Tuesday, September 26, 2023 Sep 26, 2023
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Commercial Real Estate

Designing Luxury Hospitality Experiences Around the Globe

Dallas-based Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects has grown from three to 30 employees in five years.
By | |Photos courtesy of Nunzio Marc Desantis Architects
Dream Work: The partnership team of Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects. Courtesy NMDA

Award-winning architect Nunzio DeSantis and his son Marc aren’t afraid to face off against the giants of the industry. Their namesake firm, Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects has had an outsized impact since it launched in May 2017. For Nunzio, it was a chance to get back to the roots of design after 40-years in hospitality architecture at HKS led him into a leadership role that was more administrative than creative. For Marc, it was a chance to come back home to Dallas and be closer to his family after going away for school at the University of Notre Dame and cutting his teeth at a large architecture firm in New York City.

With its headquarters in the Design District, the father-son-led architecture firm specializes in hotels (including convention center hotels), resorts, restaurants, and other hospitality concepts. The firm’s portfolio boasts work for major luxury brands across the U.S. and in Mexico, Costa Rica, and other markets around the globe. Locally, NMDA recently designed the forthcoming 223-room hotel at Cityplace Tower, an iconic 42-story office high-rise off U.S. 75 at Haskell Avenue. “Some of the most memorable times of my life are made when I’m traveling,” Marc says. “The thing I love most about my job and our company is that we get to help create those same experiences for others.”

NMDA has seen rapid growth in its first five years, ballooning from three full-time employees at founding to more than 30 employees today. Despite the slowdown in hospitality development during the pandemic, NMDA persevered without a single layoff because of strong client relationships, Nunzio says. In a David-versus-Goliath moment, Nunzio, Marc, and two architecture interns designed one of the firm’s first major projects—an 800-room hotel for the $1.1 billion Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center expansion—beating out some of the country’s largest firms. How? Marc says NMDA remains steadfastly focused on design. It partners with other architecture firms for construction documents, permitting, and delivery. “We know the value that we bring to our clients is design,” Marc says. “And we are purposefully small but mighty. It’s the DNA of our company and what helps us stay agile and innovative in what we do.”

And it’s a winning strategy that NMDA plans to employ well into the future. “One of the greatest things about working with my son,” Nunzio says, “is knowing that the business relationships we forge and the projects that we help create will transcend for generations to come.”  

Renovation: Santa Fe’s Bishop’s Lodge recently got a $75 million face-lift, led by Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects.


Brandon J. Call

Brandon J. Call

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Brandon J. Call is the former executive editor for D CEO magazine. An award-winning business and data journalist, Call previously…

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