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Biography: Michael Robbins

Michael Anthony Robbins was born July 14, 1968 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the only child of Charles and Maggie Robbins. Charles Robbins, Ph.D. is a Professor of Literature at Loyola University - New Orleans, where he has been on the faculty since 1967. Maggie Robbins is a music teacher at nearby Lusher Elementary.

The couple had high hopes for their son to follow in their academic footsteps, but Michael was never more than an average student. In high school, Michael preferred to spend his time on extra curricular activities like pep club, drama club, and debate club, instead of studying. Even though Michael was uncertain whether he wanted to attend college, he was accepted into Loyola, largely because of his father's long-time position at the university, and enrolled in classes in the Fall of 1986.

During his sophomore year at Loyola, Michael was floundering academically. He started going out to night clubs and bars in New Orleans to forget his troubles for a while. With his gregarious nature, Michael made lots of friends on the club circuit, most of them older and working in "the real world." One of his new friends, real estate developer John LeChamp, saw a spark in Michael and thought he could have a great career in real estate. John offered Michael a sales job. Michael accepted immediately and dropped out of Loyola in 1988.

Michael got his real estate license and made important friends in high places while working for LeChamp Properties. In 1990, John gave Michael his first project to manage on his own - a condominium development in a booming section on the outskirts of New Orleans. Michael was able to get backing for the project from various politicians and investors, and before he knew it, every unit was sold off the plan to families, retirees, and single people before the foundations were poured. His first project was a huge success and no one was more surprised than Michael himself. Suddenly he was the whiz kid of New Orleans real estate and the hottest developer in town.

Seizing the opportunity, Michael left LeChamp Properties and started his own company - Robbins Developments. In the beginning, Michael had more investors than he knew what do with and he started three housing developments around New Orleans at the same time. But without the resources of LeChamp Properties, Michael was spread too thin, and all of the developments lost money. His investors deserted him and Robbins Developments was on the verge of bankruptcy.

In 1993, Steve Berlucci, one of Michael's old friends from his clubbing days, contacted him about relocating Robbins Developments to Gulfport, Mississippi and developing some properties there. It was the only project Michael had been offered in months, so he closed up shop in New Orleans and moved to Gulfport.

Gulfport was a hotbed of construction activity in that first full year of legalized casino gaming in Mississippi. Michael carved his niche building attractive and affordable condominiums around Gulfport. Steve Berlucci and some of his friends in the casino gaming industry provided the backing for Michael's projects and soon there were Robbins Developments properties cropping up all around Gulfport, with a few in Biloxi and Tunica as well. Despite the forecasts of his former business associates in New Orleans, Michael's business was thriving, making more money than seemed possible.

To keep up with the ever-changing market, Michael often read books about psychology and trends, so he could tune into how people were thinking. His philosophy was that the way to win people over was not just to sell a property but to sell a lifestyle. He used his expert people skills on both clients and employees, negotiating deals that yielded maximum profit for Robbins Developments. A few local construction contractors grumbled privately about Michael's business practices, but his business never suffered.

When he wasn't working, Michael relaxed in the local casinos or at private parties he and his gaming friends hosted regularly. Michael enjoyed gambling and often spent hours at the Blackjack tables. He also never lost his taste for partying, which he first developed in the bars and clubs of New Orleans. Some observers speculated that Michael had developed quite a cocaine habit, but he was never caught taking drugs of any kind. He was romantically linked for a time with Steve Berlucci's younger sister, Angela. But when Michael showed no inclination towards marriage after a year of dating, the relationship fizzled and Angela moved back to New York.

After more than five highly successful years in Gulfport, many of Michael's business associates and friends were stunned when he abruptly moved his operations to Oxford in late 1998. He announced his first Oxford development would be aimed at the university market. He broke ground for The Clovers condominiums on College Hill Road in March 1999 and the property was nearly sold out by the time it was completed in October. Michael immediately started work on his next project - Kelly Green. After a few delays, construction began on the development off Route 7 south of Oxford in June 2000.

Since moving to Oxford, Michael has become known as one of the most eligible bachelors in town. While he dates several women, friends say he has recently become smitten with one woman in particular. However, Michael has refused to tell his friends who the woman is, apparently because she has rebuffed his repeated attempts to start a relationship. Michael continues to play as hard as he works in Oxford, just as he did in Gulfport and New Orleans. Outside of work, he can often be found out on the town or entertaining friends at his condominium at The Clovers.

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