David Martin: Leads Terra to develop projects based on community needs
David Martin wants to build better neighborhoods. His firm, Terra, has developed more than 5 million square feet of residential, commercial and mixed-use projects. Another 3 million or so square feet are on the way, adding up to more than $8 billion portfolio of assets.
In the 20 years since he co-founded Terra with his father, Pedro Martin, the company’s aim has shifted from a traditional development approach to one focused on neighborhood strategies – assessing what needs there are in a given area and then filling those voids with smart, design-driven products that serve as catalysts for broader community improvements.
Terra has gone to submarkets like Doral, Miami Beach, Pembroke Pines and more than a dozen other areas and found needs for industrial in one pocket of a city and for single-family dwellings, grocery, retail, workforce residential and other projects elsewhere.
In Coconut Grove, where the firm is now headquartered, Mr. Martin and his team saw an opportunity to build and sell residences to empty nesters looking for safe, walkable urban housing with localized services.
“That thesis proved out,” he said. “We delivered several successful residential projects that created a new community of more purchasing power in a commercial district.”
The firm recently broke ground on Grove Central, which will feature a 23-story residential tower with 402 multi-family, workforce and co-living units, a 1,250-space public parking garage and 170,000 square feet of retail.
The project is being built next to the Coconut Grove Metrorail station and will include improvements to the station and links to the Underline linear park, Metrobus and the City of Miami’s trolley network.
Other similar and starkly different projects are also now in the works. The through-line among them all, he said, is a win-win formula in which Terra invests in neighborhoods and the payoff benefits both the firm and the community.
“Our goal is to see how we can tack capitalism to solve some of a neighborhood’s needs,” he said. “We try to bring a community together to accomplish progress and change in a responsible manner.”
Mr. Martin spoke with Miami Today reporter Jesse Scheckner.
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