Vía Vai prospered, and by the late 1990s, the firm's 40 outlets in Argentina and numerous others in Brazil, Chile, France and Italy grossed around US$30 million in net sales. Faena sold the chain in the year 2000, after which he relocated to the resort city of Punta del Este, Uruguay. Capital from the sale of Vía Vai allowed him to approach renowned French designer Philippe Starck with a concept for the creation of a hotel, residential and cultural complex in the newly renovated Puerto Madero docklands of Buenos Aires. This association, in turn, secured the interest of New York-based Russian developer Len Blavatnik, who made US$100 million available for the development of the "Faena Arts District."
The first segment of the district, the Faena Hotel+Universe, was opened in 2004, and in 2005, Puerto Madero lots were purchased for the development of El Aleph, a residential and cultural complex, and El Molino, residences built in a former silo and designed by Norman Foster. These investments were followed in 2008 by the purchase of the Hotel Lago Moreno, in scenic Bariloche, for the purpose of a similar (though smaller), cultural, hotel and residential complex in that Andes range city.
Though Faena's future development plans had been affected by the international real estate crisis that erupted in 2008, the El Aleph complex has been garnering the second-highest sale prices in Buenos Aires: around US$5,400 per square meter (US$500 per sq ft).
The most recent Faena Art District project, opened in September 2011, involves the transformation of another early 20th century building: Los Molinos, which houses the new Faena Arts Center with exhibitions by Ernesto Neto and many more artists of international acclaim.
Faena is a member of the Tate International Committee and the Tate Latin American Acquisitions Committee. He created the "F Awards for the Arts" in 2006: a program that awards subsidies for interdisciplinary projects designed by emerging local artists.