Water P3s Now on Tap in South Florida

Tap WaterFlorida was an early pioneer in the United States of the public-private partnership (“P3”) model as a means of funding infrastructure improvements. In South Florida alone, we have the Florida Atlantic University dormitory, the $1.8 billion expansion of I-595, the $663 million Port of Miami tunnel and more recently, the Miami Beach Light Rail, to name a few. The use of P3s to fund transportation and social infrastructure projects in the Sunshine State cannot be gainsaid.

Conspicuously absent, however, from the list of readily recognized P3 projects in Florida is water and wastewater infrastructure. That omission should be remedied shortly though. Private investment in municipal water and wastewater infrastructure in the United States is poised for record growth and Florida is no exception to the projection. Continue Reading

Discretion in Procurement: The GAO Finds for the Government

The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) issued a decision that could be used by government agencies to support “all encompassing” RFPs, or RFPs that require one bidder to provide several products and services even if, in so doing, bidders that can provide one aspect of the RFP – but not all aspects of the RFP – are restricted from competing.

In Matter of Palantir USG, Inc., Palantir, a provider of sophisticated commercial technology, argued that an Army procurement “unduly restricted competition” when it only allowed bidders that met all requirements of an extremely specific and detailed RFP to compete. The RFP was for a new computer system specially equipped for the Army. Palantir partially met the RFP’s requirements, but argued that the Army should have used a phased approach for its procurement. The phased approach would first open competition for purchase of the software platform to commercial providers like Palantir, and then a separate procurement would open competition for the service component of the RFP. Without a phased approach like this, Palantir and other commercial technology distributors would not be qualified to compete. Continue Reading

Electric-Vehicle Infrastructure: Fertile Ground for P3’s

Electric-Car_shutterstock_183893855In 2006, the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” hit the theaters. Ten years later, there remains substantial disagreement on the answer to that question, but one truth has emerged: the electric car lives again. As Electric-Vehicles (EV) range steadily increases while both charging times and prices continue to fall, it appears inevitable that an EV will someday be in every driveway. Yet one critical obstacle to widespread EV adoption remains. All of those EVs will need to be charged–not only at home, but at work, and on the go. And that requires brand-new infrastructure on a massive scale.

Public-private partnerships are proven model for delivering new infrastructure in a reduced timeframe and, in many cases, at a reduced cost. Because the public sector will inevitably play a significant role in EV use and EV infrastructure, there are many opportunities–now and on the horizon–for P3s. State and local governments will no doubt be procuring fleets of EV vehicles in the near future, and concessions for rapid charging stations (along with restaurants and other services to keep drivers occupied while their vehicles charge) will be needed along highways throughout the country. Although governments are beginning to plan for these procurements and facilities, Florida’s P3 statute permits interested private-sector partners to jump start the process by submitting an unsolicited P3 proposal.  Continue Reading

GAO Bid Protest Reform

Debates in Washington over expenditures associated with military-related bid protests are fueling new legislation that could curtail protest efforts. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) handles bid protests filed by entities challenging Department of Defense contract awards. Any bid protest filed by a disgruntled proposer that did not win a military contract is filed at the GAO, and the GAO’s budget is regulated by Congress because it is a part of the Department of Defense. In an effort to conserve finances and to minimize frivolous protests, both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have begun inquiring into new legislation to curb expensive bid protests at the GAO.

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) intends to employ an independent body to review the GAO bid protest process and to survey the duration of bid protests, specifically with regards to protests filed by incumbent contractors. Why the focus on incumbent contractors? The GAO employs an “automatic stay” upon filing a bid protest. The automatic stay forecloses the agency from finalizing a contract with the winning bidder until after the protest concludes. Thus, the automatic stay forces an agency to enter into interim contracts with the incumbent entity while the protest is ongoing. Some ponder whether, because of the automatic stay’s power, incumbent entities file bid protests to preserve a few more months of revenue, regardless of the merits of the protest. Continue Reading

How South Florida Real Estate Developers Are Reducing Litigation Risk

high rise buildingsLeading up to the Great Recession of 2008, properties throughout South Florida were being bought only to be subsequently resold at a profit.  This “flipping” of properties culminated in an unsustainably-inflated real estate market that eventually collapsed. Flipping was facilitated, in part, by low deposit requirements. Buyers with little investment capital could buy expensive properties with only 3-5% of the total purchase price, and later resell them at a profit.

