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New Miami Blog

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

Think your Cellphone Usage is Private? Think Again

Cell Phone PrivacyIn a closely-watched case out of Miami, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals redefined the zone of privacy for cell phone users. As the Tech World was focused on Miami for the second annual eMerge conference, the court issued an opinion permitting prosecutors to obtain records from mobile carriers—without a search warrant—allowing the tracking of an individual’s movements through his or her cell phone’s interaction with cell towers.

In U.S. v. Davis, the Eleventh Circuit, sitting en banc, considered the appeal of Quartavious Davis who was convicted by a Miami jury of participating in seven armed robberies. At trial, the prosecution presented accomplice and eye witness testimony that Davis was involved in seven separate armed robberies in a two-month period. The prosecutors also introduced historical cell tower records obtained from Davis’ mobile carrier for the time period spanning the robberies. The records contained a history of numbers dialed by Davis and the cell tower that connected each call. The prosecutors called a police officer that was able to pinpoint on a map the exact location of each robbery and—using the data obtained from Davis’ mobile carrier—the location of the cell tower that connected Davis’ calls around the time of each robbery. While Davis’ location was not precise, the evidence gave the government a basis to argue that the calls to and from Davis’ cell phone were connected through cell tower locations near the robbery locations. Several witnesses testified that Davis used his cell phone around the time of the robberies. These facts allowed the prosecutors to assert that Davis was necessarily near the locations of the robberies at the times they occurred. Continue Reading

Luxury & Culture Behind Miami’s Growth as a Destination for the Wealthy

MiamiSkylineThe City of Miami continues to emerge as a top global destination for the über-wealthy. According to Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report (2015), Miami is ranked 6th globally, 2nd in the U.S. and will remain among the world’s top 10 most important cities to Ultra High Net Worth Individuals for the next decade. The wealth report credits the influx of wealth to Miami’s cultural diversity and strong emphasis on quality of life.

Recent articles in the South Florida Business Journal and The Real Deal focused on the latest migration of wealth to Miami. With the inflow of high-wealth individuals comes the demand for luxurious accommodations (both residential and hospitality) and lavish commodities. Continue Reading

Is Urban Renewal Miami’s Next Economic Engine?

MetroMiami may soon join the ranks of other major U.S. metropolises boasting innovative urban trail projects that have transformed neighborhoods and ignited a firestorm of private investment. The Underline, a proposed development catalyzed by the nonprofit group Friends of the Underline in partnership with Miami-Dade County, will convert the underutilized land below the County’s Metrorail line into a landmark system of urban trails and linear parks integrated with County transit.

A look at other comparable projects around the country suggests the Underline may be a powerful economic driver for Miami. New York City’s much-lauded High Line, a roughly 1.5-mile elevated linear park built on an unused portion of the New York Central Railroad, draws nearly five million visitors each year and has spurred $2 billion in adjacent real estate development. In Atlanta, the transformation of a 22-mile historic rail corridor into linear parks and multi-use trails known as the Beltline has generated $2.4 billion in private development. Continue Reading

Miami: The Next Global Frontier


Miami’s second annual eMerge Americas Conference marks another milestone in the city cementing itself as a hub for tech startups and entrepreneurs. In the last 18 months, Miami has established and cemented many of the key components it will need to continue to mature as a global hub for tech, including the growth of collaborative workspaces, entrepreneurship incubators and venture capital firms. However, developing the ecosystem needed to sustain growth will require the continued efforts of our entrepreneurs, workspaces and investors.

Click here to learn more about those key components and what the future holds for Miami’s startup and tech scene.

We invite you to visit our Innovation Group’s booth at eMerge Americas Conference this weekend and learn more about Miami’s quickly growing tech scene.


Get Charged with Bilzin Sumberg at eMerge Americas

KWjGUIGd_400x400Bilzin Sumberg invites you to visit our booth at the eMerge Americas Conference on May 1-5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. More than 10,000 attendees are expected to engage in networking events and interactive sessions which will serve as a platform to connect innovators, investors and thought leaders across North America, Europe and Latin America.

See firsthand how Miami is becoming the latest international tech hub and take the opportunity to meet some of the world’s top startups in the eMerge Startup Showcase. NBC will be broadcasting live from the expo floor, and an array of some of the world’s most innovative products will be on display.

Visit us at booth F04 to charge your phone, have some coffee, enter to win a Mophie Powerstation Plus and to share your insights about how a more diverse tech ecosystem is creating opportunities in Miami.

Click here to learn more about the conference.

Senate Tightens Requirements for Construction Defect Claims

ConstructionThe Florida Senate is following a recent national trend of tightening its laws governing construction defect claims. Currently, under FL. Stat. § 558.004, entitled Notice and Opportunity to Repair, a party claiming a construction defect must serve a notice of claim upon the party whom they have contracted with to perform work. To date, the notices of claim only require “reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of each alleged defect and a description of the damage or loss resulting from the defect, if known.” However, the days of these relaxed requirements may be nearing an end.

