A Tale of Two Brothers

Nitin and Dev Motwani represent the new generation of entrepreneurs who are transforming the face of Miami & Fort Lauderdale. Their story is one of vision, guts, perseverance and family. In the 1970s, their parents Ramola and Ramesh (Bob) Motwani moved to the United States from India, starting an import/export business in St. Charles, Missouri.  After traveling to Fort Lauderdale, they fell in love with Fort Lauderdale Beach and bought the Merrimac, a small mid-century hotel, to capitalize on Spring Break.  At the time, Nitin was seven years old and Dev was six.  They lived at the hotel, and in the young boys’ eyes it was paradise with their own swimming pool.


However, Fort Lauderdale clamped down on Spring Break, and the family had to deal with the severe economic downturn that created a slum and blighted area on Fort Lauderdale Beach.  Both boys remember their parents working 24/7 and doing whatever it took to stay in business.  More important, they remember their parents’ vision of a transformed Fort Lauderdale Beach. Bob died unexpectedly, and Ramola took over running the business, raising her sons, and fulfilling the vision. Over the ensuing years, she assembled blocks of land which ultimately paved the way for world-class resorts.


Both Nitin and Dev have undergraduate degrees from Duke University and masters in real estate development from Columbia University.  Both boys, after seeing how much their parents struggled and how hard they worked, wanted to get far away from the hotel and real estate world.  Nitin became an equity derivatives trader at Goldman Sachs New York and Dev worked at Credit Suisse in New York. But, hotel and real estate development were in their DNA, as was the South Florida lifestyle.  Leaving the corporate environment, Nitin moved back here in 2004 followed by Dev in 2006. 


In a few short years, they both have undertaken significant and transformative projects in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.  Nitin is the managing principal of Miami Worldcenter Associates and, with his partner Art Falcone, is overseeing the development of a $2 billion mixed use real estate project in the heart of downtown Miami.  Encompassing 30 acres of retail, residential and hotel, Miami Worldcenter is the largest urban development project underway in Miami and one of the largest in the U.S. It will be anchored by a retail mall featuring both Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, residential towers, and an 1,800-room Marriott Marquis and expo center. 


Nitin is also the managing director for the Encore Housing Opportunity Fund, a private equity fund focused on real estate investments and development. The Fund oversees more than $1 billion in investment in Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.


Dev is the president of Merrimac Ventures, a Fort Lauderdale based real estate firm that operates hotels, retail, office and rental properties throughout the country.  He is also the founder and managing partner of Ramesh Properties, a real estate investment fund with over $500 million of development projects including the Las Olas Riverfront complex in downtown Fort Lauderdale. His vision and perseverance have brought the Four Seasons, one of the most luxurious brands in the world to Fort Lauderdale Beach. Fort Partners has agreed to purchase the land owned by Merrimac Ventures to develop the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences in Fort Lauderdale. Merrimac Ventures will remain a partner in the Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale.  Dev is also part of the development team for the Gale Boutique Hotel and Residences, a new property being developed just behind A1A on Fort Lauderdale Beach.  This hip, cool South Beach brand will be instrumental in the next wave of beach transformation.  He has multiple other projects underway, both in Fort Lauderdale and the United States.


The brothers, now 36 and 34, have a deep family bond and speak several times a day. It was Dev who ignited the spark that resulted in Nitin and his investors building the Paramount Fort Lauderdale, a luxury condominium on the north end of Fort Lauderdale Beach, overlooking the ocean and the Bonnet House.  They deeply admire and respect their mother, Ramola, and consider her an amazing resource who has taught them perseverance, patience and a positive attitude. Following in her footsteps, they both have numerous civic involvements.  Nitin serves as a board member of the Miami Downtown Development Authority and chairs both the economic and marketing committees.  He is co-chair of Operation Hope for Haiti; serves on the board of University of Miami’s Real Estate program, among other civic involvements and recognitions. Dev serves on the board of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, Downtown Council, Orange Bowl Host Committee, the Broward College Foundation and many other charity and civic endeavors.


Nitin lives in Coral Gables with his wife and two sons, while Dev lives in Fort Lauderdale.  The family enjoys being together; traveling together; sharing fond memories and their vision for Fort Lauderdale and Miami.  They honor their roots yet boldly create a new future for South Florida.

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03 Jun 2015

By Ina Lee