Tapping the “impact” of the unexpected has been modus vivendi for Peebles, who dropped out of college and went on to develop buildings and amass a fortune by combining shrewd business strategy and community empowerment. In the late ’80s, he revitalized property in Washington, D.C.’s neglected Anacostia area, which had yet to recover from the 1968 riots. In Miami, he revamped the Royal Palm Hotel, a move that garnered national attention.
In protest of racially biased treatment throughout the city– highlighted by the cool reception Nelson Mandela received during the 1990 visit– black tourists largely boycotted Miami hotels for almost three yars, until a deal was struck in ’93. Part of that deal was to set the stage for a black-owned hotel on South Beach. In came Peebles, who completed his Royal Palm in 2002. He went on to by and redefine The Bath Club, a historically whites-oly retreat of the wealthy that saw its heyday in the 1920s.
Peebles credits his mother, a single parent, with shaping his philosophy. “My mother would alwasy remind me there are greater contributions than just money. I can do projects that can makeme money and break barriers.”
In 2009, Forbes ranked him as the eighth wealthiest African-American in the United States, with a net worth of $350 million. He hobnobs with celebrities and politicians, entertaining Bill Clinton in Florida and watching the Super Bowl with President Obama.