Spencer Morris Promoted to President of the Allen Morris Co.

Spencer Morris Promoted to President of the Allen Morris Co.

W. Allen Morris and W. A. Spencer Morris (Allen Morris)

Allen Morris Company’s succession plan is moving along, with the promotion of W.A. Spencer Morris to president of the family owned real estate firm, The Real Deal has learned.

Morris, previously chief investment officer of the Coral Gables-based company, is among the third generation of the family involved in the business. W. Allen Morris, Spencer’s father, will keep his title of chairman and CEO, according to a press release. Morris’ grandfather launched the firm in 1958.

As president, Spencer Morris is responsible for the firm’s $2.5 billion development pipeline in South Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Louisiana, Idaho and Utah, he said. His father is still “highly involved” in the company, Spencer Morris said.

“We’ve had an incredibly smooth transition,” he added. “He’s learned a lot of the lessons and is aware of the pitfalls,” referring to his father, who “gave a lot of space and authority for me to learn my own path.”

Before he joined the Allen Morris Company in 2016, Morris was a development associate at the Related Group, Miami’s largest condo developer, where he worked on the 58-story SLS Lux Brickell hotel and condo tower. Morris gained the required outside experience at Related, similar to what Related’s founder and chairman Jorge Pérez had his sons Jon Paul and Nick do by working at the separate New York-based Related Companies. (Jon Paul was promoted to president of the Related Group in 2020.)

Morris rebuilt the Atlanta division of the Allen Morris Company beginning in 2016, and moved back to Miami full time in the last year.

As president, Morris is also now responsible for asset management, finance and accounting, with less of a project-by-project focus. He will continue to lead the firm’s strategic planning and developer partnerships, he said.

“One of the things that’s changed the business in the last several years is doing multiple projects at a time, versus one at a time,” Morris said, adding that the firm has a more institutional structure while continuing as a family business.

The company plans to break ground on six to eight projects this year in Florida, Idaho and Utah, with several Miami projects in the pre-development phase. It develops mixed-use, office, retail, hotel and residential properties, and also owns the Atlanta-based AMS Hospitality.

Morris said the firm is aware of and cautious about new opportunities, amid fears of a recession due to rising interest rates, inflation, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other factors. But he said Miami in particular has “really strong tailwinds behind it.”

Rents have been surging in Miami during the pandemic. According to Zumper, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Miami in June is $3,290 a month, up more than 26 percent compared to the same period last year.

“We’ve seen significant cost increases over the past 12 to 18 months,” he said. “Luckily in the Sun Belt we’ve also seen enormous job creation and rent growth. When we’re looking at new opportunities, we’re really looking at those markets with enormous job creation.”

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