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New Miami Blog

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

The Impact is Being Felt

University-of-Miami-Real-Estate-Impact-Conference-3The University of Miami held its fourth annual Real Estate Impact Conference on February 18th at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami in Downtown Miami. In front of a standing room only crowd of approximately 600 people, both local and national real estate heavyweights spoke on topics such as Retail Evolution and Revolutions, New Concepts in Lifestyle Hotels and Creating Value in Urban Real Estate by the Use of Public Space. The keynote speaker was Richard LeFrak, Chairman and CEO of the LeFrak Organization, a privately held, family run company based in New York.

In the Retail Evolution and Revolutions panel, Michael Comras, President and CEO of the Comras Company, served as the moderator. The panelists were Robert Cohen, President, Southern California, for RKF; David Forbes, a partner in The Forbes Company; Matthew Lazenby, President and CEO of Whitman Family Development; and Erich Melsheimer, Senior Director of Real Estate of Gap, Inc. The panelists focused on Miami Worldcenter, Brickell City Centre and Miami Design District projects. Comras asked whether there was enough room in the retail for those three major projects. According to David Forbes,

“Miami is now the third biggest market after New York and L.A. for luxury retail.”

The panelists seemed to unanimously agree that all three projects could succeed and noted that each one is unique. Miami Worldcenter will be anchored by Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, Brickell City Centre will be anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, and Miami Design District is focused on high end luxury retail, with stores such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Cartier and Rolex. Matthew Lazenby compared Brickell City Centre to Rockefeller Center in Manhattan as far as scale. The panelists also discussed the evolution of Lincoln Road on Miami Beach into a high street retail destination with new stores being built for The Gap, Apple, Forever 21 and H&M, among others. Cohen highlighted that retail rents have doubled on Lincoln Road over the past 6 years. The combination of these three major projects, together with Lincoln Road, will certainly transform the retail market in Miami and bring it to new heights as a significant player in the retail market worldwide. Continue Reading

Upstart 100 List Continues To Solidify Miami as Emerging Tech Startup Platform

Upstart Business Journal’s first-ever Upstart 100 list features two South Florida entrepreneurs.

Rony Abovitz, CEO of startup Magic Leap, and Susan Amat, founder of Venture Hive, were both recognized on the Upstart 100 list, which includes inventors, backers and entrepreneurs leading the charge in today’s shifting marketplace. The list includes legends like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

Rony Abovits, who previously brought medical device company MAKO Surgical to a $1.65 billion exit is now leading Magic Leap, a Dania-based virtual reality company founded in 2011 that was rolled out in 2014, with a $542 million investment led by Google and a valuation of $2 billion. Continue Reading

Miami-Dade County’s P3 Approach to Courthouse Project

From left to right: City of Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard; Bilzin Sumberg partner Albert E. Dotson, Jr.; Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez

Last week, Bilzin Sumberg hosted a two-day conference of national and international P3 experts, including representatives from various state and county governments. During the luncheon general session as I interviewed Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, we touched on the Miami Dade Board of County Commissioners’ creation of a P3 task force to tackle the Courthouse projects in Miami-Dade County, in order to keep all facilities running and explore options for expansion, and specifically highlighted Commissioner Juan C. Zapata’s proposal to look into forming a public-private partnership to create the new facilities. Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler also discussed Broward County’s federal courthouse P3 project. Continue Reading

Insights from the Americas Lodging Investment Summit conference

Guest blog post written by Max Comess, Director, HFF Hotel Group.

In January, our team attended the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) conference, one of the largest hotel investment conferences in the world, at the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Los Angeles. A reported 2,800 people registered for this year’s conference, just a fraction of the overall attendance that fills virtually every meeting room, restaurant table, and available nook at L.A. Live.

Abuzz with excitement, the tone was extremely positive, as everyone expected. Likely the most common catch phrase of the conference was “there’s plenty of runway left” in the current hotel investment cycle. Of course, we should note that this was the same catch phrase being used in 2006/07, and that none of the recent downturns resulted from running out of runway, but rather external shocks to the system that were basically unrelated to hotel fundamentals. Continue Reading

White House Proposes New P3 Financing Tool: Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds (QPIB)

Last month, the Obama administration proposed the creation of a new kind of municipal bond — Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds (QPIB), as a way to extend the benefits of municipal bonds to public private partnerships.

