Aspiring architects often dream of designing iconic structures that leave a lasting impact on the world. However, for Cagri Kanver, a successful real estate developer with Turkish roots, his journey began with a realization that numbers play a pivotal role in shaping the future of architecture. Cagri Kanver delves into his remarkable career trajectory, his family office investments, life philosophy, and the valuable life lessons he instills in his daughter.
How It All Began: Architectural Insights
Cagri Kanver’s journey in the world of real estate development started with an architectural consulting career. Drawing from his Turkish roots and international perspective, he was involved in designing large-scale campuses in emerging markets worldwide, including university campuses, Oil and Gas compounds, and large hospitals. During this phase, he noticed a fundamental aspect that significantly impacted design choices: numbers. The right numbers meant clients would avoid unnecessary expenses, making space analysis crucial to align design visions with practical realities.
This invaluable experience led him to a transition that would define his future success and cement his position in the real estate industry.
Transitioning from Architecture to Real Estate Development
Recognizing that architecture was just one part of the real estate lifecycle, Cagri advises young architects not to give up on their studies and education. He highlights that within the vast realm of real estate, opportunities abound for various roles, including developers, brokers, contractors, and more. In 2008, when the economy took a hit, Cagri’s decision to leave his job at Deloitte Consulting in Chicago led him back to travel between the US and Turkey, where he found himself navigating large-scale projects for the Ministry of Urban Planning. This marked the beginning of his journey into real estate development, as he collaborated with developers, investors, and contractors to bundle real estate strategies with the right teams for successful projects.
Cagri’s exceptional expertise, combined with his Turkish background and overseas connections, soon brought him to invest in real estate development projects in New York, followed by Miami. These endeavors set the stage for the establishment of his new office in Miami’s Design District, set to open this September.
A Vision for Miami’s Design District
Miami’s Design District was in need of high-quality construction, and Cagri seized this opportunity by bringing overseas talent to the US markets. Leveraging his connections in Turkey, he sourced premium Turkish materials such as ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, marble, stone, granite, millwork, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, custom furniture, and office furniture. Not only does this ensure top-notch construction quality, but it also opens up exciting opportunities for Turkish vendors to promote their products through the Miami office.
Diversifying Ventures: El Turco and Watermark Investments
Cagri’s philosophy of diversification and seizing opportunities is evident in his successful ventures beyond real estate development. El Turco, an endeavor in the culinary world, brought the flavors of Turkish cuisine to East Hampton and Miami, proving to be a hit and leading to the establishment of a catering service in both the Hamptons from May to October and Miami from October to May.
Beyond that, he co-founded Watermark Investments, a multi family office LP that invests in various assets across a variety of price brackets nationwide. Their strategy revolves around ground-up projects and partnerships with reliable developers, ensuring good income and diversity in their portfolio. To date they have 13 projects nationwide- rental buildings in Oklahoma, Chicago, and Brooklyn, a logistics center, doctor’s offices, an office campus in Tampa, Bay, all of which have been highly profitable and successful ventures.
As a father, Cagri is passionate about providing the best for his daughter. Though he learned everything on the streets, including soccer which led to a position on the national soccer team, he recognizes the need to study in school and learn by the books. He instills in his daughter the importance of perseverance and hard work, just as he had done when pursuing his dreams in the US. Encouraging her to learn by the book, his sixteen year old daughter has excelled in various pursuits, including mastering Mandarin since she was 3 and passing the most difficult test given in the US, and participating in diverse activities like scuba diving and sailing.
Cagri’s own journey from humble beginnings to becoming a successful entrepreneur and community leader exemplifies the opportunities available in this country. He believes that hard work, dedication, and a willingness to embrace opportunities are the keys to success.
“I arrived here in 1996 and this country gave me an identity and put me on the map. I needed to follow the rules and be more successful by working hard. It’s extremely important for people to know that this country gives opportunities to people as long as you’re ready to grab it. I came with a dream and enough change for dinner. And now I own a restaurant and real estate investments,” Cagri expressed.
As Cagri Kanver continues to make significant strides in the real estate world and beyond, his dedication to his roots and his commitment to inspiring others stand as testaments to his remarkable journey. His new office in Miami’s Design District is just another chapter in a story of success that started with architectural insights and has grown into an empire of diverse ventures and thriving projects.