Design District Mastermind Marries Aventura Mall Chief
It started, as only a romance between two multi-millionaire retail developers can, with a lawsuit over a private jet. It ended up in marriage.
Craig Robins, the man responsible for turning the Design District into a luxury shopping mecca, has married Jackie Soffer, who, among other things, oversees Aventura Mall, the third largest mall in America. According to Curbed Miami, the pair tied the knot sometime in the past few days in Tennessee.
Yet, just a few years ago, the pair saw themselves on separate sides of a lawsuit.
Back in 2007, Robins partnered with another mega-developer Ugo Colombo to buy a $22 million private jet. The men leased the plane to their private companies, and in turn agreed to let Turnberry Management, owned by Jackie and her brother Jeff, to manage the plane. However, when Turnberry sent Robins a bill, he refused to pay up. Robins claimed Colombo had agreed to buy out his portion of the jet, but then reneged on the verbal agreement. Turnberry sued, and the lawsuit simmered for years. However, in 2013 Jackie testified in a sworn affidavit that Turnberry had only sued Robins as a favor to Colombo, and that Colombo was funding the lawsuit.
At some point throughout all of this drama, Robins and Jackie Soffer began dating, and Colombo's lawyers alleged that's why Turnberry turned on him. Anyway, in 2014 a judge did order Robins to pay Colombo $2 million, but Robins is still fighting that judgment.
But, there are things far more important in life than millions of dollars and private jets, right? And that's love. So congratulations to the happy couple.
Robins, the son of developer Gerald Robins, got his start in development by taking part in the late '80s gentrification of South Beach. His Dacra Development is now synonymous with renovating the Design District, turning it from a place full of fancy furniture stores into a place full of even fancier clothing stores.
Soffer is the daughter of Donald Soffer, the developer who is basically responsible for the city of Aventura and its famed mall and Turnberry Isle Resort. According to Turnberry Associate's website, Soffer "oversees the company’s retail, hospitality and office divisions, including its globally-renowned, landmark Aventura Mall, one of the top-grossing shopping centers in the United States." Her bother Jeffrey is principal of Turnberry, and, amongst other things, oversaw the renovation of the Fontainebleau Resort. He's married to supermodel Elle Macpherson.
In fact, the first public image of the wedding comes from Macpherson's Instagram.
The Soffers' Turnberry and Robin's Dacra have not officially partnered on any projects, but one recent high profile business move did favor both companies.
For years luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy, which owns scores of designer fashion houses, kept its South Florida locations at Bal Harbour shops. The mall however had tight exclusivity restrictions that kept LVMH from opening stores anywhere else in the region. In 2012, LVMH moved out of the Bal Harbour shops and instead signed leases for various brands at, what do you know, Robin's Design District and Soffer's Aventura Mall. Flagship brand Louis Vuitton, for example, now has locations at both shopping developments after years of calling Bal Harbour home.
In any event, Best of Miami 2016 is still (thankfully) months away, but looks like we have a frontrunner for Best Power Couple already.