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New Miami Blog

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

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).

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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

The Game Changers in Transforming Miami

On February 25, 2015, Suzanne Amaducci-Adams moderated the first event in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s three-part series, Transforming Miami: The Game Changers Series. With intimate knowledge of Bilzin Sumberg’s work on the projects of the featured speakers, Suzanne guided a discussion that covered issues concerning Miami’s growth, infrastructure needs, current real-estate development trends and challenges, and where the City will be in 10 years.

Bilzin Sumberg protraits for websiteFeatured speakers Nitin Motwani, Vince Signorello, Christopher Gandolfo, and Steven Grentenstein respectively spoke about the Miami Worldcenter, All Aboard Florida, Brickell City Centre, and Design District projects. These projects encompass retail spaces, hotels, offices, a convention center, mass transit, and residential spaces. As experienced attorneys in the Real Estate and Land Development and Government Relations fields, we believe, like the speakers, that Miami is on a trajectory that will demand more investment in mass transit, creative infrastructure and design solutions, and the harmonizing of the needs of the private sector and the desires of the political bodies. Continue Reading

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