On Tuesday, March 4th, Florida lawmakers gathered in Tallahassee for the start of the 2014 legislative session. Lawmakers now have 60 days to pass their bills into law. For those of us in South Florida, we want to follow this session not only because it takes place during an election year, but also because several of the “must watch” issues hit close to home:
- Gaming: The Senate is set to propose three separate bills related to gaming, including one that would allow for the creation of two $2 billion resort casinos. The bill would also permit slot machines at dog and horse tracks outside of South Florida.
- Water/Environment: Governor Scott has proposed $130 million in funding for restoration and cleanup of the Everglades. He has requested $30 million of that money be used to help reconstruct a 2.6 mile section of the Tamiami Trail. A bridge would replace that section of the berm on which Tamiami Trail is currently built, so that water north of the road could flow into the Everglades to help preserve water quality.
The Wynwood district north of downtown is becoming a hot spot for mixed-use development activities. Recent articles in the South Florida Business Journal and Curbed report that construction is under way on Wynwood House, a mixed use building that will include restaurants, office space, and live/work units, and Green Space, a retail/office building, both on NW 26th Street. Over on NW 23rd Street, a New York investor plans a major renovation of a 23,400 square foot building that is to become office and retail space for the “creative industry.”
Mixed-use developments present unique challenges. The integration of multiple uses into a single structure is a complicated process that requires thoughtful coordination of the architect, engineers, contractors and designers. There are potential issues that must be addressed in every phase of the project, from legal to design through construction, which means that construction costs can be greater than they would be in a single-use project. In addition to navigating through a recently revised complex landuse and an expansive Florida building code, there are many construction best practices for mixed-use developments that should be considered. A potential investor or developer considering a project in this trendy but challenging district of Miami is well advised to assemble an experienced team of professionals.
Miami is a hot bed for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, and is one of the most innovative business communities in the country. It’s certainly no surprise, seeing as Florida is ranked the #2 state to do business in, due to its favorable tax environments and quality of life. Where Miami offers all the trappings of a cosmopolitan lifestyle and year-round warm weather, many entrepreneurs have built successful businesses locally, and many others have moved to Miami after building wealth in other states or countries. During the entrepreneur’s lifetime, he or she generally keeps a firm grip on management of family assets. However, planning for management of these assets on the death or disability of entrepreneurs poses unique challenges for their families and advisors.
Upon the death or disability of an entrepreneur, the management of the family’s wealth (often spread across three or more generations and including interests in closely-held businesses, real estate and more liquid investments held individually and in trust) can be a daunting undertaking. Often a sophisticated family member or advisor steps up to manage the wealth with the help of accountants, lawyers, consultants, investment advisors and others. This is at best a temporary solution, however, and one that is not always available. For many families, a trust company may step in and take the laboring oar. In some situations, however, the family may to wish to coordinate closely among different branches of the family or to retain assets (such as agricultural properties, family owned businesses or private equity investments) a traditional trust company would prefer not to manage. In those circumstances, the family should consider utilizing a family trust company.
A family trust company is a custom made solution for families whose circumstances are too complicated for an individual and whose assets are unsuited for public trust company trustees. As its name implies, a family trust company is an entity owned by family members which serves in a fiduciary role for the family (but not members of the general public). A family trust company may serve as trustee and provide investment advisory, wealth management and administrative services for a family. The family trust company can foster a high level of responsiveness and flexibility, and may allow continued family involvement in asset management. The family trust company may also encourage family unity by providing a platform for consolidation of investments and family office management. Entrepreneurs who hope to provide a lasting legacy for their descendants may find the family trust company to be an essential part of their long term planning.
We recently posted about condo-hotels and their apparent comeback in the marketplace. Now, a recent Supreme Court decision that decreases the restrictions historically inherent to these types of properties could intensify the demand and spark a resurgence for condo-hotel projects in Miami and beyond.
