Codina Partners Part 4 - From The Shores Of Cuba To Miami: The Rise Of Armando Codina

October 11, 2018

Codina Partners Executive Chairman Armando Codina and CEO Ana-Marie Codina Barlick discuss Armando’s journey and how the Codina family rose to real estate power with EisnerAmper Real Estate Services Group Chair Ken Weissenberg.


Transcript

Ken Weissenberg:So before you entered the real estate space I guess you started off coming to this country as a teenager. Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like coming here, and how you eventually got into real estate?

Armando Codina: So I don’t think we have enough time, but I the short version I'm not unique. I was one of almost 15,000 on that company Cuban children's that came up. Our company came without our parents, I ended up in a camp for unaccompanied Cuban kids in Miami and from there I was sent to an orphanage in New Jersey and eventually to a foster home until my mother got out.

KW: That was the early ‘60s right?

AC: Yes ‘61 so my mother didn’t speak English. She had never worked, so I went to work so she didn't have to.  I don't have a college education, I went to work. I worked at a bank and it's a long story but I saw an opportunity with the problems that doctors had with accounts receivable so I started a medical building company with a $60,000 SBA guarantee loan in ‘70 and I sold it in ’78.

KW:And then 1978 you went into real estate?

AC:I was kind of retired. I would grant you that I'm a complete failure as a retired person. I admit that. I retired and my dad had been in the House and the Senate in Cuba before Castro and before Batista so I thought with everything that this country had done for me that I needed to put something back and I thought I wanted to run for office. I ran the Bush campaign against Reagan. The primary in south Florida, I spent about a year and a half doing that. Fortunately I got cured, and thought this is not for me. I thought I could do more good as a committed, involved citizen, civically not doing anything in politics. When I came to the conclusion that it was not for me, I wanted to get back into business, but I had a very very tight non-compete, and I stumbled into the real estate.

I can't tell you that I had no education. I didn't have any master plan, so when I went back to talk to them about wanting to get back into the business, I said you can’t compete with us if you want to run the business for us. But having owned it, I didn't want to go back and work for somebody. So there was a component of that business that we had begun. We had known so well how to collect money for our doctors and improve there that they began depending on us for other things. If I needed an office, corporate buying and leasing. Long story, but long story short they didn't want to do those ancillary services, so they said if you want to do some of these things you can take this I took that and I began investing my money with some doctor’s money and we did pretty well. We did some medical offices across the street from Coral Gables Hospital, or the office buildings by Baptist. From there we decided it appeared that health was headed in a way that we really wanted to do other buildings so I got involved in commercial real estate.

About Kenneth Weissenberg

Kenneth Weissenberg CPA, Tax Partner in Real Estate Services, is experienced in tax saving strategies and negotiating sales and acquisitions. He represents owners of some of the most well-known real estate properties in New York City.

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