A Venezuelan Businessman Transforming Coral Gables

A Venezuelan Businessman Transforming Coral Gables

Alirio Torrealba is a Venezuelan businessman who has become the leading developer of homes in Coral Gables. He started in the business world at the age of 19, selling and buying used cars in Venezuela.

Alirio Torrealba: A Venezuelan Businessman Transforming Coral Gables

His business in the automotive industry grew to form Multimarca, a network of dealerships with more than 300 employees. In 2015, invested in real estate, first in the Miami real estate market, before investing in Coral Gables. With the acquisition of land there, his entrepreneurial vision changed from buying and selling properties to building and constructing, where his real estate company, MG Developer, was founded.

Over eight years, MG Developer, led by Torrealba, has built 12 real estate projects, with seven completed and one in planning in Coral Gables and four more in the pipeline in Hialeah and Miami. The construction of Biltmore Row marked the beginning of MG Developer’s history.

According to Torrealba, his goal is to continue the philosophy of George Merrick, the founder of Coral Gables. The city’s vice mayor, Michael Mena, highlighted the high quality of MG Developer’s projects, both architecturally and in their harmony with the neighborhoods. He said these developments continue the city’s historic legacy of world-class planning and development.

Recognition from the Coral Gables Community

Coral Gables has adopted Torrealba as a prominent figure in the community. For the past four years, he has served on the Coral Gables Museum’s Board of Trustees after being invited by its president, José Valdés-Fauli.

In June 2022, the Director of MG Developer was named Business Leader of the Year by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, on January 12, 2023, Torrealba and his wife, Doris Martin, received recognition at the Coral Gables Museum’s annual Civic Arts Gala for their urban planning and philanthropic work.

Coral Gables Museum Executive Director Elvis Fuentes explained that the award recognized both MG Developer’s good design in the city and “the Torrealba couple’s sensitivity to the community.” He noted the couple’s respect for Coral Gables’ architectural and cultural heritage and their interest in preserving George Merrick’s civic legacy.

City Vice Mayor Mena emphasized Torrealba’s work in familiarizing himself with Coral Gables culture and his support of local entities and events. According to Mena, Torrealba has been a great supporter and benefactor of the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Museum and many other local entities.

Multifamily Housing in Hialeah and Miami

MG Developer has evolved in its urban expansion. He began with luxurious projects in Coral Gables with a Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial style for a high net worth public. But his vision in construction has led him to invest in multifamily housing in other cities.

Thus arose Metro Parc in Hialeah, a 10-story building with more than 560 units that will be the tallest in the city and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2024. At the same time, MG Developer is working on another multifamily development in Miami called Merrick Parc with 400 units. These two properties will consolidate its new phase of large-scale multifamily housing development. However, their planning has faced controversy.

Displacement by urban development

In what he describes as MG Developer’s “Crown Jewel,” The Village at Coral Gables, a $50 million project, there is a story behind it. It involves 13 apartment buildings that will be demolished to build luxury condominiums.

MG Developer purchased the entire block west of downtown in 2022, covering 2.6 acres, bounded by Malaga and Santander avenues to the north and south, and Segovia and Hernando streets to the east and west.

The 52 affordable apartment units will disappear, displacing dozens of families, including children and seniors, amid a housing crisis in Miami-Dade. These will be replaced by spacious three-story townhouses with 10-foot ceilings and private two-car garages, priced more than millions of dollars.

Torrealba states that these homes are for a different market and that the evolution of the city and demographics are factors that make it difficult to maintain the current standard of living. However, for the vice mayor of Coral Gables, these properties were never intended as public housing and the applicable laws and zoning process have always been respected by MG Developer.

Supporting social causes

Alirio Torrealba is a key member of the board of directors of “Funda Higado”, a nonprofit organization that has been helping children with liver disease in Venezuela since 2001.

Through his company, Multimarca en Venezuela, Torrealba wanted to support the work of the organization by involving his company and raising awareness among his employees, clients and family members. According to FundaHigado’s president, Pedro Rivas, a liver transplant surgeon, Torrealba has a personal connection to the organization and his support goes far beyond simply donating money.

In addition to being a sponsor and donor to the Coral Gables Community Foundation, Torrealba also supports FundaHigado America, FundaHigado’s U.S. affiliate, which provides training in pediatric liver transplantation. Rivas says Torrealba’s main contribution to his foundations is the way he gets involved with the projects and the people, selling his social work.
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