Uri Man is a Florida real estate mogul and developer. An immigrant with a passion for engaging in large-scale development projects that provide value to local communities, Uri is using a patented technology to bring bodies of water and beach life to communities in Florida and elsewhere that would not otherwise have had access.
What do you do?
I lead Crystal Lagoons partnerships with world-class developers. Founded by Fernando Fischmann in 2008, Crystal Lagoons enables the development and maintenance of lagoons with beach life in any location worldwide at a low cost. We are the only company in the world with a patented technology that enables developers to have large scale bodies of water that are safe for swimming.
Are these lagoons safe for the environment?
Yes, our technology is environmentally sustainable as our lagoons only use a tiny fraction of the water used by a golf course (approximately one thirtieth of the water) or a park (less than 50%) of the same size. The lagoons also use less than 2% of the energy and less than 1% of the chemicals used in conventional swimming pool technology. Our lagoons act as a catch basin for rain, so they use very little water. The lagoons also have the dramatic social impact of enabling people to enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean in their home town. They promote a healthy, active lifestyle by providing opportunities for water sports, such as swimming, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and more.
In 1974 my parents decided to move from Israel to live in the United States for two years. After spending two years in US, my parents decided to stay indefinitely in order to provide a better life for their children, considering all the opportunity that this great country has to offer. I always wanted to be part of an entrepreneurial pursuit. I attended the University of Michigan to earn a degree in business and got my MBA at the University of California, Berkeley, but I had a strong desire to get involved in real estate. My dream was to create a legacy out of my hard work by developing great places where people could live and enjoy their families.
With very little real estate experience, but a background in finance from working on Wall Street for four years before business school, I convinced a local real estate developer to give me an opportunity to learn the real estate development business. In a short period of time, I was able to gain a great deal of responsibility and developed dozens of real estate projects across the state of Florida. In that capacity, I have served as an executive of several of the country’s most prestigious real estate development companies, including the Related Group, Gables Residential, and Ram development. I was ultimately given the Urban Land Institute’s “Young Real Estate Developer of the Year” award for my contributions to the development community and went on to develop several large scale mixed-use projects.
How did Crystal Lagoons come about?
I was sitting in a café in Miami where I was meeting with an ex-colleague from Goldman Sachs. He convinced me that I should meet Fernando Fischmann, whose accomplishments in the field of biochemistry and water treatment are unsurpassed. Immediately following our short meeting, I jumped on a plane to South America to see the Crystal Lagoons that Fischmann had built there. I was anxious to understand what they were all about. While in South America, I quickly realized the value that crystal clear water and beach life can have on the lives of people in the United States. Bringing this innovative technology to the United States seemed like a perfect fit for my dreams and vision to improve the lives of people in the country that has provided me so much opportunity. One of the things that fuels my ambition every day is knowing that the results of my hard work will create a better quality of life for generations to come. We will be idyllic bringing beach life to every part of the US. Imagine the impact these lagoons will have on a family that doesn’t have the economic means to get on a plane and go on a vacation. Essentially, we’re bringing those wonderful experiences to them.
Please tell me about Jungle Island.
This week our partner ESJ Capital Partners announced the inclusion of our technology in the first amusement park to add a Crystal Lagoon with beach life. This will transform the Miami skyline and provide the world’s top amenity to Miami residents. We expect our lagoon to dramatically increase the number of attendees coming to the park, which will make Jungle Island one of the most successful tourist attractions in South Florida. This new contract represents the start of a new era for Crystal Lagoons with the opening of public access lagoons. This model has infinite possibilities for Crystal Lagoons because it can be replicated in parks, shopping malls, stadiums and college campuses.
What is a tip you would share with anyone starting their own business?
To succeed as an entrepreneur or the CEO of a company, focus on one of the most valuable parts of the mind – imagination. You can only think of possibilities for growing a business if you use your imagination. It was with the use of my imagination that I was able to get the community of Delray Beach to stand behind me and demand the approval of a larger than normal real estate project downtown. That project enhanced the security of a blighted area in the city and also provided workforce housing for policemen and firemen, making the city more affordable. At Crystal Lagoons, I lead a team of some of the brightest and most creative people in the world of water technology. Our architects and engineers come up with incredible, innovative ways to add value to real estate projects, which have never before been attempted or even thought about. Imagination has the power to bring people together for a cause and make a difference.
We have more than 600 projects in planning, development, construction and operation worldwide and we expect to announce more than 50 new projects in numerous states across the US over the next 24 months.