06 March 2023

In this week’s episode, Patrick Donley (@jpatrickdonley) chats with Antonia Botero about her fascinating journey from Columbia to the U.S., how a robotics club taught her many important life and entrepreneurial lessons, what her journey in academia was like, what the MADDPROJECT is all about, why the art of asking is an important skill, and what it’s been like designing and building her dream home in Park City.

Antonia brings a wealth of diverse knowledge to her firm with over 15 years of experience in the design and construction industry. 

‍She started her career in luxury landscape design and architecture before transitioning into real estate development.

Her development project management experience ranges from large-scale multi-family conversion and ground-up construction projects in Manhattan to branded and independent hotel renovations across national markets.

Antonia received an M.S. in Urban Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Professional Bachelor degree in Architecture from the University of Miami. She is also a registered architect in Florida, New York and Utah, and is nationally certified by NCARB.



  • What it was like growing up in a real estate family in Columbia.
  • Why robotics played such an important part in her life.
  • How her journey in academia shaped her.
  • Why she wanted to get out into the field and learn construction hands-on.
  • What repositioning a New York office building into luxury apartments was like.
  • How she started her company, MADDPROJECT, and what they focus on.
  • How the art of asking is a key skill to develop.
  • What it’s been like designing and building her own mountain ski home in Park City.
  • And much, much more!


Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

[00:00:02] Antonia Botero: That’s the joy of seeing the building built, being part of the physical work, walking around all day, coming home, covered in dust, exhausted. That is what it is about for me. The work and, and seeing your efforts move the work forward, I was like, this is it for me. This is what I like to do.

[00:00:21] Patrick Donley: Hey guys. In this week’s episode, I got to sit down with Antonia Botero and talked about her amazing journey from Columbia to the United States, how our robotics club taught her many important life and entrepreneurial lessons, what her journey in academia was like, what the MADDPROJECT is all about. Why the yard of asking is an important skill to develop and what it’s been like designing and building her dream home in Park City, Utah.

[00:00:43] Patrick Donley: Antonia started her career in luxury landscape design and architecture before transitioning into real estate development. Her development project management experience ranges from large scale multi-family conversions and ground up construction projects in Manhattan to branded and independent hotel renovations across national markets.

[00:01:01] Patrick Donley: She’s the owner of The MADDPROJECT, which is a boutique real estate project management and consulting firm. Antonia received an MS in Urban Design from MIT and a professional bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Miami. She’s also a registered architect in Florida, New York, and Utah.

[00:01:18] Patrick Donley: It was an absolute pleasure to get the chance to talk with Antonia as I’ve been following her on Twitter for quite some time and following her journey. She provides a ton of value on Retwit and her newsletter is an absolute must read. I think you guys are really going to love this interview, and so without further delay, let’s jump into this week’s episode with Antonia Botero.

[00:01:42] Intro: You are listening to Real Estate 101 by the Investor’s Podcast Network, where your hosts Robert Leonard and Patrick Donley, interview successful investors from various real estate investing niches to help educate you on your real estate investing journey.

[00:02:05] Patrick Donley: Welcome to the Real Estate 101 Podcast. I’m your host, Patrick Donley, and with me today is a really special guest I’m excited to have on the show, Antonia Botero. Antonia, welcome to the show.

[00:02:16] Antonia Botero: Thanks, Patrick. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:02:18] Patrick Donley: Yeah, really happy to have you here. I’ve been following you on real estate Twitter here for, I don’t know, the past month or two, and really excited to have you.

[00:02:26] Patrick Donley: I wanted to start first by talking about your early years. I know that I believe both of your parents were involved in real estate to some degree. I wanted to hear what kind of impact that they had on you. Growing up and kind of what kind of life and business lessons that they imparted to you?

[00:02:41] Antonia Botero: From when I was little, my parents were developers in, in Columbia and a developer in Columbia at that time, like in the 80s and early 90s, it was a little bit different.

[00:02:50] Antonia Botero: There wasn’t this sort of like developer, general contractor divide. There were, if you were a developer, you hired the trades directly. It was a little bit of a different setup. You’re also sort of like a GC/CM role. I just remember going to the job site and playing with sand and, and the smell of concrete and kind of that overall feeling of like making something out of nothing.

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[00:03:12] Antonia Botero: My father’s always done his own thing, like he’s never worked for anyone else. And my mother always stressed the importance of, education. And so, you know, when my parents grew up in Columbia, going to college was not something everyone did, but it was kind of beginning to matter. Like at that time it was like, it was starting to be the thing like, oh, you gotta go to college.

[00:03:30] Antonia Botero: And so, I kind of grew up with that mentality. You know, my mom always sort of said, “you gotta study”. And so that’s kind of one of the things that really she instilled in me. But she didn’t graduate from college and so, and I don’t think she did this intentionally, but she really kind of pushed the idea of hard work.

[00:03:49] Antonia Botero: So it wasn’t so much about you gotta study, it was more whatever it is that you’re going to do, you gotta do it really well. And I think that comes from like entrepreneurship attitude towards life that both my [00:04:00] parents had growing up. I knew that if I wanted something, I had to work for it. Whether it was in sports or academically or if I wanted anything else.

[00:04:08] Antonia Botero: Like it was up to me. Even though my mom didn’t go to college, she always figured things out that kind of just figure it out and you’re going to, you know, you’re going to have to figure it out for yourself was kind of what I grew up with. What comes from that experience or my parents being in real estate. And there’s actually the second part of that story where it’s a rougher part of the story to tell and it’s so basically when my parents were developers, There was a major economic shift in Columbia and many small builders went under, including my parents.

[00:04:38] Antonia Botero: And as a result of that and, and other things, their company went under and ultimately they got divorced. My life growing up after that point with my mom was basically this constant searcher stability because, you know, a lot of the support system that she had sort of assumed she would have to raise me was different all of a sudden.

[00:04:59] Antonia Botero: And so [00:05:00] that’s kind of there, there’s kind of these different parts to that experience of my parents being developers where the hard work, the entrepreneurship, the figure it out attitude also came west. If this goes south, this is what happens. And to experience that as a kid, it really does mark your life and, and a lot of those feelings and, and sort of ideas from that time.

[00:05:22] Antonia Botero: Oh, you know, it explains a lot of the way that I approach business now because I saw, and I lived through the experience of my parents going under and then getting divorced. That obviously has, has shaped my life and the way that I do the work. And in a lot of ways too, it really has cemented that the more I look back, the more I see that building things, making something out of nothing has been a theme forever.

[00:05:48] Antonia Botero: And to me that’s been really the way that I’ve approached finding that stability in my life and my family now. So it’s a really cool way to sort of look back and make the connections, but there’s [00:06:00] definitely the tougher parts of the story that that are definitely there. It’s had a massive impact. Your

[00:06:06] Patrick Donley: early years were in Columbia, and then at what age did you come to, you were in Miami, is that

[00:06:12] Antonia Botero: correct?

[00:06:14] Antonia Botero: That’s right. I was born in Columbia and we lived there until I was about nine years old and then I moved to the US with my mom at that time.

[00:06:22] Patrick Donley: Okay. And then your mom, did she continue in construction in the US or did she, was she doing all kinds of things just to get by?

[00:06:30] Antonia Botero: So she was always kind of involved in some sort of business endeavor.

[00:06:34] Antonia Botero: You know, she was always trying to find a way. A lot of that did end up being in real estate because she did have a background in it. And it wasn’t just related to the fact that she had the experience, but she also had the network. And there were several developers, Columbian developers who had moved to the US and at some point she did end up working as a property manager and and leasing agent for in-house for a Columbian developer.

[00:06:56] Antonia Botero: And that was the majority of my high school years. In the [00:07:00] sort of right before that, she actually ended up being consult for the Columbian government. Talk about figuring it out. I mean, she was like, my mom has had the most fabulous lives. Like she’s been a flight attendant. She lived in Myorca and was like a travel guide.

[00:07:18] Antonia Botero: She’s done. She was a Colombian. Cons for the Columbia government in Miami. And she’s just had some fabulous stories in a really rich life that is also super inspiring to me to see her kind of not have that fear to say, well, I’ve never done that before, but I’m going to figure it out because, you know, financially she had to, but also like from a, a, an adventure standpoint.

[00:07:42] Antonia Botero: And she was just like, oh, it’s going to be a great adventure. Like, I’m, I’m going to be console now. I’m going to figure it out. And to me it’s also been the looking back and hearing people’s stories about my mom and realizing that that ethos of like super hard work and just being excellent at what you do, like that’s all that people ever have to say about my mom.

[00:07:59] Antonia Botero: And [00:08:00] that makes me super proud. And that’s kind of the thing that really she really taught me was hard work. Being excellent at what you do, keeping your word and, and just being a good human will take you far in terms of your professional career. And so that’s my mom.

[00:08:17] Patrick Donley: I also wanted to talk a little bit more about your younger years.

[00:08:20] Patrick Donley: I asked Bobby Fien this question about when he was young, was he more into like the wheeling and dealing of Monopoly or if he was more into like the design architecture aspect of Legos. And so I wanted to hear more about you as a kid. Were you, did you lean in one direction or the other?

[00:08:35] Antonia Botero: I always drew from when I was little and like I mentioned, I grew up on a construction site when my parents were developers making things and taking things apart, putting things back together was really what it was for me.

[00:08:47] Antonia Botero: It was like drawing was just what the girls did. I liked getting so that I had that outlet and it was kind of encouraged, but I really just liked taking things apart and figuring out how things. That was more my [00:09:00] speed. And then in high school I did robotics and that opened up a whole entire world of things that I couldn’t ever have imagined.

[00:09:07] Antonia Botero: I finally understood what design and engineering meant, and I was fortunate that my high school participated in a program called First Robotics and its first stance were for recognition. Were inspiration and recognition of science and technology. And that’s really what the program’s about. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that.

[00:09:25] Antonia Botero: But we also did Battle Bots IQ and Battle Bots is now on like Discovery Channel, like you can watch it, it’s super cool. And some of the people that I did Robotics Loop when I was in high school, they’re like now like in their forties and they’re on battle bots and it’s super cool cause I know them, right?