Under the proposed legislation, Senate Bill No. 418, the Florida Senate sends a clear message: specificity is key. The amended statute contains additional language that would require a claimant to:

Identify the specific location of each alleged construction defect to enable the responding parties to locate all of the alleged construction defects without undue burden. The notice of claim must also identify the specific provisions of the building code, project plans, project drawings, project specifications, or other documentation, information or authority that serve as the basis of the claim for each alleged construction defect. SB No. 418, FL. Stat. § 558.004(1)(b).

Continue Reading

Miami’s Green Spaces Are Prime Assets for Public-Private Partnerships

p3 revised photo public transportationOn March 29, 2015, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, of which Bilzin Sumberg is a member, hosted an event that discussed infrastructure plans that would increase Miami’s walkability and bikeability. In addition to increasing modes of mobility, the plans that were discussed would also allow Miami to recapitalize its unused green spaces as assets that can revitalize Miami’s urban core and provide workable solutions to the growing need for transportation options. Social Infrastructure public private partnerships (“PPP” or “P3″) should not be overlooked by eager investors or municipalities in Miami as viable options for monetizing underutilized assets and solving problems that hamper smart growth.

The speakers at the event were Ryan Gravel who discussed Atlanta’s Beltline, Meg Daly who discussed Miami’s proposed Underline, Bernard Zyscovich who discussed Plan Z and Rickenbacker Park, and Victor Dover who discussed Wheels Miami. The Underline, previously dubbed GreenLink, is fully funded for its master planning and would create a linear park and urban trail beneath the Metrorail train path. Renderings that were created by Architecture students at the University of Miami provide for the possibility of amenity kiosks, gardens, lighting and renovations of walkways and bicycle paths. The Underline would potentially connect to Rickenbacker Park and other pedestrian and bicycle paths. The idea is similar to New York City’s High Line, which is comprised of an elevated linear park that was built on historic, unused railway tracks.

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Why Miami Offers Attractive Opportunities to Chinese Investors

money plantMore so than ever, wealthy Chinese investors are actively seeking returns abroad when it comes to real estate investments. China’s 2014 GDP growth of 7.4% was the slowest since 1990 and China’s growth outlook is gloomy due to its impending real estate bubble. Chinese developers have demonstrated in the past few years that they are not afraid to undertake large projects on foreign soil.

In 2013,  Chinese commercial developer, ABP China (Holding), entered into a £1 billion deal to transform a 35-acre site at Royal Albert Dock in London into a business district that would serve as a gateway for Asian and Chinese business into Europe. Also in 2013, China Vanke Company, partnered with Tishman Speyer to build San Francisco’s second tallest residential tower. In December 2014, Shanghai-based Greenland Group partnered with Forest City Ratners Construction to commence construction of a $5 billion development near the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, New York, which will comprise of 14 residential buildings and eight acres of green space. Continue Reading

Advisory Committee’s Recommendations: Positive Sign for South Florida Companies

shutterstock_57954802We previously discussed the SEC’s decision to allow businesses to solicit accredited investors and what this could mean for the growth of companies in Florida. Now, the SEC is weighing whether the definition of ‘accredited investor’ needs to be amended in the context of continuing to guarantee the health of start-up and other companies and their impact on our economy.

On March 4, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies approved its written recommendations regarding changes to the SEC’s definition of “accredited investor.” [1] Every four years starting in 2014, the Dodd-Frank Act requires the SEC to review the definition of “accredited investor,” as it applies to natural persons, to determine whether it should be modified for the protection of investors, in the public interest and in light of the economy.[2] Since the SEC amended its private placement rules in 2013 to allow companies to engage in general solicitation of investors and advertise their private placement offerings, there has been increased focus on whether the SEC should change the definition of “accredited investor.” Any changes to the definition could have dramatic effects on the private securities markets and the general economy by significantly increasing or decreasing the number of persons who qualify to invest in the private securities markets.[3] To put this in context, more than $1 trillion was raised in private placements in 2013, as compared to $1.3 trillion raised in public offerings in the same year.[4] As noted in the Advisory Committee’s recommendations, since a majority of net new jobs in the United States is generated by companies less than five years old, their ability to raise capital in the private securities markets is critical to the well-being of the United States. Continue Reading

Rising Traffic Concerns Could Provide Cash Flow Stability for Miami’s Transportation P3 Solution

shutterstock_151963727With plans to reduce Biscayne Boulevard to fewer lanes to allow for the creation of a promenade and bicycle lanes in Downtown Miami, some are arguing that the need for public transportation options cannot be clearer.

The drivers in Miami-Dade are in desperate need of public transportation options that will reduce commute times, improve quality of life issues, and support economic development growth. The recurring gridlock that even visitors (such as those who are in town during Art Basel) have to expect, could be an essential element in allowing Miami-Dade to be able to sell the idea of public private partnerships (“P3″) for transportation projects to private investors.

The frustrations created by the congestion that Miami’s heavy traffic causes can be converted into the cash flow stream that is key to a successful P3 and that would allow the local government to successfully “sell” the idea to the private sector. The opportunity currently exists to recapitalize Miami’s infrastructure using a P3 that offers expanded options for mass transit and incorporates modern design and innovative operational techniques. Miami has one-of-a kind potential to attract investment. Given the alternative, Miami residents and visitors may elect to forgo their cars and provide the strong ridership that investors will consider when judging the ability of a mass transit P3 to generate stable and predictable revenues. Continue Reading