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New Miami Blog

Insights and Commentary on the Gateway City's Expanding Global Significance

Globalize Miami Series: PortMiami and its Significance to Miami’s Growth

In the weeks ahead, our New Miami Blog will present a series that asks how Miami can become the nation’s premier center for education, innovation and entrepreneurshipin global trade. We will invite PortMiami leadership as well as community leaders in logistics, trade organizations, shipping, real estate, education, finance and technology to share their insights and ideas for securing Miami’s position as the nation’s pre-eminent export gateway.

Proclaiming that it is “Big Ship Ready,” PortMiami has been counting the days until the expanded Panama Canal opens for business next year. With $2 billion invested in the new tunnel, the deep dredge of the Miami Channel, the restoration of on-dock rail service and new super-sized cargo cranes, PortMiami will be the first port of call on the Asia-to-U.S. trade route that will be able to efficiently accommodate the Post-Panamax mega-ships.

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Florida: A Model for P3 Legislation

The challenge posed by deteriorating infrastructure in communities throughout the United States has received increasing attention in recent years.  While roads and bridges are crumbling and important civic spaces such as convention centers are in desperate need of retrofit, infrastructure budgets at all levels of government are shrinking.  In this climate, public-private partnerships (“P3s”) have become a much-cited new source of funding. Most states throughout the country, however, lack comprehensive P3 legislation. 

The transportation sector has been a popular arena for the use of P3s throughout the United States. A map on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website reveals that even in this context many states have been slow to adopt laws that would stimulate the use of P3s. Thirty-three states and one territory have enacted statutes enabling the use of P3s for the development of transportation infrastructure. The remaining 17 states have yet to take action in this area. Some commentators have suggested the slow pace at which the U.S. has entered the P3 market has left American businesses inexperienced in the field, forced to forfeit profitable development opportunities to foreign interests.

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Art Basel Miami Beach Attracts World-Class Hotel Brands

Last week more than 75,000 art aficionados and celebrities from around the globe descended upon Miami for the 2014 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach.  What began in 2002 as a winter outpost of the original Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, the Miami Beach show has now overtaken its older sibling as the world’s largest modern and contemporary art show. Today, not only has the show outgrown its home at the Miami Beach Convention Center, it has led to the creation of Art Week Miami and spawned a whole host of satellite events throughout Miami Beach and across Biscayne Bay in Miami’s up-and-coming Design District, Wynwood, and Midtown Miami, as well as its cosmopolitan Downtown and Brickell neighborhoods.

The concept behind the Miami Beach show has proven so successful that Art Basel launched a third show in Hong Kong in 2013. However, while the show has put Miami on the international art map, its reach goes beyond the art world and offers businesses the opportunity to capture an elusive market demographic, the cultural influencers, the very celebrities and trendsetters that can give a product or brand the word of mouth buzz that leads to worldwide recognition and credibility.

With this powerful market segment congregating in Miami last week, new businesses throughout Miami have been in a rush to open their doors to the world for the first time. One notable opening in the lifestyle hospitality space is The Miami Beach Edition, a boutique lifestyle hotel collaboration between two unlikely partners, famed boutique hotelier, Ian Schrager, and the world’s largest hotel chain, Marriott International.

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Miami-Dade County’s Public Transit Plans Spur Development Opportunities

With Miami-Dade County making a concerted effort to expand its public transit system, South Florida developers are asking “what development opportunities will accompany the birth of such transit system?” Likewise, it will befit South Florida developers and attorneys to learn what zoning concessions Miami-Dade County must make in order to facilitate such transit-oriented development. A Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce seminar entitled ‘Development Along Transit Hubs’ was recently held at the law offices of Bilzin Sumberg to address these issues.

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Canadian Real Estate Brokerage Expands U.S. Reach Through South Florida Purchases

Canadian Real Estate Brokerage Avison Young, Inc. recently expanded its U.S. reach when it announced last week that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Miami-based commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group, LLC. The purchase will net Avison Young control of over 20 million square feet of Florida real estate.

Abood Wood-Fay was formed in 2002, and in 2005 the company aligned with Colliers. Headquartered in Coral Gables, the company boasted a portfolio of over one million square feet of managed property, six million square feet of property for lease and sale, and over 2,000 acres of commercial land.  Michael Fay and Donna Abood will become principals of Avison Young.