[00:09:41] Antonia Botero: I’m like, oh, I, I build robots with that guys. But basically, first Robotics is where I learn more generally this idea of the abundance mentality that now we talk about a lot and that’s become a little bit more mainstream. And I grew up in competitive sports. I grew up playing tennis, and so competition was natural to me.

[00:09:59] Antonia Botero: I, I was used to [00:10:00] it, but all of a sudden when you go into robotics, there was this whole entire different thing. I mean, it was completely different. It was competitive, but it was different. So I’ll go back to that. But essentially, first Robotics is a task-based competition and there’s this field designed with a sequence of activities.

[00:10:16] Antonia Botero: And so you have to, usually the field has two sides, and then you have two robots that compete against each other. There’s a time period and there’s all these roles. Your robot came way more than a certain amount, and you can only use certain components and it’s pretty serious. And my story with first is really interesting because about 10 years ago, I actually mentored a team, and so I got to see the program from a completely different perspective than I did when I was participating as a student.

[00:10:42] Antonia Botero: When I was a student. The thing that I found really remarkable that really sticks with me to this day is the generosity that everyone showed with the work. And first has this tradition, and I think this is such a cool story, has this tradition of team buttons. You know those like buttons that you make with the button machine and you put [00:11:00] your picture on them, whatever.

[00:11:01] Antonia Botero: So each team makes their own buttons and you bring them to competition and you make a thousand buttons and you show up to competition. And the first competition that we had, and I didn’t know about this, right? We show up to Orlando to this competition coach gives each of us like a handful of buttons and he says, go and talk to other teams.

[00:11:17] Antonia Botero: Go trade those buttons, come back with a bunch of other teams buttons, talk to them, ask them how they overcame the challenges of the competition. Ask them where they’re from, ask them what their schools are like. Like go, just go talk to all these people. And it, it began to create this familiarity with the other teams and, and the sort of shared bond of building a.

[00:11:38] Antonia Botero: You know, like we had this shared experience of building a robot that created this bond from people with people that we would’ve never met otherwise that were from, we were from, I grew up in Miami, and so we were meeting teams from like Iowa in like California, and they had these amazing stories that were so different from ours.

[00:11:56] Antonia Botero: And so it was this crazy world that that opened up and that [00:12:00] familiarity was just really great. And it’s something that when I came to Coach Robotics, I realized they call this coopertition and it’s sort of like cooperation and competition. It’s so geeky, but I didn’t know that term when I was in high school participating.

[00:12:18] Antonia Botero: I learned about it after the fact that I’m like, oh, that’s what was. And the mentors and the, the coaches that built these teams, they, they really were great at transmitting it to the students, right? Because you’re teaching kids a fairly complex, I think that’s a very mature and complex thing to teach a kid to say, go talk to other people, make bonds with people who are different than you, and we’re going to do it based on this robot that we built.

[00:12:40] Antonia Botero: And then it began sort of building on top of that, this whole idea that everyone wanted everyone else to succeed. If someone had a fried motor and you had an extra one, you gave it to them, right? There was no question. Even if you ended up seeing that team in a match later on in the competition, you didn’t want to win because you were selfish.

[00:12:59] Antonia Botero: [00:13:00] You wanted to win because you were the best. Right? There was nothing more disappointing than not competing. Like losing was like, okay, you did your best. You did amazing. You broke a record, you learned all these things. Cool. If you got there and for whatever reason the other team got defaulted, maybe the robot wasn’t working or, or they were outside parameters and weren’t allowed to compete, that was more disappointing because you didn’t want to win because the other team couldn’t compete.

[00:13:26] Antonia Botero: That is such a complex thing to teach a high school kid. I mean, that is, to me, to this day, it’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life and it affects my business, you know, every day. And so when I mentor the team later, you know, 10 years ago I realized the program was like so much more, right?

[00:13:44] Antonia Botero: It wasn’t just building the robot and, and talking to all these people from all these other places. It was, it’s like running a business the way that they give you the support. And so it’s kind of, there’s different departments, there’s marketing, there’s fundraising, because you gotta pay for all these trips and all these materials and stuff.[00:14:00]

[00:14:00] Antonia Botero: And then a big part of that is grant writing. There’s a lot of grants that are available. But essentially the way that the coaches are supposed to show it to the kids is they’re supposed to, you’re supposed to teach them to run a company. So there’s like marketing, fundraising, business planning, logistics of setting up the trips.

[00:14:17] Antonia Botero: You gotta do the hotel reservations, you gotta figure out where you’re going to have your meals like, and you’re having the kids do all this. It is a fantastic program. I mean, I could speak about this for days because it’s all of a sudden space for all those kids who maybe are not great academically and maybe they’re not great in sports either.

[00:14:35] Antonia Botero: And so all of a sudden, entrepreneurship is really where it’s at for them. And the kid. You know, we had a kid that was this, he created these insane designs. He was, he could draw and he created this insane logo for the team and this beautiful robot transformer looking. Their team mascot was like the Buccaneers.

[00:14:55] Antonia Botero: And so he did like a transformer with like a pirate hat. And it was [00:15:00] amazing. Like I was floored. I was like, this kid is 14 years old. And so now it was then getting this to the other kids in the team who could figure out how to put this into a hoodie. And then it was like, okay, go find out what the budget is.

[00:15:12] Antonia Botero: Okay. Do we have enough money to do that? Okay, no, we gotta do a bake sale to afford the hoodies. I mean, and it was just this fantastic world that isn’t an amazing opportunity for, for high school kids. I mean, I, I could not like sell it enough. And it kind of goes back to the founder first. This guy’s called Dean Cayman, and he’s this fascinating character.

[00:15:30] Antonia Botero: I think he’s received like hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Defense to do, to invent things. And he’s just amazing. And I probably am not doing his story any justice, but the way that he’s chosen to give back by creating this program and instilling all of these really beautiful principles into it, I think it’s just, there’s no.

[00:15:50] Antonia Botero: I don’t think there’s a good way to measure that impact, and I can tell, tell you, for my life, not only did it cement my love for making things and understanding how [00:16:00] things are made, but it taught me that abundance mentality, which is now the core of how I run my work and the empathy and the other side that is so crucial in, in negotiation and in building strong teams.

[00:16:14] Antonia Botero: Whenever people ask me about this conversation, oh, did he play with Legos or whatever, I’m like, no, but let me tell you about robotics. Because it wasn’t just about the sting, it was about the generosity behind it and the self-reflection and, and all of these really massive principles that you kind of discover for the first time when you’re that age.

[00:16:33] Antonia Botero: But then you build on in life as you grow up and as you get to know yourself as an individual. That’s kind of my story of how I, I came to love to make things.

[00:16:42] Patrick Donley: That’s super cool. I, I mean, it sounds like so many great experiences and really formative for you. I mentioned before we started here, I’ve got a stepson who’s into robotics.

[00:16:51] Patrick Donley: He’s in eighth grade and he’s kind of at that age where it’s like he wants to be in with the cool kids, but he’s not, you know, he is not good at sports. I mean, he [00:17:00] really is into Legos and robotics, and he’s like, that’s his passion. But you’re starting to get peer pressure at that age that like, ah, robotics isn’t cool, so we’re dealing with that.

[00:17:10] Patrick Donley: I’d love for him to continue to have the experience that you had and, and learn some of those lessons. But we’ll see.

[00:17:17] Antonia Botero: To be honest, I think it’s really cool. And when you look at the companies that back first, or even the companies that back battle bots, it’s remarkable. I mean, some of those people are putting rockets into space.

[00:17:27] Antonia Botero: I mean, it’s kind of like what’s becomes cool, you know, as you get older, you look back and you’re like, him, like, that kid that I went to school with is now putting rockets in space. Like, that’s pretty neat. I’m sure that that’s something that happens as he grows. That’s

[00:17:43] Patrick Donley: exactly what I told him last night.

[00:17:44] Patrick Donley: I said, some of those kids that you’re with now are going to do amazing things and the cool kids that you think you want to hang out with, like hmm. Their lives might not not be that remarkable. That’s really cool though. I, I love hearing that story. So, at what age, so you’re in high school, you’re doing robotics, sounds like you were doing tennis as well.[00:18:00]

[00:18:00] Patrick Donley: What age did you decide to pursue architecture and, and tell us about that next step for you?

[00:18:07] Antonia Botero: For me, I mean, I always wanted to be a real estate developer and the way that I grew up, because drawing was encouraged, it was almost like a not a choice. Like, you’re like, well if you want to be a developer, you need to know how to build buildings, because that’s how I understood it.

[00:18:22] Antonia Botero: If you wanted to do business, you went to business school and that business may or may not be development. When I went to school, there wasn’t this whole, like the real estate programs were just starting to be a thing. I think I, I remember the University of Miami started the real estate program when I was either a junior or a senior in my five year undergrad.

[00:18:45] Antonia Botero: They weren’t, it wasn’t like a choice so much, and so I said, well, if I want to go do this, I need to learn how to build buildings and you learn how to build buildings in architecture school. That was just logical, which looking back a lot of people will say, well, not [00:19:00] necessarily, but that’s the path that I had chosen and that it was a path that I was well suited for.

[00:19:04] Antonia Botero: I was really great academically. I could draw really well, and so it really just made sense from an aptitude standpoint to go to architecture school. My dad really wanted me to go to architecture school, and so when it came time to choose what to major in, I chose international relations. And so at that point, through the turns of life and that it really was not my choice, I ended up being recruited into the University of Miami School of Architecture.

[00:19:34] Antonia Botero: Because my initial intention to do international relations did not work out for a whole host of reasons. Many of them related to my immigration status, and so I ended up having to come back to Miami and go to architecture school. That was I, that ended up being the only choice I had at the time, which is pretty wild because obviously that was the path that was intended for me.

[00:19:58] Antonia Botero: I went to the University of Miami [00:20:00] and I have a five year degree in architecture. It’s a professional degree. It’s n a b accredited, which is what you need to do if, if you want to eventually sit for the arch architectural registration exam. That’s kind of how I, I ended up going to architecture school.

[00:20:15] Patrick Donley: Did the international relations dream, was that because your mom was doing some, she was a console or how did that.

