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Where are SoFla’s real estate bigwigs? On vacation, of course

Aug. 11, 2015

Hiking in Colorado, touring Israel, wine tasting in Bordeaux and visiting the Colosseum in Rome

During the dog days of summer, when South Florida’s temperatures remain fixed in the 90s, what do local real estate tycoons do? Skip town for cooler climes, of course.

(Literally) dripping with envy, The Real Deal reached out to real estate wheelers and dealers, and found many who are basking in brisk mountain air out West, or have just returned from adventures in Italy and France. Think hiking in Colorado, wine-tasting in Bordeaux and touring the Colosseum in Rome.

Lyle Chariff got the gotta-get-out-of-town bug while watching a movie at Aventura Mall with his family. The film? “Vacation.”

In the middle of the movie, Chariff’s wife turned to him and said, ‘We’ve got to get one more trip in before the summer is over.’ So Chariff, president of Chariff Realty Group, raced out of the theater, ran to the mall’s Apple store and jumped on the computer.

By the time the movie was over, he had booked an 8 a.m. flight for the next morning, to Aspen, for himself, his wife and his two children. “We realized that my whole family and half of Miami was in Aspen,” he told TRD.

Chariff and his family spent a week there, renting a condo at the Gant. They just got back.

In fact, Colorado appeals to scores of Miami’s real estate elite. In Aspen, Chariff saw architect Chad Oppenheim, who has a home there.

Jay Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman’s Florida brokerage is in Vail right now. Michael Comras, president of Comras Company, also was in Colorado recently.

Many members of Miami’s real estate dynasty families have second homes in Aspen, like Craig Robins and Jeffrey Soffer. This summer, Soffer, who is married to supermodel Elle MacPherson, also visited Greece and Monaco, according to his spokesperson.

For Chariff, Colorado marked his second trip in several weeks. Chariff and his family already had spent 17 days touring Israel, visiting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Peggy Fucci, CEO of OneWorld Properties, just returned from Italy, where she spent 10 days with her husband and two youngest children. They spent a weekend in Rome and toured the Colosseum at night. “We try to do things to make an impact on them as far as their culture goes,” Fucci told TRD.

They drove to the Amalfi Coast, spent a couple of days in Capri, rented a boat, and even swam inside the Blue Grotto. Then they went to Positano and Sorrento. “Every summer we pick somewhere to go,” she said.

Earlier this summer, Masoud Shojaee, president and chairman of Shoma Group, toured France with his daughter Lilibet, the company’s marketing director.

“I am one of the serious collectors of wine and my younger daughter is very involved in wine tasting and checking out my wine cellar,” said Shojaee, a commercial and residential developer. “That was a great opportunity for [us] to go and spend two weeks drinking and tasting, from Champagne to Burgundy. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience. “

Shojaee said he tried to choose boutique wineries that have limited production and that are hard to get. He and his daughter were able to meet with the owners, which added to the fun, he said. They visited Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy, Bordeaux and then went back to Paris, where part of Shojaee’s family lives.

“At the end of day I ended up with 100 bottles of different rare vintage wine,” he told TRD.

For some, the summer unfolds with multiple vacations. David Arditi, principal of Aria Development Group, has been to Istanbul, Paris, Harbour Island, in the Bahamas, and the Hamptons, according to a spokesperson.

Drew Schaul, vice president and managing broker of RKF’s Miami office, also just spent five days on a family vacation with his wife and three children, in Southampton. His brother-in-law has a home there, he said.

“It was wonderful,” Schaul told TRD. “I can walk on the grass there in bare feet. And the beaches are beautiful up there.”

By Ina Cordle

Read more at TheRealDeal.com.