Stephen Muss

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Stephen Muss
Born1928 (age 90–91)
NationalityUnited States
OccupationBusinessman
Known forReal estate developer
Spouse(s)Sandra Paul Muss
Parent(s)Alexander Muss
FamilyIsaac Muss (grandfather)

Stephen Muss (born 1928)[1] is an American real estate developer known for leading the resurgence and redevelopment of Miami Beach, Florida.

Early life and education[edit]

Muss was born to a Jewish family in New York City[2][3] and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.[4] His father, Alexander, was one of eleven children, six of them brothers who worked for their father's construction company building homes during and after the Great Depression.[2] Muss worked for the family business first as a laborer and then in sales and construction supervision.[2]

Career[edit]

Muss eventually went into a partnership with his father founding Alexander Muss & Sons developing 30 acres of tract homes on Long Island.[2] From 1952 through 1968, they went on to develop over 20 subdivisions with about 20,000 houses in Queens, New Jersey, and on Long Island; they also built over 4,000 multifamily units.[1] In the 1950s, his family moved to Florida[2] His father, now a multi-millionaire, built the Seacoast Towers in Miami Beach,[2] known for the distinctive MiMO architectural style, the Towers of Key Biscayne, and the Towers of Quayside.[4] In 1967, Stephen took over the Florida business, now named the Muss Organization, becoming Miami Beach's single largest landlord.[4]

In 1978, Muss bought the largest hotel in Miami-Dade County, the aging Fontainebleau Hotel (founded by Ben Novack), for $27 million[4] rescuing it from bankruptcy.[2] He injected an additional $100 million into the hotel for improvements[2] and hired the Hilton company to manage it.[4] In 2005, the Muss Organization sold the Fontainebleau to Donald Soffer's Turnberry Associates[5] for $165 million.[4]

Muss was seminal in getting Miami Beach to implement a 3% "bed" tax to rebuild the city's aging infrastructure[4] which included refurbishing and expanding its convention center.[4][6] He was the president of the Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency.[7] In 1994, he sold the Seacoast Towers for $94 million.[4]

Philanthropy[edit]

Muss is the chairman of the Alexander Muss High School in Israel and honorary chairman of The Lapid, Coalition for High School Age Programs in Israel.[8][9] Muss has served as Board Chair of Temple Emanu-El and also served on the Board of the Miami Art Museum and on the Board of Governors of Haifa University.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Muss married the ex-wife of his friend and CenTrust banker David Paul, who was sentenced to eleven years in federal prison.[4] His wife Sandra is a daughter of Holocaust Survivors and was Board Chair of the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach. She is currently a member of the Board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).[10] The Musses are members of Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach.[10]

References[edit]