[00:20:22] Antonia Botero: A hundred percent. And so when my mom was a consult, she had a pretty tough job. She for a little while, she did, she was like on the visa desk. And so she would issue visas for a special visa, not just like tourists who wanted to go to Columbia. Not a lot of people require tourist visas to go to Columbia, but for example, she did a lot of visas for like the US Southern command.

[00:20:44] Antonia Botero: So there was a lot of, there’s a lot of military, US military bases in Columbia. And so a lot of the military people went in and out. They needed a special visa to be doing these specific military operations. And anyway, so my mom spent a ton of time there [00:21:00] and you know all the stories of these like fantastic characters that she got to like issue visas for, right?

[00:21:05] Antonia Botero: Like these people had some crazy stories about all over the world. And that was a little bit of it. And then the second part of her tenure at the consulate, she ended up being. Whenever someone goes to prison in a foreign country, your government steps in and provides some consular assistance to ensure that youth human rights are being honored.

[00:21:25] Antonia Botero: That was your job, which was in a really difficult time of the Columbia US history, because that was in the early two thousands when the US was extraditing, all of the Colombian drug lords, and most of them are in federal prison in Florida. A lot of the work that my mom had to do would be to go and speak to these people who are international drug lords.

[00:21:50] Antonia Botero: Also crazy stories, and it was a mix of are, you know, are you human rights being honored, you’re getting access to your lawyer, your processes following the [00:22:00] law. And in addition to that, it was sort of letting them know that all of their possessions were being taken by the government back in Columbia. It was this complex, sort of a lot of law and a lot of these international stories.

[00:22:14] Antonia Botero: And so of course that prompted my interest in saying, well, you know, maybe there’s more to life than making things in building buildings. Let me study some of that. And, and I think I, you know, the idea of I had to take some anthropology classes and some, like, I know there had this class called Art of Africa and it was, it fulfilled one of those requirements to study international relations.

[00:22:33] Antonia Botero: And, and honestly like, it was amazing. Like the idea of like those people who are different than you and that empathy that it requires to kind of bridge that gap. And I’ve come to learn now that that applies to anything you do in life. And that to me, at the time was very intriguing and very interesting.

[00:22:50] Antonia Botero: And I loved reading and I loved Latin American literature. And there, there was a sort of, I wanted to kind of get back to not just being in the us I, for me, being a child of [00:23:00] an immigrant really that grew up kind of here and there. You’re not from here or from there. When I talk to my cousins in Columbia, they’re like, oh my gosh, you’re so American.

[00:23:08] Antonia Botero: And then when I talk to people here, they’re like, oh my gosh, you’re so exotic. And what toque. Anyway, that’s kind of where I came from and that was short-lived. Let’s

[00:23:17] Patrick Donley: talk about why you decided to go to MIT, which is awesome, and pursue an advanced degree there

[00:23:25] Antonia Botero: for sure. I graduated undergrad in 2008, and leading up to that, especially in Miami, everyone was like, well, you’re not going to get a job.

[00:23:33] Antonia Botero: Like you’re just not, you know, the economy doesn’t exist right now. There’s no jobs for you, so you’re going to go to graduate school and you’re going to become a professor. And so, you know, you’re like 22 and you’re like, okay. I applied to grad school and I got into MIT and I wanted to study urban design because a lot of the work that we did at the University of Miami was also very urban oriented.

[00:23:56] Antonia Botero: You know, the dean at the time was Elizabeth Pla Iberg. [00:24:00] She is one of the leaders of new urbanism. And so that was sort of instilled in all the work that we did, all the studios, all the design that we did, it was like the urban right. 99% of people who experienced your buildings are never going to go inside of them.

[00:24:13] Antonia Botero: That was super intriguing to me. And also the idea of studying cities and how people built and how people conceived of cities. And I, again, that same like empathy and idea of like making things just really came together for me in urban design. And the idea was that I was going to become a professor. If you are going to become a professor, you definitely need a master’s degree and you might also need a PhD, which I ended up applying for and getting into and then deciding that I was sort of done.

[00:24:43] Antonia Botero: And the economy had come back and New York wasn’t a, an option. So that took a different course. But at the time, the reason I went to grad school was because of the moment when I graduated and, and sort of the market at the time. It just led me there. And also again, I had the aptitude for [00:25:00] academia. I was good at it.

[00:25:02] Antonia Botero: I liked it. It was enjoyable and, and it spoke to me at the time. So it, I think it was a great choice. And again, now I’m looking back, it was a choice that was meant for me in something that I use a ton in my work. That was kind of the, the path.

[00:25:17] Patrick Donley: After you graduated from MIT, you took a job in New York City.

[00:25:21] Antonia Botero: That’s right. I moved to New York and I wanted to build buildings That started to become more and more clear at that point, I think, you know, academia ultimately was not for me, and it wasn’t because of the work, it was because of the politics. And very quickly I was like, hmm. Not only that, but I, I did want to see things come out of the ground.

[00:25:41] Antonia Botero: I was like, I had published some things and I had been part of publications and books and I was like, this is cool to have this physical thing that you’ve made. Now I, I want a building. The way to do that was going to New York and building buildings in New York. So I went to work for a big shop, big architect in New York and they did all kinds of things.

[00:25:58] Antonia Botero: You know, they, they did [00:26:00] historic preservation and they did a lot of uler process, which is the rezoning process of Manhattan really? Of New York. And they basically got entire trends of Manhattan rezone. They also did a lot of institutional work. They did new construction and like any architect, the PRUs is in New York.

[00:26:16] Antonia Botero: You do a lot of existing conditions work cause there’s so much existing building stock, tons of choices. And at the time they hired me because of my urban design background, not because of the new construction side. They didn’t know that. Right. And so when I got there, I’m like, okay, well what’s the lay of the land?

[00:26:33] Antonia Botero: I ended up working on a, with a very design oriented sort of principal. He wasn’t really a partner, but he was sort of right about to become a partner. And then there was the guy who did new construction, and that’s the guy I wanted to work with. And at the time I was like, well, I, I know how to do all these things and I would just take on any work that was extra and I was new.

[00:26:54] Antonia Botero: It was like, well give any extra work to Antonia, like she just started working here. Right. Thankfully that meant I ended up working with every [00:27:00] single partner in the firm, which was unusual at the time because they had so many different niche expertise. You know, one did urban design, one did campus stuff, one did preservation.

[00:27:11] Antonia Botero: I really want to work as a new construction guy. But he was super intimidating, right? He had just become a partner and he, so he was one of the younger partners, and he was just this huge personality. And I was like, oh my gosh. Like, but the only way was to, to talk to him. And so I kind of stalked his office for a couple of weeks because he was very busy Ray.

[00:27:29] Antonia Botero: And so I could never catch the guy. So I stalked his office, I would like pass by and I’d be like, is he in there? You know? And finally I got him and I’m like, Hey, look, I want to work with you. I want to be in the field. I want to do construction administration. And so he was like, okay, well you’re going to go have to tell the guy that you’re working with, the guy who hired you.

[00:27:46] Antonia Botero: You’re going to have to tell him that you want to work with me now.

[00:27:49] Patrick Donley: And you were hired as a, an architect that wanted to go out into the field.

[00:27:55] Antonia Botero: And this is one of the things that we kind of comes up a lot. Architects do all kinds of things. Like [00:28:00] they don’t just draw, you also do a lot of observation of the construction process.

[00:28:04] Antonia Botero: And I was really interested in that part of it. And actually you need some experience in that part of it. To get your license, first you gotta get your professional degree, then you gotta get your experience and then you have to, depending on the state, some states let you sit for the exam, right? When you graduate.

[00:28:21] Antonia Botero: Some states you have to get a certain amount of experience before they even let you sit for the exam. And so in New York State, you have to have, I think like a year of experience before you can sit for the exam. Whereas in Florida where I had graduated from, you don’t, I ended up becoming registered in Florida before I became registered in New York.

[00:28:38] Antonia Botero: But anyway, you need the experience in the field. I didn’t want it just for the sake of registration. I wanted it because I wanted to be out there. I I wanted to smell the concrete and play with the sand and see the buildings come out of the ground. But now I had to go and tell this guy who had been really wonderful to me, who had hired me, that now I wanted to work with this other partner.

[00:28:57] Antonia Botero: And so it was this really [00:29:00] hairy situation because I was like, I don’t want to let him down, but I really want to do this. And so I ended up doing both and I learned a ton in that, in that whole process.

[00:29:09] Patrick Donley: It’s a common theme. I interviewed Sean Sweeney about a month or so ago and, and just like the idea, the theme of just taking on whatever you can do to learn, it’s something that he did.

[00:29:20] Patrick Donley: It sounded like something that you did as well. And so you’re in two different, were you under two different department heads in a sense?

[00:29:27] Antonia Botero: Yeah. And at the time I was also working a little bit with one of the partners who did historic preservation and, and he did a lot of institutional work. And at that time we did, we were doing tax, we were doing briefs for cases that, for tax credit cases that had gone, that the i r s had contested.

[00:29:48] Antonia Botero: So people will go in and apply for tax credits based on the historical designation of their buildings. And the i r s after, in like additional review, came back and said, you don’t get these tax credits. That’s actually [00:30:00] not how the zoning would work, or you wouldn’t have been able to do that kind of building so you don’t deserve those tax credits.

[00:30:05] Antonia Botero: And in order to defend that, the IRS hired this firm. I was doing all kinds of stuff. I was working on the, the whole east side access for the grant, grand Central Terminal. I worked on that. I worked, I was working on the tax cases. I was working in on a building that had a historic facade that we had to keep, but then we had to build a building behind it.

[00:30:27] Antonia Botero: I was working on a massive rezoning of, of Manhattan to a process. And then we followed with an RFP and we won. And I was working on the interior design for the public areas, for the World Trade Center. And it was just like, and this was within a year. I mean, I had worked on all these different projects in the span of a year.

[00:30:45] Antonia Botero: I was also working on new construction for two buildings in Manhattan. And I was extremely fortunate because they were all very open to giving me the work, which they didn’t have to do. You know, this, I think the office at that time had made 50 people and, and [00:31:00] I think it, what happened is that that time it was like, it’s 2000, 2012.

[00:31:03] Antonia Botero: So they had just started hiring again after the 2008 slowdown that everyone suffered. I was very new and there weren’t a ton of young people and there weren’t a ton of young people to give all this extra work to. And so I was just very happy to work with all the different partners.

