Cuba’s telecommunications industry and Miami’s expanding Silicon Beach

CubaThe social and familial ties Miami has to Latin America are well known. What may be less obvious are its network connections. Miami is ranked as one of the top-five most connected cities in the world. Miami’s growing telecommunications industry, including the eMerge Americas movement, has earned it the name “Silicon Beach.” About 90% of data traffic from Central and South America passes through Verizon Terremark’s Network Access Point (NAP) facility, located in Downtown Miami. Miami’s development as a technology hub for Latin America has drawn the attention of major industry players who have recently opened regional offices in Miami, such as Facebook and Apple, as well as government leaders who are investing in Miami’s infrastructure so it can better support this growing industry. Continue Reading

P3 Legislation in Florida

P3On September 24-25, Miami-Dade County held a P3 Institute entitled “The P3 Pipeline: A Forum for the Private Sector.” Among the topics discussed at the Institute was a measure currently before the Florida Legislature that, if enacted, will make the P3 procurement process easier for all parties involved.

Two bills, House Bill 97 and House Bill 95, have advanced to House committees and are moving through the legislative process. HB 97, known as “Public Records and Public Meetings,” is currently in the State Affairs Committee. HB 95, a companion bill known simply as “Public-Private Partnerships,” is in the Appropriations Committee. Approval by all required legislative committees is a necessary step before these bills can be introduced in the 2016 legislative session. Continue Reading

China Business Series Breakfast Seminar

Chinese FlagBilzin Sumberg Tax Partner Jeffrey Rubinger will speak this week at an MBAF China Business Series Breakfast Seminar in Miami where attendees will learn about current trends and initiatives in the China and U.S. markets.

Guests will also hear from Ralph Chow, Regional Director (Americas), Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Hernando Gomez, Business Valuation Director, MBAF. Topics include the belt and road initiative (growth of China, demand from China, strengths of Hong Kong), Chinese outbound investments, and structuring for Chinese investment in U.S. real estate.

The China Business Series Breakfast Seminar will be held at the Hilton Miami Downtown on Thursday, October 15 at 8:00am.

Please click here to register.

Hospitality Legal Panel

Hospitality Legal PanelOn Wednesday, September 30, Bilzin Sumberg Real Estate Practice Group Leader and Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association (GMBHA) Board of Director, Suzanne Amaducci-Adams, will moderate the Hospitality Legal Panel presented by GMBHA. Guests will hear from an experienced panel of attorneys including Bilzin Sumberg Litigation Attorney James Ward. Continue Reading

PortMiami Hoping to Continue P3 Success

Royal Caribbean - Port MiamiA new public private partnership (“P3″ or “PPP”) is coming to PortMiami. Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD (“RCCL”) seeks to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain a new cruise terminal in the northeast section of the Port. RCCL’s plans have been preliminarily memorialized in a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding that was approved at this Wednesday’s Miami-Dade County Commission meeting. Subsequent Commission approvals will be needed for the binding deal documents and agreements.

Typical of a P3, RCCL will do more than simply enter into a ground lease for space in a terminal. It will share the risk of designing, constructing, operating, and most importantly to the Port, financing the terminal. The maintenance responsibilities will be split between maintenance of the leasehold improvements by RCCL and maintenance  of the common areas outside the leased premises by the County, satisfying the remaining “M” element in the DBFOM (design, build, finance, operate, maintain) acronym that is used to characterize a P3. Continue Reading

Reform on the horizon for the popular EB-5 Program

Florida MapThe 2016 political season has kicked into high gear, sparking lively discussions about major issues affecting the country. Two of the most significant issues being debated among the candidates are the economy and immigration. Typically, these topics are analyzed independently; however, the conversation has recently intersected at the sun-setting EB-5 Visa Program which expires on September 30, 2015. Miami has recently created its own construct to benefit and grow from the EB-5 Program, so the political discussion is bound to heat up throughout this already hot month as Congress considers reforming this market for capital investment.

The EB-5 Visa Program, also known as the Immigrant Investor Program, is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – part of the Department of Homeland Security – and was established in 1990 to grant permanent residency to a foreign investor and their immediate family members who funds at least $500,000 to $1 million of the construction cost for a project that creates at least 10 domestic jobs. The smaller level of investment at the $500,000 threshold is permitted when the investment is specific for a “Targeted Employment Area,” meaning a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150% of the national average. Continue Reading

Why Miami’s global impact should grow — not wane — as foreign currencies decline

MiamiDuring the height of the Great Recession, naysayers predicted that it would take about 20 years to absorb the glut of new construction in South Florida. For at least that long, they predicted, South Florida would wallow in economic misery, its nascent popularity as a premier global destination fading into oblivion.

But South Florida proved to be much more resilient than predicted. With several Latin American economies (namely Brazil’s) booming, and Chinese investors looking for investment alternatives to traditional U.S. markets, South Florida’s depressed real estate market was a foreign investor’s dream. Continue Reading

New Spanish Language Blog Captures Essence of “New Miami”

logo (59)Bilzin Sumberg has launched Nuevo Miami, a Spanish language publication of the New Miami blog. Nuevo Miami focuses on sharing ground-level insights about the gateway city’s continually growing opportunities for foreign investors and expanding global significance as an international center of commerce.

International Group Co-Chairs, José Ferrer and Javier Aviñó, serve as editors on the Nuevo Miami blog. When speaking of Miami’s ongoing transformation, Javier F. Aviñó stated,

“We launched New Miami as Miami was rising from the ashes of the great recession. Now, with the city looking toward the horizon as we continue to grow as a hub for technology and innovation, we hope Nuevo Miami will strengthen Miami’s bond with the Latin American community that has long been such an integral part of its success.”

Continue Reading

Hostel Takeover: Part One

Hostel Takeover On our New Miami blog we often talk about Miami’s role as a trendsetting market for the hospitality industry. Over the last few years, Miami has been a popular launching point for luxury brands, such as The Thompson Miami Beach, Ian Schrager’s EDITION  Hotel South Beach, SIXTY Hotel’s Nautilus South Beach, AC Hotel by Marriott  and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger’s revitalization of The Raleigh Hotel as a hotel and private club. Each of these brands is competing in an luxury arms race to appeal to affluent travelers. However, Miami’s best kept secret, and potentially most lucrative, may just be a high-end hostel appealing to the elusive millennial market and its estimated $220 billion in annual spending power.

Hostels, long the lodging of choice with the international backpacking set rather than the international jet set, have long been a mainstay in Europe, but have struggled to take off in America. However, since opening in 2012 in the shell of an old motel to the north of South Beach, Freehand has quickly become a popular destination for both locals and tourists. For locals, it’s a popular hangout known for its food, drinks and entertainment. Tourists are attracted to its appeal to locals, trendy reputation and low rates. Unashamedly casual and low-key, Freehand is reminiscent of old Miami Beach and offers an affordable escape from the glitz and glamour of its more luxurious neighbors. Continue Reading

Miami-Dade County Proposed Budget Confirms Dedication To P3s

P3 BudgetLast week Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez introduced the County’s FY 2015-16 Proposed Budget and Multi-Year Capital Plan. A review of the budget’s line items confirms the County’s dedication to the use of public-private partnerships (“P3s”) in executing its ambitious capital improvement plans across the board. The County has allocated $250,000 for P3 consulting support to, as the mayor stated,

“help pay for the expertise needed to ensure these Public Private Partnership agreements include the needed protections to ensure the delivery of new facilities and services far into the future.”

According to the mayor, private consulting on the use of P3s will allow the County to take advantage of the increasing number of P3 opportunities presented by the private sector. Continue Reading