For years, developer Scott Robins and his half-brother Craig Robins, along with others such as the late Tony Goldman and Mark Soyka, helped lift South Beach out of abject obscurity. They played a big role in making it the crowded tourist mecca it is today. Lately, his longtime business partner turned Miami Beach mayor, Philip Levine, has pulled Robins into the public eye.
“When you’re close politically and when you try to get things done politically, invariably you upset a group of people, ” Robins says. The Robins family has been well connected throughout Miami since patriarch Gerald Robins, who made a fortune in New York City real estate, relocated south in the 1950s.
Levine, whose former company Onboard Media was reportedly worth $85 million in 2000 when it was acquired by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, has long partnered with Robins for Beach development projects.
The latest Robins family domination traces to the late 1990s. Back then, Scott, now 52, and Craig split their business under opaque terms. Scott kept the company’s South Beach holdings, while Craig went on to foment the Design District into the posh monstrosity it is today. Since then, the two have never overlapped geographically. “There’s no noncompete, ” Scott promised.