[00:31:20] Patrick Donley: Such a good experience.

[00:31:22] Patrick Donley: So at what point did you go out into the field and what were you doing?

[00:31:26] Antonia Botero: Yeah, so at the time it was that building that about the historic facade that we had to keep and then we had to build the building behind it. That building was super cool because number one, the whole premise of it, right? You’re keeping the facade, but you’re building a building behind it.

[00:31:39] Antonia Botero: So we had to brace that facade and, and it was really tough getting in there. The lot was a narrow Manhattan lot. You had neighbors on both sides. You were in a historic district. There was just so many complex aspects to it. But it was a small project, right? It, it was, it was manageable. So the partner in charge of [00:32:00] construction, he was like, okay, well we’ll start you here where it’s manageable.

[00:32:03] Antonia Botero: It’s small enough, but it’s still complex and interesting. And it was a great, he was, that was a great match. Like he knew exactly. He was very good at that. Were

[00:32:12] Patrick Donley: you the lead project manager or were you learning from somebody?

[00:32:16] Antonia Botero: No, I was basically handed off to this project. It was okay. It’s been designed, it’s been drawn.

[00:32:21] Antonia Botero: It’s starting Construction Europe. Go. That’s wild, wild, wild.

[00:32:29] Patrick Donley: Let’s talk more about that. Like how were you, I mean, were you teaching yourself? Did you, was he like guiding you along the way? Did you have a bunch of interaction with him day to day that was like, here’s what you need to do next?

[00:32:40] Antonia Botero: Yeah, so it was a mix.

[00:32:41] Antonia Botero: I knew enough to ask questions, right? I knew. I knew that there were things that I didn’t know. And so there was a mix of things. There was obviously you’re sitting in an open studio where there’s people around you and at the time I think that a guy had just been hired, a more senior guy had been hired to do exclusively construction administration.

[00:32:58] Antonia Botero: I had a ton of questions about how to [00:33:00] read drawings, like stuff like that. And he was so generous. I would be like, Hey Raphael, how do I do this? And he’d be like, look here and open this page and look in the specs and this is why you refer to that. And that’s a big chunk of it. The other part was, you know, the principal, his name’s Carlos, Carlos song we’re.

[00:33:17] Antonia Botero: Friends, and he was like, look, you’re going to make mistakes and that’s fine. And he’s like, and all you have to do is just own up to them right away. Come talk to me and we solve it. And that’s it. He’s like, you’re going to screw this up. And then he would sit there and he would give me these, like, he would basically give me a masterclass in construction detailing.

[00:33:36] Antonia Botero: I mean, it was wild. Like he would sit with me, he’s like, this is how waterproofing works. And he would just draw it in front of me and he’d be like, and this is how you think through this de, it wasn’t just about this is a detailed gold copy and put it on paper. It was like, this is how you think about this.

[00:33:49] Antonia Botero: And so that was tremendous. And it, it was that mix. And then also the first time I did, I had to review all the shop drawings that came in, and all of a sudden I had to do rebar sharp drawings, which are really complex. And if you’ve [00:34:00] never done them before, you’re looking at these drawings and you’re like, I have no clue what I’m looking.

[00:34:03] Antonia Botero: And so I picked up the phone and I called a structural engineer. And, and again, also someone that I worked with many, many years following that. And she was wonderful. I was like, Heather, I’m like, I don’t know what I’m looking at. Is this a plan? Is this a section? What does this mean? I’m like, what am I checking this for?

[00:34:18] Antonia Botero: And she would just laugh and she’d be like, okay, let me slam a student. She would walk me through, and that’s how I learned. And it was this whole village and this generosity of people who, you know, the guy who worked in the studio. Like he didn’t have to take his time to teach me, like we didn’t work together.

[00:34:33] Antonia Botero: Technically, he just kind of sat next to me. But we were on the same team. We worked for the same company. We were both in construction. He was like, let me show you. So that, that was, that was really wonderful. About, about that time too in that I had all these people around me who were, who were there.

[00:34:49] Patrick Donley: Did you feel like it was a sink or swim type of situation, or did you feel like they were going to do whatever they could to help you succeed in the project?

[00:34:58] Antonia Botero: I think there was the perception of [00:35:00] sink or swim, but the reality was I had all the support and nobody wanted to see me fail. Like, right. Just because that would’ve made no sense. That would’ve been bad for the company. It would’ve been bad for the project. I mean, the reality was, I, I, I had all these people who were there.

[00:35:15] Patrick Donley: How was that? Once you got out into the field, what kind of reception did you get? Was that a tough segue from working into the office? I mean, that’s a big change.

[00:35:25] Antonia Botero: It wasn’t the first time I had been really in the field. When I was in architecture school. I worked in landscape and we did a good bit of being in the field.

[00:35:33] Antonia Botero: I mean, it wasn’t every day, but it was enough that I was, I wasn’t entirely uncomfortable. The contractor, I think at first was a little bit weary of me. He was like, oh my gosh, you’re so young, and like, are you really going to be helpful here? Very quickly he realized that I was on his team too, and that I could help him come up with solutions to some challenges because this was a really challenging project and I was also very willing to work with him on different solutions.

[00:35:57] Antonia Botero: But one of the first times that we went out there, he [00:36:00] did want to have a meeting on the scaffold outside the building in February and it was like 20 degrees. And he decided, he’s like, well, we gotta go look at the facade and we gotta look at it in the scaffold, like on the scaffold and like the fifth floor.

[00:36:15] Antonia Botero: And I was just standing out there like freezing, like dying. And I’m like, this guy, like, you don’t need to have the meeting there. Like you can go look at it and you could go back inside. It was like one of those, this is how we do it, you know, seven 30 in the morning about Tuesday. A little bit of a test a little bit.

[00:36:32] Patrick Donley: Yeah. So how many years were you at that firm before you moved on from them?

[00:36:38] Antonia Botero: I was there for about three years. I became registered and the minute that I got my license in New York, I was like, okay, I did it. I’m an architect now I gotta go. I gotta work in development. It was just like the next, it was the plan, right?

[00:36:54] Antonia Botero: Then I made the jump to work in real estate development in-house or a developer. What kind of

[00:36:59] Patrick Donley: [00:37:00] projects were you working on

[00:37:01] Antonia Botero: with them? That was for real, sink or swim, because I was no longer in that environment of generosity and teaching and, and I didn’t have this community of, of

[00:37:11] Patrick Donley: people, so totally new experience, right?

[00:37:14] Patrick Donley: I mean, because you had the robotics background where everything’s, I forget the word you used. Cooperative or not? Cooperation. Cooperation. . And so now you’re in this new environment where it’s highly competitive probably, and you don’t have any of the coddling or whatever you want to call the word.

[00:37:31] Antonia Botero: Yeah, I mean it was weird because also in architecture, not, there wasn’t coddling, right?

[00:37:35] Antonia Botero: It was more like, well, you, you screwed this up. Do you go figure it out and come back to me when you have a solution? So there was a lot of that, but it was okay and it was part of the process. When I went into development, it was a completely different world and there was, it reminded me more of academia.

[00:37:50] Antonia Botero: It was, the politics were insane and it was like all of a sudden all these feelings were on the table and not [00:38:00] mine. Right? It was like the guy that I worked with or the, my boss, the guy that I worked for, it was that contractor and that other guy. And like if you spoke to them in a certain way, they got offended.

[00:38:12] Antonia Botero: But if you were, if you were helpful, it was bad. If you weren’t too, if like, if you were too helpful, that was also not good and you were just like, that was a lot. It’s

[00:38:21] Patrick Donley: like a minefield to

[00:38:23] Antonia Botero: navigate. Absolutely. So that was kind of the biggest shift there. And then kind of going back to the real ownership, the realization that the only thing that I could do was own all of my decisions and do excellent work if people get their feelings hurt because you’re competent.

[00:38:44] Antonia Botero: There’s always so much you can do about that. Like you’re going to do the best that you can to move the project forward. You’re going to put in all of the technical expertise that you have now in construction. Y you know you’re going to do the best that you can, but there’s only so much you could do in, in some of those situations.

[00:38:59] Antonia Botero: And, [00:39:00] and that was like, to me, that was the bigger learning experience too. The fact that I saw how some of the business side of these things worked was very eye-opening because these people were ruthless. I mean, there were moments that I was just like, is this okay? And it’s like, no. Like this is how the world

[00:39:17] Patrick Donley: works.

[00:39:19] Patrick Donley: Did you ever question if the whole industry was for you at that point?

[00:39:23] Antonia Botero: No. No, I, because part of it too. So my role was I was a project manager and the majority of the projects were very close to where their office was located. And so I actually spent a ton of time on site, more than ever, more than when I was an architect.

[00:39:36] Antonia Botero: And again, to me that was, that’s the joy of seeing the building built, being part of the physical work, walking around all day, coming home, covered in dust, exhausted. That is what it is about for me. The work and, and seeing your efforts move the work forward, I was like, this is it for me. This is what I like to do.

[00:39:56] Patrick Donley: So what were some of the projects you guys were developing at that time? [00:40:00]

[00:40:00] Antonia Botero: Bad developer. They’re, they’re actually notorious for this kind of work because it’s really hard work. They do large scale repositioning of office buildings into luxury rentals. And they mostly do it or not, mostly they do it exclusively in downtown, in the financial district of Manhattan.

[00:40:18] Antonia Botero: And so you have these massive buildings, I mean, they’re half a million to 2 million square feet and it’s these ginormous floor plates and it’s how do you turn that into your residential? And they figured out a really good formula between the age of the buildings, the way that the Manhattan Code is written and the way that they’ve been able to finance some of these deals it they’ve just made.

[00:40:41] Antonia Botero: They found a really great combo of circumstances that, that make these projects work really well. And then they hold them. They, they also, they self-manage. They, they’re vertically integrated and they’re an owner gc, so they hold all the contracts directly with the trains and then they work with a construction manager and they have a really close [00:41:00] relationship with to actually manage the day-to-day of, of the project.

