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New Miami Blog

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

Port Miami and Port Canaveral Undergoing Major Expansions

Port Miami and Port Canaveral, two of the busiest ports in Florida, are preparing to get busier as both equip to undergo major expansion projects.  The current endeavor that plans to widen and deepen the Panama Canal is slated to be completed at the end of 2015. The Port of Miami is making changes so that it can accommodate the bigger ships that will then be able to pass through the canal.

In addition to the soon-to-be-completed Port Tunnel, other undertakings include a deep dredge project to deepen the Port’s current channel, restoring rail service between the Port and the Hialeah Rail Yard, increasing the number of its larger-capacity Super Post-Panamax cranes (which will allow the Port to service larger ships with increased speed and efficiency) and an operation to strengthen, improve, and deepen many of its wharfs.  All together, Port Miami’s improvements to both its cargo and cruise business exceed $2 billion.

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Miami Proactively Seeking Medical Tourism

Though the multi-billion dollar medical tourism industry is dominated by Asia, it is on the rise in the United States, with many wealthy international patients eyeing the U.S.’s innovative treatments in areas such as orthopedic and cosmetic surgery and cancer treatments. American hospitals are increasingly recognizing that, in addition to prestige, this niche industry can increase their bottom lines, particularly those negatively impacted by recent healthcare reforms.

Tricia Johnson of Rush University, speaking at an annual meeting of the Center for Medical Tourism Research, addresses the fact that while international patients are a small portion of a hospital’s volume, they generate substantial revenue for them -  more revenue per stay than American patients.

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Miami Light Rail System May Become a Signature P3

Plans of New Passenger Rail Link from Miami-to-Miami Beach

On several occasions we have written about transportation public-private partnerships in the Miami area. These have included posts on red-light cameras, passenger rail, UniversityCity at FIU, and other related topics.

Several months ago, we discussed the possibility of new public private partnerships for public transportation systems, which have in recent years been funded primarily by the FTA.  As we discussed, because federal funds are more constrained than ever, P3s will likely be needed to fill the funding gaps.  Indeed, the federal government has since emphasized the importance of P3s so that its funding dollars can go further than with traditional financing approaches.

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ICCA 2014 Miami Conference Coverage

Bilzin Sumberg attorneys Joseph Mamounas and Rafael Ribeiro participated in a blogging event from the ICCA Conference this week for the Kluwer Arbitration Blog.

The Kluwer Arbitration Blog (KAB) is a publication that provides information and news on international arbitration.  They gather leading experts from law firms, arbitration institutions, and academia to report on the latest developments in the industry.

Rafael Ribeiro published an article on Kluwer’s blog entitled “Document Production and Interim Measures — Much Yet to Be Accomplished to Maintain Viability and Efficacy of International Arbitration.”

Joseph Mamounas also published articles on Kluwer’s blog entitled “Does “Male, Pale, and Stale” Threaten the Legitimacy of International Arbitration? Perhaps, but There’s No Clear Path to Change” and  ”ICCA 2014. Gap Filling in International Arbitration:  An Unsettled Territory.”

ICCA is the foremost international arbitration organization and its biennial Congress continues to be the highlight of the international arbitration calendar. The 2014 Congress was held April 6-9 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami and presented a variety of topics, centered around the theme “Legitimacy: Myths, Realities, Challenges.”


ICCA Congress Cements Miami as Arbitration Hub

Every two years the top international arbitration professionals and legal scholars from around the globe gather at the International Council for Commercial Arbitration’s Congress, or “ICCA Congress,” as it is commonly known, to discuss the latest topics and trends in the field. For the first time since the 1980s, the ICCA Congress returned to the United States. The event took place in Downtown Miami from April 6 through April 9 at the InterContinental hotel. More than 1,000 people attended this year’s event.  In fact, this was the largest Congress in its history.  Miami being chosen as the city to host the event is recognition of Miami’s rise as an important international arbitration venue, joining the ranks of cities like New York, Paris and Hong Kong.