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MIA Expansion Indicative of City’s Economic Growth

For signs of economic growth in Miami, look no further than Miami International Airport, or as Miamians call it, “MIA.”  In the past couple of years, MIA has experienced incredible growth. It is recognized as the number one international gateway for the growing U.S. trade with Latin America and the Caribbean. It provides direct passenger service to 148 destinations around the world, and receives more international flights than any other airport in the U.S. Last year, MIA was ranked as the second most visited city by international visitors as it reached the 40 million passenger mark for the first time in the airport’s 85-year history, and set a new record for annual passengers for the fourth year in a row. Half of the 40 million were international passengers.

The latest evidence of this continued growth is its largest airline carrier’s need for more gate space. MIA officials’ plan to spend $65 million to modernize Concourse E to accommodate American Airlines’ need for urgent gate space as American Airlines adds more flights and makes changes to its flight schedule, increasing the frequency of its flights during peak times.

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Cyber Security Top Priority in Today’s Tech-Savvy World

While 2014 Has Seen Miami Emerge as a Growing Technology Hub, the Year Has Also Highlighted Significant Risks that Technology Poses for Businesses of all Types

Technology continues to be a hot industry throughout the world and particularly in Miami.  The burgeoning tech scene in Miami is being driven in part by companies looking to capitalize on the City’s connections to Latin America.  Some of the events adding to the Miami tech buzz this year include the inaugural eMerge Americas technology conference, the opening of the first U.S.-based Microsoft Innovation Center, at Venture Hive in Downtown Miami, and Citrix acquiring South Florida startup, Virtu.al.

However, with our ever-increasing reliance on technology comes new risks that now affect businesses of all types, ranging from retail to hospitality businesses and financial institutions.  Data breaches and cyber attacks have become a common occurrence, resulting in significant class action litigations, shareholder litigations and FTC enforcement actions.  As the number and scope of data breaches increase, so will the legal actions.

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Florida’s Medical Marijuana Amendment Defeated, but Zoning Issues Loom for Charlotte’s Web Law

In our previous post about the legal challenges that have been raised in the wake of the State of Florida’s establishment of selection rules for the issuance of licenses for growing and selling medical marijuana pursuant to the newly enacted Charlotte’s Web law, we mentioned that there are claims in the lawsuits filed against the State that involve the zoning regulations that are associated with the new law.

Zoning issues relating to medical marijuana will not cause as much havoc as was previously expected given the failure of Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical marijuana (and not just the low-THC strains used to treat epilepsy and cancer) via a constitutional amendment, to receive the 60% approval needed for its adoption in this week’s mid-term elections. Nevertheless, an opinion has not yet been rendered in the legal cases involving Charlotte’s Web and various municipalities have taken steps to delay the growth and sale of marijuana in their municipalities until they have established their own governing regulations.

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All Aboard Florida to Hold Public Information Workshops

All Aboard Florida broke ground on the first phase of the development this week, beginning construction on the Fort Lauderdale station and generating even more excitement around what is already a highly anticipated project. All Aboard Florida is an express passenger rail service unlike any other in the country. Offering services connecting major Florida metropolitan areas like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando, All Aboard Florida will reduce congestion on Florida roads, cut fuel emissions and increase tourism. It will be an excellent resource for vacationers, business travelers and local residents alike.

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Lincoln Road Property Prices Soar

Lincoln Road property values are soaring to new heights with tenant rents and property prices at record highs. Dating back to the 1920s, Lincoln Road has seen its share of transitional decades, but experts say this time it’s noticeably different:

“[i]n the realm of commercial real estate, Lincoln Road has taken its place among the most regaled ‘high streets’ of the world.”

With Lincoln Road’s star so clearly on the rise, investors and owners are capitalizing on the opportunity. The most recent, and likely most celebrated to date, was the sale of Terranova Corp. and Acadia Realty Trust’s joint venture six-building portfolio for $342 million—nearly 200% above its sales price just three years beforehand. “This transaction highlights the rapid evolution of the pedestrian mall, which has drastically transformed itself since the recession.”

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