[00:41:04] Antonia Botero: That’s how

[00:41:04] Patrick Donley: they do it. So they’re taking existing or semi vacant office space, turning it into high-end luxury apartments. And so your, was your, I think your first project was what, half a million square feet? Something like that? Is

[00:41:16] Antonia Botero: that about right? Yeah. So it was a really cool building because it was the floor of the New York Stock Exchange actually went into this building.

[00:41:24] Antonia Botero: They decommissioned obviously they had decommissioned half the, that side. And then the first thing that we had to do was like, sever the building and they had an easement for ventilation. And so it was complex like the, the mechanicals were intertwined between the two buildings. And, and so there was figuring out all that, all those parts.

[00:41:40] Antonia Botero: But it, so it was really neat. I have some really cool pictures of like the empty trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange that we’re used to seeing on tv. That, you know, that was my first project and it was, it was pretty wild because it was about, it was about half a million square feet, about 30 floors.

[00:41:54] Antonia Botero: And we had about, you know, the floor plates were 20,000 square feet and then they kind of, they had a bunch of [00:42:00] setbacks all the way up to mechanical tent house, just

[00:42:03] Patrick Donley: smaller. So were you involved in the redesign? I mentioned I’d had Bobby Fi in, in on the show recently, and he, he talks about the challenges of taking a space like that and turning it into apartments.

[00:42:15] Patrick Donley: Were you involved in that process too or were you mostly doing the project

[00:42:18] Antonia Botero: management? The owner of the company, not, not even like the guy who I worked with directly, but the owner of the company, he was very involved in the layouts himself. Like he basically did all the layouts and when I started working at the time, it was right around the time when they were doing layouts and I, I had a chance to sit with him a couple times and I would have some input and I was like, well, how about we do it like this?

[00:42:39] Antonia Botero: And you know, and he was like, oh, you’re very good at this. I’m like, well, this kind of what I do. And I had done a bunch of coming. My experience coming from Buyer Blinder Bell, which was the architecture firm that I had worked with was new construction in Manhattan. And so the ideal kind of like the market understanding of abortions for apartments in Manhattan was something that I had been doing day in and day out [00:43:00] for the last three years.

[00:43:01] Antonia Botero: Because even though I was doing all these cool projects, like I was also working in the new construction projects, which is super cool and I really wanted to do those. And so I had learned from the partners and like what makes a really good apartment in New York? Those lessons really coming in and, and then learning from this developer and how they would envision changing these of this super crazy deep office floor plates into apartments.

[00:43:23] Antonia Botero: And then kind of marrying the two was a really cool experience from the technical standpoint of drawing and understanding what makes a good living space.

[00:43:31] Patrick Donley: How long would a project like that take and did you see it from like start to finish?

[00:43:36] Antonia Botero: I saw the way, way start to it, like right when they acquired the building.

[00:43:41] Antonia Botero: That’s kind of when I came on board. I did not see it finished actually, but I did see it through, I want to say maybe 50 to 60% of construction and I had already teed up the rest of the millwork and like the finishes and stuff like that. Like I had been involved in getting those things ready, but I didn’t actually see it open.[00:44:00]

[00:44:00] Patrick Donley: That’s a great experience though. At that point, in the back of your mind, did you always know that you wanted to start your own firm?

[00:44:07] Antonia Botero: I think a lot of the contrast between coming from an environment where you were just going to do excellent work and, and we all wanted each other to do excellent work. Going through the developer side, where all of a sudden there was a very different approach.

[00:44:22] Antonia Botero: That was for me, the beginning of the thought to say, you don’t have to run a place like this. You don’t have to have this attitude. You don’t have to put up with these things. I mean, when you’re working at a big shop and you’re doing these big projects, you have to put up with it because you have to build a building, period.

[00:44:39] Antonia Botero: It’s not about being soft. It’s like you do what you gotta do. But for me it was that first realization that there’s a better way to approach the. Not just as a company, but as an individual, right? Like I met a bunch of people who approached the work very differently and they had a very different ethos in how they put work out into the world and [00:45:00] they did exceptional stuff.

[00:45:01] Antonia Botero: Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t for me though. That was the beginning of that kind of like, hmm, there’s, I would do it differently, and the only way that if you truly believe that, then go open up your own thing. That was the start of it for me.

[00:45:14] Patrick Donley: So is that what you did after that firm? Did you go start the MADDPROJECT or was that kind of simultaneously while you were working there and you were starting the MADDPROJECT on the side?

[00:45:24] Patrick Donley: How did that unfold?

[00:45:26] Antonia Botero: I think that first idea came up for me and I kind of, David, as a birthday present to myself. I incorporated my company 2017. And then I was just sort of thinking of doing and I was doing side things, you know, like someone’s like, Hey, we want to do a building rapport, we want to do this or, and I would just take it on through MADDPROJECT because I was like, well, you know, and then slowly that began to grow a little bit.

[00:45:46] Antonia Botero: And then at that time I was like, okay, I need a different opportunity. I want to get out of this and I want to do my own thing. Just through the craziness in the industry, I met a guy who was putting together a team for a hotel [00:46:00] developer and they had all of these hotels all over the country and so they needed to put a team together.

[00:46:06] Antonia Botero: And so he started talking to me about that. And that’s under really cool because it was, it was a different shift. There wasn’t the project management aspect, it was more the executive idea of putting together a team that we’re going to manage a high volume of work. And so that was sort of the beginning of that.

[00:46:21] Antonia Botero: And at first I thought he wanted to hire my company. I was like, oh, will you hire my project then? We’ll, we’ll put the team together and we’ll build your systems and we’ll deliver your stuff. And he was like, no, I need you to come in house. We have all this work and by the way, like we’re working on this massive project which you’re not really supposed to work on.

[00:46:38] Antonia Botero: And I was like, well, I want to work on that project and I want to be on site if you want me to come in house. And that project was the TWA Hotel. I came in house and I still kept Matt Project alive. I had again, site things that I was working on. But the idea was you get to be on site at twa. I had all of this experience in existing conditions.

[00:46:58] Antonia Botero: I mean, I had had more [00:47:00] experience in the past five years in existing conditions than most people have in their entire careers. I had learned so much. And so I was like, okay, well we have this crazy building that is, has this insane structure. It’s pretty much impossible to coordinate because you don’t know which way the structure is going.

[00:47:17] Antonia Botero: That’s where you’re going to be. And that was the Aero Ernan Flight Center building. And to me, I mean it was an honor to, to end up working there. And simultaneously I started building the team to tackle. At the time, I think it was like about 80 or 90 hotels nationally, and by the time I, I left M C R that was like 150 hotels.

[00:47:40] Antonia Botero: It was a challenge in so many respects.

[00:47:43] Patrick Donley: For sure. H how long were you at M C R then before you completely severed ties and your full a hundred percent time is devoted to the MADDPROJECT.

[00:47:53] Antonia Botero: I was there about four years, I think. Sorry, four years. It was from like [00:48:00] April of 2018 until, think it was 2021. Yeah, it was like a year after the pandemic.

[00:48:05] Antonia Botero: So like about three years. Yeah.

[00:48:07] Patrick Donley: So how did you know it was time to cut ties in, fly on your own?

[00:48:12] Antonia Botero: Well, so it was a mix of things, I think, and the, and the pandemic I think really screwed everyone up, right? I think the first thing was at the time we were living in New York in 2019. Summer of 2019, the opportunity moved to Utah, came up as related to my husband’s work.

[00:48:26] Antonia Botero: At the time I was finishing, I was wrapping up TWA and I had started to travel more nationally to sort of service all these projects that we had. I had a team of six people and everyone was traveling like crazy. I was traveling about 10,000 miles a week, and I knew that it wasn’t really going to be sustainable.

[00:48:45] Antonia Botero: So when we moved to Utah, I was like, not only was I closer to the projects actually from Utah, I’m from New York. I had a conversation with M mc and I was like, guys, they were used to having a national team because all of their regional directors were regional and they didn’t live in New York. And so [00:49:00] it wasn’t a crazy stretch for me to be able to Utah and continue working for them.

[00:49:04] Antonia Botero: So that was a plan in 2019. And it was also, it got me, you know, it got me started thinking like, Hey, you know what? And I have been fortunate that I hadn’t been able to build my own team, but at the same time, you still had those weird, you know, the weird corporate politics and the stuff that every company has.

[00:49:18] Antonia Botero: And there were some of the things that I was just like, you know, we could do this better. And if I had a choice, I would do it differently. And so I’m like, Again, the idea comes back to you and you’re like, okay. And so for me at the time I was like, well, it means I’m probably going to slow down. I can ramp up my work.

[00:49:31] Antonia Botero: And then March of 2020 came around and Covid happened and it was insane, especially for the hospitality and the streaming, seeing how a lot of these hospitality companies were able able save their companies during those times. Remarkable. Like you’re learning from the executives to see the work that they had to do.

[00:49:49] Antonia Botero: You don’t get that many chances in your life to see people react to something so massive. My entire team was laid off and then we had a ton of [00:50:00] active work, and so it was a matter of administering those contracts and ensuring that projects were being finished, that there would be no lawsuits, no liens, that kind of stuff.

[00:50:08] Antonia Botero: The war changed a ton, and at the same time, I knew that even though I had slowly started to plan to leave that, number one, I was going to have to stay longer than I was planning to. But number two, I also had to get my act together because it wasn’t going to be a normal market, right? Like starting a company in a state that you have no network in during a pandemic was just not, I’m like, I need to start now because I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

[00:50:34] Antonia Botero: That was how MADDPROJECT in Utah really happened and, and how I, I decided to grow the company from here.

[00:50:41] Patrick Donley: Talk to us more about the MADDPROJECT. You’re sitting on a plane next to somebody and they ask you what you do. How do you explain to them what the MADDPROJECT is and what your involvement is?

[00:50:51] Antonia Botero: I mean, I tell people that I build buildings for people.

[00:50:54] Antonia Botero: I build teams and buildings for other people. We are a four feet developer who are an owner’s rack. We’re [00:51:00] experts in project management and we do all kinds of really complex things. It was funny guy, I was on a podcast with Eric Anderton and at the end he’s like, well, what does your company do? And I’m explaining it and then I’m like, and then we do the really, you know, the less terrifying stuff like ground up development.