The United States Supreme Court decision last week to refuse to hear Salameh v. Tarsadia Hotel offers reassurance in what can be a confusing and murky area of securities regulations. Back in August 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed the Salameh case, which questioned whether the sale of condo units in the San Diego Hard Rock hotel involved the sale of securities. Purchasers of condo units in the San Diego Hard Rock contended that they purchased securities when they bought condo units and subsequently entered into a rental management agreement under which the unit owners would receive a percentage of the rental profits. In its opinion, the Ninth Circuit noted that the 8-15 month gap between when the owners purchased the condo units and when they entered into the rental management agreements suggested these were distinct transactions that did not require compliance with securities regulations. Continue Reading
Miami’s technology movement is not on the brink of happening…it is happening and it’s happening now. With the Downtown Development Authority’s success in facilitating hedge fund Universa Investments’ relocation to Miami, and the eMerge Americas tech conference set to take place May 2nd through May 6th, Miami is getting the world’s attention for more than just its beaches and nightlife. Hosting eMerge is a fitting role for Miami, given eMerge Americas’ focus on bridging the gap between technology in North and South America and the fact that Miami boasts of a demographic representative of the different nations that comprise all of the Americas. At Bilzin Sumberg, we are thrilled to be part of this movement and a sponsor of eMerge Americas.
During his State of the County Address this week, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez emphasized the importance of following the national trend of increasing public-private partnerships (P3s) to “tackle the urgent challenge of renewing our infrastructure at a pace that matches the county’s growth.”
The private sector has reciprocated with much eagerness to partner with Miami-Dade County. In fact, the County received over 30 responses from around the world to put together more than $7 billion worth of projects since the County asked for input from the private sector last November. The County is already seeking to replace and improve its outdated water and sewer infrastructure with help from the private sector.
This summer, Miami-Dade County also plans to partner with the private sector to build a new water treatment plant in South Miami Heights, to meet the area’s rising water supply needs. P3 relationships will no doubt continue to thrive.
The reconnection of the freight-rail service to PortMiami is in effect. In recent months, the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) has begun train service carrying cargo containers directly onto PortMiami’s docks. Soon, one to two trains are expected to serve the Port per day. As highlighted by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez during his State of the County Address on Wednesday, Feb. 26th, the opening of the Port tunnel is “on time, on budget, and without tolls.”
Back in 2005, freight-rail service to PortMiami was suspended after Hurricane Wilma severely damaged a rail bridge leading into and out of the port. Restoration of rail service to PortMiami will not only expedite intermodal delivery of cargo throughout Florida, but also reconnect PortMiami with the national rail systems (CSX and Norfolk Southern) to improve movement of goods into the continental U.S. Continue Reading
The University of Miami just announced plans to build a 200,000 square foot medical facility at its main campus in Coral Gables. Currently, many of UM’s medical facilities are concentrated in Miami’s Health District, where the Miller School of Medicine is located. Once completed, physicians from the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, currently working in the Health District, will relocate to the new Coral Gables facility. Other services to be offered include urgent care, outpatient surgery, physical therapy and diagnostic imaging. UM reportedly planned to build the new ambulatory care center earlier, but delayed moving forward with the project due to the recession. The new facility will bring UM’s healthcare offerings into competition with several Baptist Health South Florida hospitals and the Larkin Community Hospital.
Renovation and Expansion Plans Underway for Existing Healthcare Facilities
UM’s planned facility is just the latest in a string of planned new facilities, and expansions and renovations of existing healthcare centers in South Florida. In Broward County, Memorial Health Care is seeking approval from the South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners to undertake $7.2 million in renovations to its outpatient rehabilitation centers and the high-risk unit at the Family Birthplace at Memorial Regional.
The arrival of David Beckham in Miami has incited a new kind of soccer fever in the city known to frequent soccer games in crowds of over 70,000. Most newsworthy right now is the talk of building a soccer stadium in Miami. The Miami Herald reports that Beckham and his team hope to purchase land from Miami-Dade County for his team’s new stadium.
As we discussed in a prior post, the sale of a public asset (such as County property) for a private operation is not a public-private partnership (P3). Rather, a P3 requires that the private partner and public entity share in both the risks and benefits of the project.
The forecast is sunny this week in New Miami news, as details of expansion for a variety of retail stores emerge, and industry experts predict continuous future economic growth in our thriving metropolis.
Jobs, wages and real estate prices will keep climbing this year in South Florida, as will government, corporate and consumer spending, a global investment strategist said Tuesday.
Miami’s retail industry is poised for growth across the food and beverage, automobile and electronic retail industries.
The Aventura Mall will soon demolish its existing food court to build a new three-story wing of stores and a parking garage of up to seven levels tall.
Universa Investment’s move is the first big win for the Miami Downtown Development Authority’s push to lure hedge funds and private equity groups from high-tax states such as California and New York.