On July 23, more than 200 people attended The Beacon Council’s New Leaders Taskforce “Why Miami?” panel discussion, which provided an overview of Miami and its business and civic assets. The program was geared towards young professionals who are new to the Miami area, transitioning into the business community, or simply interested in getting more civically involved. The event was held at Florida International University’s Brickell Campus and included keynote speaker Alexandra Villoch, President & Publisher of the Miami Herald Media Company, and a panel discussion moderated by Matt Haggman, Miami Program Director at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.*
In July 2011, Congress launched the Patent Pilot Program. This program allows a small number of judges within a district court to take on the lion’s share of patent cases within the district, with the hope that these judges will develop an expertise in patent cases promoting efficiency within the judicial system. The Southern District of Florida was one of 14 district courts across the country selected to take part in this program. Since the implementation of the Patent Pilot Program, the number of patent litigations filed in the Southern District of Florida has skyrocketed. Three years later, however, Chief Judge Federico Moreno signed an order terminating the Southern District of Florida’s participation in the Patent Pilot Program.
Thanks to the permissive jurisdictional rules of 28 U.S.C. §1400, plaintiffs in patent cases have a large amount of leeway in choosing where to file their claims. Indeed, patent cases can be filed in any jurisdiction in which an allegedly infringing product is marketed or sold and the defendant maintains some business operations. This leads to plaintiffs filing in jurisdictions they believe are “friendly.” Several factors make the Southern District of Florida an attractive venue for plaintiffs prosecuting patent claims even without a designated panel of judges for patent cases.
TREPP Analytics recently provided the U.S. commercial real estate industry some positive news – both the CMBS delinquency rate and seriously delinquent loans are down. The delinquency rate as of June 2014 is 6.05% (compared to 8.65% a year ago), with seriously delinquent down to 5.92% from 8.37% last year. This decrease is seen across all commercial property types: lodging down 4.04%; retail 1.65%; multifamily 2.3%; and industrial 3.33%. The Mortgage Bankers Association also announced reduced delinquencies in their May 2014 news release.
Recent opinions in corporate governance litigation make clear that Miami courts are leading the way in developing Florida case law governing key corporate governance issues. In Dinuro Investments, LLC v. Camacho, Judge John Thornton of the Miami-Dade Complex Business Litigation Section dismissed an LLC member’s claims against the company’s members and managers. On July 9th, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed that decision, and in doing so, issued an opinion that has implications throughout the entire state.
The issue in the case was the same key issue present in almost any shareholder litigation: who gets the money? In other words, is the claim direct or derivative? In a direct claim, the plaintiff-shareholder receives any and all recovery. In a derivative action, the shareholder is still the plaintiff, but any recovery goes to the company. Given the bottom line nature of the distinction, it is not surprising that this is a hotly contested issue.
At the Beacon Council’s annual One Community One Goal Meeting, national retail department store Macy’s announced that it will be bringing its fashion incubator to Miami in order to foster and keep talent in Miami. In its two other locations in Chicago and Philadelphia, the Macy’s incubator has served as a residency on the business of fashion with a mentoring and educational component that provides training ranging from business planning, sales and marketing to pattern production and proportion theory. These incubators are two of five major fashion incubators in the country, among which is one created by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). The Macy’s incubator will select local emerging designers and provide workspace, curriculum, mentoring and other guidance and resources that will help the designers launch their fashion businesses.
Last month, a roundtable policy discussion on ways the financial community can invest in infrastructure using public-private partnerships (also known as P3s or PPPs) took place in New York City. The panel, chaired by U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, highlighted the current need across the U.S. to re-invest in infrastructure, including highways, water infrastructure, airports and public buildings. On July 17, 2014, President Obama addressed this need and announced a new initiative to boost private investment in public infrastructure, which would encourage collaboration between state and local governments and private-sector investors, expand the market for public-private partnerships and make greater use of federal credit programs.
The City of Miami has recently adopted a public-private partnership (“P3″) ordinance. The new City ordinance, combined with the recently passed Florida state P3 legislation, and Miami-Dade County P3 resolution, continue to endorse the usage of public-private partnership as a procurement method for public projects in South Florida. Such timely legislative activity facilitate the financing of the expansion and transportation projects of our community, such as the PortMiami Tunnel project, the future Bay Link, new rail connections and street transportation in Miami Beach.
Miami-based Canadian Consul General Louise Leger recently made an official visit to Pensacola, Florida. Leger is a 34-year veteran of the Canadian foreign service specializing in international business, and has been the Canadian government’s top trade representative in Florida since 2009. She spent her visit chatting with business groups like the Pensacola Greater Chamber of Commerce.
Canada may be something of an economic mystery to many Floridians who encounter that nation’s citizens mainly as tourists and might not be aware of other, substantial business connections. But they should be given that Canada sees the U.S. as a huge customer for its exports, with a 75 percent share of the international sales by Leger’s homeland.
No longer are the major hotel flags of the world the only ones taking their talents to South Beach. Boutique hotels are becoming the focus of the Miami hospitality market at a time when investors are pouring millions into Miami real estate.
The small boutique hotels that line Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive in Miami Beach — once controlled by mom-and-pop operators — have become the new darling of investors. They are being targeted by overseas capital, some of the country’s largest hospitality investors and brands reacting to a consumer demand for the personal service and memorable experience that boutique hotels can offer. Miami Beach is becoming a mecca for the reinvention of boutique hotels of all sizes, each attempting to bring a different, and in most cases, luxurious experience to the ever-increasing number of visitors to the area.
South Florida has long been a leading destination for conventions and trade shows, and the convention market is extremely competitive. As other cities have expanded and modernized their convention centers, ours have remained stagnant. It has been noted that the South Florida region no longer effectively competes for the events that bring the highest economic impact to the community. Fortunately, multiple area convention center projects, including many within the cities of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are now on the horizon, and together these projects can help to reestablish the South Florida area as the leading convention destination.