[00:51:16] Antonia Botero: And I was listening to that and I’m like, did I truly say that the ground up development work that we do is the less complex, less difficult stuff that we’re involved in? We work with a lot of family offices where there is not only the complexity of the work itself, but the complexity of the relationships of the family.

[00:51:35] Antonia Botero: We work with new developers who are just learning and getting into the space, and there’s also a lot of teaching that we do as part of our work, which is really rewarding to me. And there’s sort of like that professor mindset that, that I had for many years in doing research and going to MIT. So it’s fulfilled a lot of those sort of moments of my learning and, and, and my career with like the buried clients that we have.

[00:51:58] Antonia Botero: And then we also work for [00:52:00] very established shops that don’t necessarily want to build in-house teams just because they, they’re like, well, if the downturn comes, I don’t want to fire half my people. And some of these things, they’re like, we don’t want to be tracking furniture, so they hire me for that, my team.

[00:52:15] Antonia Botero: So that’s generally what we do.

[00:52:18] Patrick Donley: What are some of the bigger projects that you’re working

[00:52:19] Antonia Botero: on right now? I’ll speak very generally, cause again, some of this work is family office work. It’s a little bit, I can’t really share like too many, too many details, but very generally we’re doing a fairly complex renovation in Florida for again, family office.

[00:52:33] Antonia Botero: And it’s a, not a historically designated building, but it’s a building from nine, the 1950s. It’s this beautiful building and they do ultra high-end apartments. So you’re doing like condo finishes on apartments. They, they get very handsome rents for their building. It’s a gorgeous setting. Like the whole thing is beautiful, but it’s very complex because the jurisdiction where they’re in does not let us renovate the whole building at the same time.

[00:52:57] Antonia Botero: We have to do it in phases. And so this is going to be [00:53:00] a multiple years of renovation and I think it’s the highest dollar ballet renovation I’ve ever worked in where you still have an open building. Don’t count the repositioning projects and stuff because those are hundred million, multiple hundreds of millions of dollars.

[00:53:15] Antonia Botero: This is not quite that large before renovation. It, it’s a lot. It’s a big dollar ballet. So we’re working on stuff like that. I’m working with a really great team on this resort community in Oklahoma, and they’ve been wonderful. I’m also working with a Canadian developer, kind of helping them with their systems, and they’re incredibly organized thinkers.

[00:53:33] Antonia Botero: I think they’re the most organized people I’ve ever worked with in my life, and it’s not just one of them. It’s like their whole team, and they’re all impressive, and so it’s been really great. We’re also working with a hotel developer out of Florida and also helping them build out their teams and their systems, and we’re working on a couple projects with them.

[00:53:49] Antonia Botero: Man, we’re doing also looking right now, and again, we, we haven’t finalized it yet, but we’re looking at our first project in California. So that’s been kind of cool. I mean, we [00:54:00] have, we have a lot and we have several other things. I do a lot, not a lot, I do some very limited one-on-one sort of consulting for either upcoming developers or developers that are established that just need a little bit of sunny board.

[00:54:11] Antonia Botero: So I have two of those going on right now. One of those super exciting because she’s the first woman developer that I’ve worked with, so that’s super cool. And she’s just getting into it. But she is also one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. We’re extremely fortunate. We, we have this really varied group of clients and we have a great pipeline.

[00:54:29] Antonia Botero: We’re waiting to start at a couple projects that I’m super excited about and again, we do all kinds of things. We’ll do hospitality renovations, especially for branded products of Merit Hilton. We do that day in, day out, not with our ice closed, but it’s bread and butter work. We do ground up development where 50 million up is kind of the sweet spot.

[00:54:49] Antonia Botero: That’s the work that I really like to do because it’s the easiest work we do.

[00:54:54] Patrick Donley: Now, why do you say that? Why is that the easiest?

[00:54:58] Antonia Botero: It’s no construction. It’s [00:55:00] not like you run into a surprise at a return when you’re doing like a renovation, especially if it’s higher end or if it’s niche hospitality. You’re going to run into things that all of a sudden all your plans don’t work.

[00:55:13] Antonia Botero: And so that constant, you have to be on it and you’re responding all the time. Those projects take up a ton of our time and they’re incredibly complex and I would say more fulfilling in a way than the new constriction stuff. But the new constriction stuff is just, you get to see a building from the ground up.

[00:55:30] Antonia Botero: I mean, there, it’s a different feeling. I guess it’s fulfilling in a different way, but I I, I really like that kind of work too. Cause it’s placemaking. You’re building something out of methane and all of a sudden you’re creating a landmark for the street maybe. Maybe you’re creating an outdoor space where people can gather.

[00:55:45] Antonia Botero: You’re giving a facade to the city now that they didn’t have. That’s what I love about ground up. And then you don’t have the craziness of existing conditions work, which is a lot.

[00:55:57] Patrick Donley: You said weed. Do you have a team helping you or [00:56:00] is are you hiring outside consultants or how are you structuring the company?

[00:56:04] Antonia Botero: It’s a mix, so I try to keep a super lean team. I’m always a little bit shy to share like how big we are, but I do have a senior project manager who works with me full-time, and I do have very key people that I call on, that I’ve worked with for years. For me, the niche we’re in, it’s a super high value niche.

[00:56:21] Antonia Botero: Our work is very high stakes. There is a time and a place to hire a VA overseas. My company is just not that kind of company. The people that I hire have very specific expertise. All my project managers are either professional engineers or registered architects. We all have consulting background. The guy that I work with very closely in doing SF E and logistics, he’s had logistics experience for years and he’s fantastic.

[00:56:48] Antonia Botero: He is not full-time with me, but I work exclusively with him. If there’s furniture involved in my projects, like he’s on it, and they’re all people that I trust implicitly. [00:57:00] There’s no question for me that they’re going to handle a situation the way that I would and they’re exceptional. I’m super proud of that and it’s taken me years to build this team.

[00:57:07] Antonia Botero: This didn’t happen overnight and these people came very well recommended from the industry. It’s just been, it wasn’t like I put up a search on Craigslist and I found the first guy that showed up. It was, it’s been been very thoughtful and the trust that they have in me, it is just, to me, mind blowing the fact that these people believe in me this much to be part of what I have built.

[00:57:31] Antonia Botero: There’s just no words for it. To me it’s almost like bigger than building the buildings to, to be honest with you and, and that’s been a wonderful lesson from having my own shop.

[00:57:41] Patrick Donley: That’s awesome. And I wanted to hear also, you’re in Park City you said, and we talked before the podcast started. You’re managing your own house right now.

[00:57:51] Patrick Donley: You’re building your house and presumably serving as the project manager. I’ve seen a lot of photos on Twitter. Talk to us about that project. Has that been a lot of fun for [00:58:00] you?

[00:58:01] Antonia Botero: Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun and it’s been really crazy because, so my husband is also in our industry and he also has a really big job.

[00:58:08] Antonia Botero: We’re both very busy in our own professional lives for some reason, for good reason and I can get into that. But we basically decided that I would be the architect of record. So I became registered in the state of Utah. I designed our, our plans. I actually had one of these project managers that’s worked with me before.

[00:58:25] Antonia Botero: She’s wonderful. She’s a registered architect as well. She helped me with the drawings so I didn’t completely do them by myself. And then she and her husband are doing a lot of the interior design for us, which is really great because they have amazing tastes. Anyway, I’m the registered architect. I’m the architect, the of the project.

[00:58:42] Antonia Botero: I’m also the back office construction manager. And my husband is essentially the front office JC bag guy. You know, he comes and he pays people on Fridays and we’re doing, we’re building the house ourselves. And let me tell you, There’s a reason why you need full teams to do these [00:59:00] projects. It has been more work than I thought, which is crazy because I think I should have had a better expectation of how much work it was supposed to be.

[00:59:09] Antonia Botero: I haven’t done a house from begin to fi from start to finish in every single role before, and I don’t even know that too many people do that for good reason. But it has been really wonderful. It’s been very rewarding and it’s been really cool. And, and then the really neat thing too is to see the, the kind of professional team that my husband and I, we make a really great team.

[00:59:28] Antonia Botero: We have very similar professional values and the way that we treat our teams. He has his own team and they’re doing, they’re working on massive stuff. The way we approach the work, the pride we take in our work has just really come out. And so that’s been really cool.

[00:59:42] Patrick Donley: Is this the first big project that you and your husband have done together?

[00:59:46] Antonia Botero: Yes and no. We actually met at work. Working on a project together, but that was very brief because the minute that it was clear that we liked each other, it was also the moment, [01:00:00] it, it coincided with the moment when I was going out of architecture and going into real estate development. But this is, I think, the first time where we really get into every single detail of it.

[01:00:10] Antonia Botero: I mean, I don’t, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anybody on a project to this das. I mean, it, there’s, because we’re in charge of the loan and we’re in charge of, and I’m also in charge of the architecture and the design and the selecting every finish. And, and then, you know, he’s managing all the subcontractors, but I’m also very involved because all the drawings and shop drawings and all the stuff that we need to do, I’m the one creating them for them as if I was the construction manager.

[01:00:35] Antonia Botero: And so it, it’s been an incredibly involved project.

[01:00:39] Patrick Donley: Do you hash out a lot of the details together or do you have your lane and he has his lane and you just kind of trust each other to make your respective decisions? Or is there a lot of just hashing out of like, we should, I don’t know, use this tile or this color, you know, like that kind of thing?

[01:00:54] Antonia Botero: Yeah, I mean it’s been really cool too in that way because she is more the [01:01:00] field in this case. And I’m more obvi. I mean, I’m the architect and so I’m the one with like the crazier ideas. I’m the one that’s always like pushing and pushing like, I want the railing to look like this. And he’s like, you are insane.

[01:01:10] Antonia Botero: And I’m like, well, but this is how I want to do it. Like I actually know the technical, like I’m going to fascinate this way and I know and I have the coordinated with this material and like I knew all these things too. What I really like about that is that it requires that you present your ideas to an equally proficient professional.

[01:01:30] Antonia Botero: And so now I’m having to justify how thinking through things to someone who knows really well how to build. It’s been really neat in that the thought process has to be super clear. And what I like about it is that when our ideas get put in into the house, they’re fully baked. Like there is no, like, we don’t get to the house and all of a sudden realize that we have an issue because we have each other to vet them and we pick each other’s ideas apart.