When the real estate bubble burst, developers found themselves with incomplete construction projects, and defending lawsuits against both purchasers demanding their properties and creditors demanding their payments.

Changes were needed and changes were made. Among these changes, South Florida developers altered their financing models and implemented contracting changes in order to reduce their litigation risk. Continue Reading

Bisnow Power Series: Women of Influence

BISNOW POWER SERIES: WOMEN OF INFLUENCEBilzin Sumberg Real Estate Practice Group Leader, Suzanne M. Amaducci-Adams, will act as moderator of Bisnow’s Power Series event, Women of Influence, where panelists will discuss what is driving South Florida’s top female executives.

According to Bisnow, the event “will be bringing together the top female executives from all walks of the real estate community in South Florida to discuss new trends, current projects, and learn what is takes to get to the top of a male dominated industry.” Attendees will “find out what makes these executives tick and how they are leaving their impact on the real estate industry in South Florida.”

Other speakers include Avra Jain, CEO, The Vagabond Group; John Elizabeth Alemán, Commissioner, Miami Beach; Lissette Calderon, President, The Related Group; Meg Daly, Founder & President, Friends of the Underline; Tere Blanca, CEO, Blanca Commercial Real Estate; Beth Butler, President, Compass Florida; Cristina Sullivan, COO, Gables Residential; and Rachel Cardello, Principal, Stantec.

The event will take place at the Miami Beach Woman’s Club on Thursday, July 28th, beginning with breakfast and networking at 7:30 a.m.

Click here to RSVP.

P3s and Political Risk: Why Miami-Dade’s P3s Can Weather Political Climates

MiamiIn an election year, investors pay careful attention to the political environments of jurisdictions that are seeking to develop public private partnerships (“P3” or “PPP”). Investment in pursuing a public infrastructure project could be affected by changing political preferences, thus adding extra risks. As such, investors are sure to invest in states and partner with governments that are ready and friendly to P3s. Readiness reflects an established procurement, regulatory, and policy framework that enables the government to procure P3 projects. Friendliness connotes willingness and drive to identify and successfully procure P3 projects. Continue Reading

Your Data Security Thoughts and Concerns: A Survey

TechnologyIn conjunction with our upcoming panel event on June 3rd, The Challenges of Data Security and Privacy: Minimizing Risk Exposure and Liability, Bilzin Sumberg and Kaufman Rossin are conducting a survey to learn more about Florida business leaders’ thoughts about data security, such as how data security is funded in their company, their business practices, and their most pressing areas of concern.

We want to know how your company handles data security and liability concerns. Your insights will help guide our panel discussion and will help to make our event custom-tailored to your needs.

Our survey is brief and anonymous, and upon completion of the survey you will be entered for a chance to win an iPad Mini.

Join Us for an Upcoming Data Security & Privacy Panel

datasecurityblogimageOn June 3, Bilzin Sumberg and Kaufman Rossin are teaming up to host the breakfast panel, “The Challenges of Data Security and Privacy: Minimizing Risk Exposure and Liability.” The event will feature a panel of experts who will discuss data security and privacy concerns in the private sector, as well as best practices for minimizing exposure and liability.

At the panel, we will also examine the preliminary findings of the Kaufman Rossin and Bilzin Sumberg Data Security Survey. We encourage in-house counsel, CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs to attend as we discuss how data security is funded and managed by private companies in Florida.

The Breakfast will take place on June 3 at Bilzin Sumberg’s office at 1450 Brickell Avenue, 23rd Floor, from 8:00am – 10:00am.

Please click here to RSVP. Continue Reading

Fintech and Striking a Balance Between Innovation and Consumer Protection

FintechA topic of discussion at eMerge this year was the disruptive effect that Fintech is having within the financial sector.

Fintech, which refers to the use of new technologies in the financial services industry to improve operational and customer engagement capabilities by leveraging analytics, data management and digital functions, is disrupting traditional financial services and creating opportunities to tackle problems such as financial inclusion, poverty and access to capital at an accelerated speed. Continue Reading

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