Meet Santiago Vanegas of Habitat Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Santiago Vanegas.

Santiago is the Founder, CEO and President of Habitat Development, a leading Miami-based real estate asset management firm. With over18 years of real estate experience, Santiago serves as the Developer for Smart Brickell, where he oversees the vision, direction, development and overall marketing for the project.

An economist from Universidad del Rosario, Colombia,Santiago arrived to Miami in 2000, beginning his career in the real estateindustry as Financial Manager for Fortune International Group. He foundedHabitat Development in 2005, eventually expanding the firm’s portfolio toinclude four branches offering specialized services, including: HabitatDevelopment, an expert in the construction and remodeling of properties;Habitat Realty, which focuses on analyzing the real estate market in search ofthe best properties and investment opportunities; Habitat Management, whichfocuses on the management of company assets; and Habitat Hotel, which is ownedand operated by Habitat Group.

Throughout his time in the industry, Santiago has workedon a number of notable projects, including: Habitat Residence 1 & 2 locatedin Brickell, Historic Miami River Hotel, Brickell Ten, Jefferson Hotel, and LeParc in Colombia. Santiago has worked to generate better urbanism by evolvingparks sand mixed-use outdoor spaces through land acquisition and assemblage.His greatest career milestones thus far include the completion of SmartBrickell and Jefferson Hotel. He enjoys meditation, nature and is an art lover– an interest he infuses with urbanism in many of the projects he works on.

A pioneer for growth and development with roots inMiami, real estate developer Santiago Vanegas is using his industry experienceand area expertise to breathe new life into Little Havana, one of Miami’s mosthistoric and culturally diverse neighborhoods. Santiago has become a hometownhero of sorts, working to improve standards of living, economic opportunities,cleanliness and safety to the district while preserving historic landmarks andrevitalizing buildings that were previously beyond repair. Santiago founded theRiverview Historic District Association in 2016 to support the growth of the area. Through his development company, Habitat Development, and his work withThe Riverview Historic District, Santiago has aided the economic growth ofLittle Havana by revamping a number of buildings, including The Jefferson hoteland others He is currently working on rezoning the Riverview Historic District from T4-R (Residential) to T5-O (Mixed Use Commercial) to allow for newdevelopment that will continue to bolster the area while maintaining thecultural foundation.

Great, so let’s dig alittle deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not,what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

The most challenging moment in my career was during thereal estate crisis where I was currently developing a building. I quickly tookthe decision to change the concept of my development and turned the projectinto a condo hotel, which today is Habitat Residence, a very successful hotelin Brickell.

Please tell us about Habitat Group.

I am Santiago Vanegas, Founder, CEO and President ofHabitat Development, a leading Miami-based real estate asset management firm.With over 18 years of real estate experience, we serve as the Developer forSmart Brickell, where we oversees the vision, direction, development andoverall marketing for the project.

Being able to develop four successful boutique hotels ina row: Habitat Residence 1, Habitat Residence 2, the Miami River Hotel, and theJefferson Hotel. Soon we will hopefully be having our fifth successful hotel,the Smart Brickell Hotel.