Real Estate Mogul Don Peebles May Become The Newest Black Billionaire

January 28, 2015  |  

Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Haute Living

America may get another Black billionaire–finally. Oprah Winfrey has been the only African-American billionaire for the last couple of years. But now, real estate mogul Don Peebles may soon reach billionaire status.

Peebles is one of the most successful African-American CEOs in the country and his recent building projects puts him closer to becoming a billionaire.

According to Forbes, his current net worth is estimated at more than $700 million – but he has  several nine-figure developments underway which will soon spike his fortune. “Peebles, 54, says he’s built up his six million square foot portfolio by picking deals that transform and open up opportunities. He’s known for weaving in $10 million and up apartments alongside redevelopment projects in some of the most impoverished areas in cities across the Eastern seaboard,” reports Forbes.

“The projects we tend to be attracted to are those that have greater impact, greater symbolism,” Peebles said. “Our number one focus is that our buildings are vehicles or symbols of opportunity. Our goal is to develop projects that transform communities.”

Peebles, who currently serves as the vice chairman of the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee, may also enter politics.

“Mayor of New York sounds like an interesting job. So does Mayor of Washington, D.C.,” said Peebles, who has personal residences in New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami.

Right now, he’s too tied up with business to run for office though. “His Peebles Corporation secured the bid for its first project in Boston, a $330 million contract to develop a hotel, condo and retail corridor connecting the Berklee and Fenway communities with Newbury Street,” reports Forbes. The contract is the company’s second-largest deal in its history. It’s biggest is a joint condo and retail project in New York City’s Tribeca.

“I attribute my success to access to opportunity,” Peebles said. “The status quo is not a sustainable situation for businesses. It’s in our interest as entrepreneurs to provide greater access to opportunity.”

Peebles has a history of using his business to make social change. In 1998 he bought Miami’s prestigious Bath Club, but two years prior to buying it, he pushed to become the first African-American member to gain admittance to the exclusive club.

“I found the purchase of it somewhat ironic. It was a club that didn’t allow African-American or Jewish members. The fact that I was able to buy it sent a message at the time of how far Miami had come as a city,” he recalled.

Now, expanding that landmark deal by building an intimate, 13-residence property, dubbed The Bath Club Estates. Apartments will range in price from a whopping $10 million to $50 million. The luxury property is set to be completed in 2016.

The Peebles Corporation is also working on other potential developments in such high-profile areas, as Times Square, Chelsea’s technology corridor in New York, and Downtown D.C.

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