Prior to founding The Astor Companies, Henry came to United States from Cuba with his parents, grew up in New Jersey, and later relocated to Miami about ten years later. In the late 1970’s Henry started a seafood distribution business that focused on Florida’s west and central areas; his father had already established a similar business that dominated the Miami-Dade and Broward markets. When his father left the business in 1988, Henry assumed those territories as well. Empire Seafood had 100 employees, several warehouses and other facilities, and a fleet of trucks when Henry sold the business in 2001. Performance Food Group, the third largest firm of its kind in the country, had approached him with an appealing offer. The distribution network that Performance took over covered Florida from north of Orlando to the Florida Keys.
Henry Torres, who had been accustomed to working 80 hours a week, stayed on with the new owners to assure a smooth transition. After a short “retirement,” he realized that his construction and management experience, far-reaching contacts, and his enormous energy made residential real estate development a natural field for him to get involved in.
He has remained a resident and businessman in the South Florida landscape since that time – along the way cultivating an expert knowledge of the city’s many neighborhoods and their lifestyles. Henry continues to support the company’s overall efforts to become one of the most noteworthy real estate developers in the Southeast.
When he founded The Astor Companies in 2002, Henry Torres was motivated by the idea that everyone should be able to afford a luxurious new home in an appealing location.
“When we came to the market, we could already see that conventional real estate thinking was quickly going to eclipse any possible opportunity inherent in the market,” explains Henry of the firm’s beginnings. “Developers were going into areas with huge demand in hopes of a sure sell-out. The problem was – and still is – that the only way to be profitable in that scenario is to offer a price tag that’s well out of reach for the majority of the population. The simple truth is you can't keep building in saturated neighborhoods and expect to attract real-world buyers," explains Mr. Torres of the firm's beginnings.
From its first days, The Astor Companies have redefined true real estate success to be a reflection of its high-quality product, smart locations, and long-term value proposition.
One of the company’s landmark properties at the onset was Brickell Vista, which was built in West Brickell during a time in which development was focused almost solely on Brickell Avenue. Today, of course, the expanded Brickell area reaches well beyond its early perimeter and Brickell Vista is in the heart of a dynamic and in-demand area. On the heels of that success, The Astor Companies leveraged the same thinking into a distinct competitive advantage with such notable projects as Gateway in the Grove in Coconut Grove, Valencia South Miami, Nordica in The Roads, INTown on Calle Ocho and Merrick Manor in Coral Gables.