[01:01:56] Antonia Botero: Like, don’t get me wrong, like there isn’t like a yeah, like, that’s great. Like there’s like, no, I don’t think [01:02:00] that’s going to work and this is why. And then it’s like, oh yeah, you’re right. Like, let’s do it this way instead. There is, there are some moments where there’s more like his lane and, and Miley and we have very different styles.

[01:02:09] Antonia Botero: Like I’m a planner, like, I’m like, I need to have everything figured out. And he’s more like by the seat of his stands, he’s like, well, I’ll just go in the field and I’ll figure it out. And sometimes I’m like, Nope. I’m like, because if you get this wrong, then we can’t have that, that detail. And now the windows are going to look wrong.

[01:02:24] Antonia Botero: You know? It’s made both of us stretch in that way. And to be honest with you, I think it’s also been a really great test of our relationship and not in like a bad way, but it’s sort of like we have that mutual respect where we can disagree on something and we can work through it and there’s no like, I’m going to leave you or like, you know, you don’t, it doesn’t escalate to to like the personal offense that has been, I’ve been surprised that, cause a lot of people are, a lot of architects.

[01:02:52] Antonia Botero: I know one architect I know was like, well we had to hire another architect to do our house because he and his wife are architects. And he was like, we, it was not going to happen. [01:03:00] We were going to end up divorced. But he was like, it was so bad. And then I also had a lot of people in construction when we tell them, oh, I’m the architect of record and we’re building the house.

[01:03:09] Antonia Botero: They’ll say, well, why are you doing this to yourself? There’s been a lot there. And I think that definitely not a, for the faint of heart, definitely not something to do if you don’t have, if you’re not extremely proficient to add like all the different aspects of it. And definitely not something to do without professional guidance.

[01:03:26] Antonia Botero: I mean, I wouldn’t recommend it.

[01:03:29] Patrick Donley: The reason I ask my, my wife and I are involved in renovating a building. We bought an old brick, a hundred year old building that we’re in the middle of renovating and she’s a mental health therapist and we rent out individual office space for therapists. And we’ve got one building.

[01:03:43] Patrick Donley: This is our, our second one. And so I just was curious to hear what your experience was like because we, it gets challenging at times for sure. Like we’ve got different ideas on how to do things and it definitely helps to kind of have your specialty in your lane that, you know, you trust the other person to make the decision on.

[01:03:58] Antonia Botero: For sure. And I think [01:04:00] also like any, any relationship, like you picture battles, sometimes we’ll have things that really, really matter to Mike. Like, he’s like, this is how this has to happen. And I’m like, okay, well I can live with that. I never know. And then I’ll find out like a battle in hindsight that I’m like, I should have fought that battle because now, now it’s more work for me.

[01:04:17] Antonia Botero: Yeah, like in any relationship, you pick your battles and you’re respectful of the other person’s ideas and but again, we have that generosity in the work and the idea of moving it forward is something that we both share and we all return, we return to that. And so I’m extremely, you know, we’re extremely fortunate.

[01:04:32] Antonia Botero: And then like in any relationship, it’s something that we’ve worked really hard to bring into our relationship.

[01:04:38] Patrick Donley: And the end product is so cool to see. Like once you’ve put in all this work and blood, sweat, and tears and then you see the final thing, it’s like really rewarding. When’s the house going to be

[01:04:46] Antonia Botero: finished?

[01:04:48] Antonia Botero: We’re pushing for an occupancy early June, and then I expect there between furnishings and millwork, like more like the finish millwork, like paneling and stuff like that. Probably to take us [01:05:00] through September, October, but we’re going to be living in the house by the middle of June.

[01:05:05] Patrick Donley: I wanted to talk a little bit, you’re working with the gc, correct?

[01:05:08] Patrick Donley: I presume, or you’re you? No, you’re not at all.

[01:05:12] Antonia Botero: No, we are working with a local gc, but, but he’s a friend and, and we’re actually doing all the work, but we’re work, like, we have a, a really neat relationship with them. They have great resources. They’re local, which that has been a big part of it. It’s his license, but we’re doing all the project management.

[01:05:27] Antonia Botero: He comes around like maybe once a month or every six weeks, and he’s like, how are you kids doing? You’re so alive. We haven’t killed each other. And he has some great connections, which have been obviously necessary for trades locally, but we are, we’re doing all the work.

[01:05:43] Patrick Donley: I wanted to talk a little bit about Twitter and the role that Twitter’s played for you, the growth that it’s had for you and your business.

[01:05:50] Patrick Donley: Talk to us a little bit about your experience with it. You were sharing with me. That’s a little, you’re a little hesitant to share. Maybe you’re a little more introverted or private by nature. Talk to us about Twitter [01:06:00] and some of your learnings from your involvement on there.

[01:06:03] Antonia Botero: For sure. Just kind of going back to the idea that I started my project in Utah in the middle of 2020, which I had no network in Utah.

[01:06:13] Antonia Botero: There was nobody outside in Utah or in anywhere or anywhere in the country. There was a little bit of that. I was listening to a podcast and I don’t remember which one, but Keith Wasserman was on it and he was like, look, if you want to be in it, you have to get on Twitter. And so I was like, okay, it’s free.

[01:06:32] Antonia Botero: I get on and all of a sudden I, I find Moses’s and Chris Powers and they’re really wonderful. Like I kind of recognize that abundance mentality immediately and I’m like, oh, these are my people. And they’re sharing how similar of their challenges of say they’re sharing some of their experience. They’re, and they’re incredibly generous and wonderful and so I’m like, okay, I can do this.

[01:06:52] Antonia Botero: This is something that I is my more my. Because for me, the, the gratuitously, putting yourself out there doesn’t have a ton of effect. It doesn’t [01:07:00] speak to me. And it really depends on what kind of business you’re running. And from the beginning I’ve known that the kind of work that I like to do is sort of this boutique niche, super specific, exceptional service.

[01:07:11] Antonia Botero: The people that work with me are exceptional people, and it’s almost a waste if I go around doing like a high volume sort of shop where it’s just not what we are. I think for me, it really made me think through that process because there’s people who approach Twitter because they have more high volume businesses.

[01:07:29] Antonia Botero: You know, if you’re selling a course or if you’re, or if you’re selling an ebook, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. It’s a different business than the business that I’m in. And so you’re obviously going to approach your audience in a different manner and you’re, you obviously need a much bigger audience than the one that I need to promote my work.

[01:07:46] Antonia Botero: And again, it’s self-selecting in a way because my content is so niche and so specific and it can get very technical. It’s almost like text block content. It’s almost academic sometimes. And again, I have that of a background. That [01:08:00] stuff selects for the audience. That is my audience, right? The people who are here to have real estate development conversations about the hard work that it takes on the self-reflection and the softer squishier things about like, whom do you want to be?

[01:08:13] Antonia Botero: Those are my people. Those are the people who end up hiring me for their projects and my team. For me, it’s less about growing a, a ginormous audience where I’m going to have a better chance of selling a course. And if I was selling courses, that would probably be my approach, but it isn’t. I think that, you know, it’s been sort of a, like a cycle in a way.

[01:08:35] Antonia Botero: It’s made me reflect a lot about whom do I want to be? What kind of services am I providing? What kind of team do I have? What kind of work do we want to do, because that is how I present myself. And it’s had the intended effects. Honestly, my newsletter has a super high open rate, which it’s like over 60%, which I know that for newsletters is really high.

[01:08:56] Antonia Botero: My proposal approval rate is also about [01:09:00] 75%. And that speaks to the way that, that we’ve built the brand, that we’ve put ourselves out there and that, that I’ve put my face out there. And like we were saying earlier, it’s not in my nature that for me it’s always been about doing the work and letting that speak for itself.

[01:09:18] Antonia Botero: But the reality is that you can’t do the work and then not tell anybody about it. And that, that was a lesson that I learned working in development too. because one of the developers that I worked for, he was very about getting his face out and I was just always like, my God, this guy, like, he wants all this attention.

[01:09:32] Antonia Botero: And one day we were talking about just very generally like media and stuff and, and he was like, you know, it’s a shame for you to do all this really great work and then never tell anyone about it. You are the pride in the world of knowing that this effort exists. And that to me, sort of made that switch into thinking about it in a different way.

[01:09:51] Antonia Botero: There was this girl I went to high school with and, and she became a professional singer and I saw an interview with her a few years ago and she said something really [01:10:00] similar. She said, you, my biggest fear is that I die and that all my music dies inside of me. And to me that has really shifted a lot of my thinking and how I approach putting myself out there because it isn’t really in my nature, you know?

[01:10:14] Antonia Botero: And the whole story about my parents and that kind of stuff, a story about my mom. Like, I think this is the first time I’ve ever talked to someone on a podcast about it. You know, most people don’t necessarily get that personal and I appreciate it and it’s, I think, a really beautiful story, especially as I get to kind of pass that on about my mom because she’s so cool.

[01:10:30] Antonia Botero: Like, she’s just awesome. She’s like describing this character, so why not have that approach to it, even though I’m very private, right. And I, and I rarely speak about my husband. I don’t necessarily talk about what he does because he’s going to totally steal my zender and he’s just so much more charming than I am.

[01:10:45] Antonia Botero: She doesn’t exist as far as anyone’s considering, but putting yourself out there and, and sort of having that cycle of Twitter that shows you how to do it and shows you how, because you see other people, right? And you see how they do it and it teaches you all those [01:11:00] lessons. And obviously it’s been a fantastic way to connect with people that I wouldn’t have had the chance to connect with otherwise.

[01:11:06] Antonia Botero: So it’s kind of like I’m bringing my button and I’m going and I’m talking to people and I’m exchanging buttons and that’s becoming like a really neat thing about Twitter too. I’ve come up with some really great friends in the last two years. Yeah, it’s

[01:11:19] Patrick Donley: amazing. I mean, like you said, it’s just self-selecting.

[01:11:21] Patrick Donley: You find your tribe through there. I heard somebody say too, it’s almost like you’re doing a disservice not to share your work and putting, putting it out there. Just my research in the four or five hours I did for the interview for you. Like I got so much out of it, you know, like you learn, I’ve learned, or each guest like it’s a tremendous learning and it’s like by putting it out there, it’s like you’re helping so many other people.