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200 New Condo Towers Planned in South Florida since May 2011

An exciting announcement was recently made in South Florida - between May 2011 and today more than 200 new condo towers east of I-95 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have been scheduled to be built.  Yes, this is no April Fool’s joke, you read that correctly.  New condo buildings are being planned all across the tri-county area. A stabilizing and strengthening condo real estate market is creating a stir in the community with the hopes that South Florida is poised for a boom – but what do the statistics show us?

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Miami-Dade County Road Impact Fees Increasing by 23% on April 22, 2014

On April 22, 2014, the roadway impact fee will increase by 23%. Developers should be aware of these increases in impact fees, as substantial cost savings can be achieved by paying the applicable impact fees and pulling building permits on or before April 21, 2014, which is the last day to pay fees at current rates.

If plans have been filed but the building permit is not yet ready for issuance, it would be worthwhile to attempt to pay the impact fee at the current rate prior to April 22. In addition, some exemptions or credits against road impact fees may be available for certain projects and locations, particularly for many uses proposed in the downtown Miami or Brickell area.

This increased amount is only for road impact fees; other applicable impact fees will also be due.

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Enterprise Florida Opens Business Development Offices in China

Enterprise Florida recently opened business development offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.  Enterprise Florida is a partnership between Florida’s businesses and government leaders that strives to increase job growth for Florida businesses and improve international trade.  The Hong Kong and Shanghai offices will focus on attracting foreign direct investment to Florida, strengthening trade relations and increasing Florida seaport activity.

In recent years, a growing number of Chinese companies have sought inroads into Florida as a gateway to Latin America. Currently, China is Florida’s no. 1 largest import market and Florida’s no. 3 largest merchandise trading partner.  Not surprisingly, China is also PortMiami’s no. 1 customer in overall tonnage. Continue Reading

Canadian Investment Firm Building Upscale Mobile Home Parks in Florida

As ties between Canada and Florida continue to strengthen, Canadian investment in the region continues to increase. Tricon Capital Group, the Canadian company whose profit rose five-fold last year after betting on U.S. housing in the depths of the slump, now plans to expand into upscale mobile home parks in Florida.

Tricon has announced that it is interested in purchasing commodities of manufactured homes in the “sun belt,” which it identified as Arizona, Florida and California. Selling prices in these areas average about $60,800, the cheapest of any U.S. region. The Toronto-based company aims to make its first investment this year, purchasing assets that amount to roughly $750 million.

“If you look at the U.S. population, it’s definitely growing, it’s definitely getting older and it’s probably getting poorer,” said Gary Berman, the COO of Tricon yesterday at the Bloomberg office in Toronto. “What single-family rental and manufactured housing do is they provide very affordable housing for people.”

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Miami Now Go-to Destination for International Arbitration: Part 2 of 2

Recently we reported on the creation of an international arbitration court in Miami, and the myriad benefits that it will bring to the local judicial system as well as the many corporations that conduct business in Miami. In this post, we will discuss what kinds of disputes are eligible to be heard by the International Arbitration Court (IAC), and what types of relief can be sought.

What Disputes Are Eligible for the IAC?

Two types of arbitration-related matters may be heard by Miami’s IAC: (1) those falling within the Florida International Commercial Arbitration Act (Chapter 684, Florida Statutes) — which mirrors the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration enacted in seven U.S. states and more than 50 countries, or (2) those falling within the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.SC. § 1).

To qualify under FICAA, a matter must meet either of two conditions:

First, the parties’ “places of business” must have been “in different countries” at the time they reached their arbitration agreement.  Alternatively, the agreed-upon arbitration situs, or the place where a “substantial part of the obligations of the commercial relationship are to be performed or the place with which the subject matter of the dispute is most closely connected” must be “outside the country in which the parties have their places of business.”

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