimed Rodriguez.

Because then, he has turned Coral Gables, Florida-centered Driftwood Funds into an empire with 80 accommodations in the United States and additional than 3 billion U.S. pounds in hospitality property under management. His buyers come from 34 nations, with about fifty percent the money from the United States.

Rodriguez’s real estate vocation started soon after his stint as an expenditure banker on Wall Avenue was upended by the loss of life of his more mature brother Augusto. His father and brother experienced built the Aurola Holiday getaway Inn in San José, Costa Rica, but his brother died in 1986, just shortly just after the lodge opened.

So his father requested him to return household right after 18 months in New York so he could enable operate the relatives organization.

“There was a Latin The usa debt disaster, and however, when he died, the resort was in problems,” claimed the Driftwood Funds founder. “I was doing the job in financial investment banking in my aspiration work. But my father questioned, ‘Carlos, can you appear and assistance me?’ How do you say ‘no’ to your father? You can’t.”

He uncovered the resort business as immediately as he could, even returning to the U.S. to acquire some programs at Cornell University. He operated that Holiday getaway Inn for a ten years and the hotel business grew on him.

“I did not take pleasure in the functions aspect as a great deal as actual estate, structuring deals, structures, lodges,” Rodriguez said. “I adapted the hotel small business to my background.”

The spouse and children business, which includes the San José resort, ongoing to develop in Costa Rica with the acquire of a second hotel, but not as quickly as Rodriguez preferred. Rodriguez did not want to contend with his spouse and children, so he moved stateside to Miami to begin his individual lodge firm.

“I observed it less difficult to do enterprise in the States compared to Latin The usa. It was simpler to elevate the cash, borrow the dollars and a lot more liquid to promote inns,” stated Rodriguez.

By way of the downturn in journey from 9/11 to partnering with Lehman Brothers, a partnership that nearly destroyed his company in the course of the economical disaster, Rodriguez figured out how to make a funds framework that didn’t go away him depending on one trader.

At some point, he established his initial fund with his son Carlos Jr. and David Buddemeyer, who had launched Driftwood Hospitality Administration with previous Lehman Brothers executives.

Driftwood now has 4 divisions concentrated on acquisitions, improvement, lending and the administration business with about 110 workers, not counting the 5,000 staff at the lodge degree.

As he seems back to that initial hotel in Miami, Rodriguez remembers getting down to his past US$500 right before he cashed his to start with US$10,000 dividend. He has realized that each take a look at or setback in his occupation has manufactured him more powerful.

“My mantra from day 1” has been to “usually maintain a good near relationship with your bankers,” he reported. “The other thing is to keep your buyers informed regardless of whether it is great or lousy.”

Rodriguez stated if he does develop further than the United States, Canada would be Driftwood Capital’s reasonable future action simply because both of those countries have a strong rule of regulation with extra liquid markets for acquisitions.

“I have been asked to go internationally, but to do it proper, you will need a complete infrastructure, which is high-priced,” he explained, introducing that would equate to a launch with about eight hotels in a state like Canada.

Rodriguez mentioned mentoring is a single of his objectives as a leader, and that involves his son Carlos Jr., who served him discovered Driftwood Capital.

“If a little something took place to me today, Carlos could consider more than without the need of batting an eye,” stated Rodriquez, laughing that there is no lingering anger in excess of the sold toys.


Carlos Rodriguez Sr. | Founder, chairman and CEO of Driftwood Funds
Hometown: San José, Costa Rica
Current town: Miami
Yrs in business: 35
Instruction: Bachelor’s from Vanderbilt College MBA from Duke College
Hobbies: Looking at, biking, hiking, cinema, tennis, pickleball, pool volleyball, and card game titles like gin, canasta and poker
Suggestions to all those starting off out in the field: “Converse. Say the real truth and say it rapidly. Connect with your bankers, traders, and personnel. Notify them the good and the bad and usually suggest methods to the undesirable. Be upfront and transparent, it often pays in the long operate.”

Every person in industrial serious estate had to begin somewhere. CoStar’s Initial Task column explores exactly where professions commenced.

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