Presently, the government has in place the Private Activity Bonds program, which has been used by local and state governments to finance over $10 billion of roads, tunnels, and bridges.  The QPIB would function essentially as a cross between governmental bonds and private-activity bonds.  Public Activity Bonds are restricted by issuance caps, expiration dates, and the interest is subject to the alternative minimum tax. QPIBS would not be subject to these restrictions and would widen the scope of financing for different types of infrastructure projects, including airports, ports, mass transit, solid waste disposal, sewer, and water, and more surface transportation projects. Continue Reading

P3 Hub South Live Blogging – Join the Conversation

Bilzin Sumberg, in partnership with P3 Bulletin, is proud to host P3 Hub South, a two-day conference bringing together top national and international players in the public sector, including U.S. government agency officials, mayors and local government staff, and leading global public-private partnership (“P3″) innovators in the private sector, including investors, developers, construction firms and advisors, to explore the future of the region’s P3 industry.  Following an evening of roundtable discussions and networking opportunities, the event kicked off this morning at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami with a panel discussion on the South’s evolving P3 marketplace, major upcoming infrastructure projects and lessons learned throughout the P3 process. Continue Reading

2015 Economic Outlook. Blue Skies Ahead.

Renowned economist Hugh F. Kelly (PhD, CRE), Clinical Professor in New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate and the 2014 national Chairman of The Counselors of Real Estate, led a discussion at a CREW-Miami luncheon regarding issues affecting the commercial real estate market in 2015 and gave his annual economic predictions.

Some of the highlights from his presentation:

- Labor Markets.  In 2014 there were approximately 2,952,000 new jobs and Hugh predicts there will be 3.2 million new jobs in 2015. Unemployment was down 5.6% from the prior year. Notwithstanding the increase in the number of new jobs, Hugh discussed the need to prepare for a change of state from a labor surplus economy to a labor shortage one, and that the global talent search must start now. Hugh suggested that without a change in our immigration policy, the U.S. as a whole will face a shortage of workers. Employers will need to figure out how to retain employees by offering better benefit packages and incentives, which will be eventually followed by an increase in wages. Employment and job growth is essential for the real estate sector because it is the catalyst for increased sales in retail and spending in the hospitality market, as well as for the rise in office occupancy.

Miami employment proved more resilient than the U.S. in the last recession and as well as in its recovery. Continue Reading

Transit Oriented Development Critical to Metropolitan Growth

Urban Development: Faster Greener Commutes Key to Sustained City Growth, a report released in October 2014 by Cushman & Wakefield, provided insight into Transit Oriented Development as it explored “the consequences of rapid population growth in 10 major North American cities”—with Miami being one. The study found that the majority of these major cities’ workforce is burdened by challenging commutes and substantial congestion because of aging and insufficient infrastructure. Developers and municipalities have recognized this direct impact on growth and, as a result, a rapidly growing portion of new commercial development has shifted to be strikingly more transit oriented. All Aboard Florida, a leader in this development, is seeking to connect South Florida’s tri-county area with each station (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach) being a vehicle to improve individuals’ transportation, while also serving as an engine for growth in its surrounding areas.

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Real Estate Joint Venture Tips

A recent New York Times article described the increased presence of New York developers in the South Florida condominium market. The fact is that Miami real estate market has always been a seductive one for out of state developers, and the upside in the development opportunities in the South Florida real estate market simply continues to proliferate. Best of all, more interest in South Florida means more opportunities for local developers to partner with or enter into joint ventures with those venturing into this market. Continue Reading

eMerge Announces Major Partnership

Once again, Miami is making headlines as it continues to establish itself as a burgeoning tech hub. The upcoming 2nd annual tech conference eMerge Americas, scheduled to take place on Miami Beach on May 1-5, 2015, has a new partner: On Wednesday, NBC Universal and Telemundo announced a multi-year exclusive global media partnership with eMerge Americas. This partnership – which will reach over 147 million viewers-  is certain to significantly expand the national and international exposure for the Miami tech conference, which was founded in 2014 by Miami’s own Manny Medina. Continue Reading