[01:11:42] Patrick Donley: So it’s pretty cool. I wanted to talk to you about, you tweeted one of the tweets that I liked that one of the biggest superpowers in business is simply asking that knowing how to ask and what to ask for is what distinguishes the pros. And I think this was inspired by a book by Amanda Palmer, who I’m a fan [01:12:00] of, actually.

[01:12:00] Patrick Donley: It’s called The Art of Asking How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help Me. Talk to me about that book, how it it’s inspired you and a little bit about the art of asking.

[01:12:11] Antonia Botero: I read that book, I want to say probably around the time when I started MADDPROJECT in New York around 2017. Because, and I’ll just begin with, I have not mastered this at all.

[01:12:24] Antonia Botero: Like the idea of it I get, and I’m still not very good at asking. I think one of the things is that that resilience I learned from my mother may be very self-sufficient. And when you’re very self-sufficient, you don’t want to ask people for things. And I realize that that has handicapped me in a lot of ways.

[01:12:41] Antonia Botero: I realized that perhaps that that’s the difference between me developing my own projects and not, but at the same time, whenever I could have proposed a live in front of client, now I am, I’m asking, that’s asking too. And so I’m getting better at it. What I’m not quite where I want to be in terms of the comfort that I [01:13:00] get.

[01:13:00] Antonia Botero: About two years ago, I, with someone that I met on Twitter, we put together a pretty cool deal and we were in really serious negotiations to get this deal done. And that was going to require raising money. And that was not supposed to be the thing that I would do, but I was still going to have some liner role in it.

[01:13:16] Antonia Botero: And when it came to. I went and I asked people, because I’ve been in the industry for some time now, and so I have enough of a network where I had people to ask, and the one thing that people always told me was, you’re never going to raise the money. Like you’re, you know, you could go on this, but if you can’t raise the money, then you’re nobody and you’re never going to raise the money.

[01:13:37] Antonia Botero: Like you don’t. That’s not the side you come from. You’re not going to be able to do it. At the same time that we slowly lost the deal because we couldn’t get to the negotiation where, where the deal was awarded to us, I went out and I raised the money. I actually raised the money, and that to me was a massive lesson because it was supposed to be the hardest pair and it didn’t take me that long.

[01:13:58] Antonia Botero: It took me like three weeks, [01:14:00] which for our rookie project, the amount of money we were raising was not nothing. Can you talk about the project? Not a ton. I mean what? Just say another developer Got it. And they took it in an insane direction. It’s here in Utah and they created this really crazy lifestyle resort plan.

[01:14:20] Antonia Botero: And I’m very curious to see how that’s going to play out. But basically I did the thing that I wasn’t supposed to be able to do, and out of all the things that came around it, it was the thing that I had the least experience in and it was the thing that was actually easiest To this day, I still remember that, and I’m still terrified of, of raising money for also a bunch of historical, personal reasons.

[01:14:42] Antonia Botero: But that to me was reinforcing that lesson of, you just gotta ask. Especially because I’m at a point in my career where I’d built enough of a reputation and there’s enough people in the industry who know me that I do have people who are like, the minute that you decide to build something, I’m going to give you money because I know that you could execute.[01:15:00]

[01:15:00] Antonia Botero: And I have that trust and, and it’s taken me years to build. And so turning around and honoring that and asking, I’m, I’m still putting that together, but I love that book. I think everybody should read it.

[01:15:12] Patrick Donley: For the listeners that don’t know of Amanda Palmer, tell a little bit about her story

[01:15:16] Antonia Botero: and what she did.

[01:15:17] Antonia Botero: Amanda Palmer is an artist. I think she was broke and she was like, well, I don’t really know I’m going to make any money. And so she decided to be like the, a live statue. And she would set herself up in like Harvard Square and she would give people, like, she would just stand there for like hours, right? And then people would kind of come up to her and then she would kind of move and, and then, you know, she would give people like a flower or she would do something and, and then people would give, give her money for it.

[01:15:46] Antonia Botero: So her whole story of getting over that whole block of asking as well, which, when you’re an artist, that’s basically what you’re doing all the time. Essentially, if you own a shop, if you, anything that you do in [01:16:00] life is going to require asking, mastering that to that degree, I think is, is something that I can only strive for.

[01:16:07] Antonia Botero: I mean, I’m. Not all the way there, but it is something that, that is, is something very present for me.

[01:16:14] Patrick Donley: She’s got a great podcast that she did, an interview that she did with Tim Ferris that it’s fairly old, it’s probably several years old, but I remember listening to it and it’s, it’s a really good one.

[01:16:24] Antonia Botero: I may have listened to it too cause I’m, I’m a big fan.

[01:16:26] Antonia Botero: I mean, and, and just the way she like puts herself out in the world is really remarkable. I think she’s someone that, like many artists, I think there’s so much to learn from them because they put so much of themselves out there that there’s just a ton of material.

[01:16:41] Patrick Donley: Real quick, I wanted to ask you, are you involved in any, you talked about raising capital.

[01:16:46] Patrick Donley: Are you involved, you’ve, and you’ve been involved in a ton of super interesting projects. Are you involved in trying to build out like your own real estate portfolio? A lot of our listeners are working on to whatever degree, their real, real estate portfolio. Is that something that, and I know you’re doing your mountain home in Park City, are you looking to do other projects?

[01:17:06] Antonia Botero: Definitely looking to do other projects. Not working on any one of them specifically right now, I think between the house and my shop and we’ve also built our own internal project management software and going through that whole process and beginning to consider using it or selling it or you know, putting it out in the public has taken a ton of my time as well.

[01:17:29] Antonia Botero: Maybe when I finish the house, and I don’t know if that’s a cop out through the whole conversation, the way we approach the house, to be honest with you, I approached the house and like a developer. It’s also helped a lot with the decision making because anything that we’ve done for the house is so that it eventually, if it’s, it goes on the market one day, I want it to sell really well and I want to sell very quickly.

[01:17:49] Antonia Botero: For us home is New York. Maybe we don’t sell it, but I don’t know. But I want to set myself up in a way where I could, the way we looked at the construction loan, the way we financed it, we got [01:18:00] extremely lucky. Then there was no, there was nothing anyone we could have done about that. We got extremely lucky with the timing we locked in our mortgage in early 2022.

[01:18:09] Antonia Botero: Our rate is crazy. We got extremely lucky at the moment when we bought the land because we bought our land at the EMS 2019 before land prices in this area skyrocketed. We have a ton of luck going for us, but also the way that we’ve thought of the house, we’ve thought of it as an asset and I, and I’m super comfortable in, in knowing that it’s going to appraise based on all the values of the homes around at a really great long to value percentage.

[01:18:37] Antonia Botero: So I think even the house, in my mind has always been a development project for me in a way. Obviously we’re going to live in it and they always say, you know, your primary home is not an investment. And so there’s also ible side of it, but it’s definitely something that I want to do, but I want to do really cool stuff and I want to do really cool people.

[01:18:52] Antonia Botero: And so that’s some big, that’s a little bit harder. I think once we finish this house later, later this year, I think there’s going to be a bunch of sort [01:19:00] of bucket list items that I’m going to start working on next. because the house has been a massive endeavor that’s taken us, we’ve saved for this house for like four years and then we’ve been working on it 40 much full-time.

[01:19:13] Antonia Botero: For the last two,

[01:19:14] Patrick Donley: I wanted to ask about your why. Like when times get tough and like the grind of real estate is definitely a grind at times. What’s your why for what keeps you going?

[01:19:24] Antonia Botero: And just now after talking about my whole story, I think really being a source of a stability for my family, I think that that’s my why and I think that just the history with my parents and, and sort of, you know, with my mom, it’s really important for me not only financially but but emotionally too and sort of being that kind of reference point.

[01:19:46] Antonia Botero: That really is my why. And it doesn’t only extend to the financial aspect of the work, but also the way that I do the work and my reputation because just the same way that I, you know, that I love it when I hear the stories of lot people talking about my mom and how wonderful she’s she was to them or how she helped them in some way.

[01:20:03] Antonia Botero: And my mom’s always been helping other people somehow, you know, however she could. And so whenever I hear those things, it’s kind of like she’s referential to me in that way. And for me, like ever since I’ve been like about 25 years old, I’ve been supporting my mom. And so that’s also broad, that kind of responsibility and understanding, you know, like as an immigrant too and, and seeing my mom work so hard, that responsibility of, you need to study, you need to be really good at school, you need to really do things well because the family is on you.

[01:20:32] Antonia Botero: It’s almost like a rite of facets, right? Like, you almost have that sit down, but, and it’s not really a sit down, it, it’s something that happens sort of organically in, in your late teens where you’re like, you understand the gravity of like, if you screw this up, it’s bad for everyone. To really be that, that source of stability for my family, both as a person of integrity, but also you know, financially is, is super important.

[01:20:54] Patrick Donley: That’s amazing. I really appreciate you sharing all of this, Antonia. Like the more personal stuff. I really like, and thank you for your generosity with your time and just sharing yourself and the knowledge that you, that you have for our listeners that want to reach out to you or learn more about you.

[01:21:09] Patrick Donley: You mentioned your newsletter. What are some ways that they can get in touch with you? Maybe sign up for the newsletter, things like that?

[01:21:16] Antonia Botero: My website, you can sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of my homepage and you can reach me on Twitter. I’m fairly easy to find. You send me a thoughtful message, I will respond.

[01:21:26] Patrick Donley: Yeah. In fact, the way we connected was like you did that Amanda Palmer, the art of the asking. And I think I, at that point I was like, will you come on the podcast? That was my ask.

[01:21:35] Antonia Botero: That’s great. And I think I’ve posted about her book like a few years ago. Yeah. That’s very cool.

[01:21:42] Patrick Donley: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it, and I’d love to have you, I, there’s a hundred more questions that I have that maybe some other time we could do it and have you back on the show.

[01:21:51] Antonia Botero: I’d love to. This was really great.

[01:21:51] Patrick Donley: Okay, folks, that’s all I had for today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed the show and I’ll see you back here real soon. 

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