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Full Circle

After a colorful life marked by sports, modeling and showbiz, Horacio LeDon sets his sights on Miami’s sizzling real estate market.

Horacio LeDon’s riches of life experiences should serve him well in his new role with Douglas Elliman.

When Horacio LeDon was named president of development marketing for Florida at real estate giant Douglas Elliman earlier this year, it was with much fanfare. The attention speaks to the breadth of his career, which has included executive positions at Related and Starwood (along with his own real estate firm). By assuming the plum new role (which also includes a second position as managing director of development marketing for New York), LeDon is coming full circle.

LeDon grew up in Coral Gables, but spent much of his professional career in New York and L.A., with a few stints in Florida (he has been credited with brokering more than $1 billion of real estate sales in the three regions). He’s been back in Miami for a year now, living near the Venetian Causeway, with the requisite membership at The Standard. But after “living in the gym for 25 years,” in what he calls the “muscle acquisition phase,” LeDon is now more apt to go for a round of golf than hit the weights.

To hear him tell it, life could have gone in any number of ways. After high school, he was recruited to play basketball for Point Loma College in San Diego. Planning on going to law school, he graduated with a degree in literature and communications (he just reread The Catcher in the Rye and is now trying to tackle War and Peace). He went backpacking through Europe after college and modeled in Milan for two years to help pay his way. “It was a lark,” he says, but a lark that allowed him to see Switzerland, southern Italy and Sweden. At different times, LeDon was represented by Fashion Model Management, Ford Models and Boss.

After the European adventure, he dipped in and out of other endeavors. “I was at a birthday party the other night,” he says, “and the woman throwing the party was talking about how she had celebrated her birthday 20 years ago at a venue called Sinatra Bar, which I owned in the early 1990s.” He’d named the Miami Beach watering hole in honor of a similarly named bar that he had discovered while visiting Marbella. He also had a go in the movie business, trying to make it as a producer and actor, but “in 2001, I decided that I wasn’t going to starve anymore, so I went into real estate.”

With the warm reception of Douglas Elliman’s buzzy projects—including Ian Schrager’s Edition—LeDon finds himself at the forefront of South Florida’s superhot market. And that’s not all: “I’m really excited about the Rem Koolhaas-designed project, Park Grove, in Coconut Grove with Terra Group and Related,” he says, “and then there’s the total reimagining of the Shore Club. We’re in the process of signing up the architect who’s going to completely redo the building. And then we have a project in West Palm Beach that’s going to be amazing as well.” About his chosen profession, LeDon offers no backward glance: “It’s funny how you arrive at what you were meant to be doing. Real estate works completely within my personality spectrum—and with very few exceptions, it’s been nothing but a pleasure.”