Third Annual P3 Hub South

The third annual P3 Hub South conference, hosted by the P3 Bulletin and in partnership with Bilzin Sumberg, is returning to Miami October 16th – 17th. This year’s conference hosts both local and national leaders in the public-private partnership (P3) industry who will participate in interviews, panels, and informal networking discussions. P3 projects related to transit, water, and social programs are among some of the topics that will be covered throughout the two-day event.

The conference begins on Monday, October 16, with a roundtable discussion, chaired by Bilzin Sumberg Land Development & Government Relations attorney Albert E. Dotson, Jr. The “speed-dating” format presents an opportunity for networking between delegates and public officials who will be matched to discuss P3 opportunities and developments in key markets within the region.

The day will end with a networking reception hosted by Bilzin Sumberg. The P3 team looks forward to introducing its newest member, Land Development & Government Relations attorney Andrej Micovic, who has substantial experience in the development, procurement, financing, construction, and purchase and sale of infrastructure and energy projects, in the United States and throughout Latin America. Continue Reading

Proposed Changes to Procurement Regulations May Facilitate P3s

Miami-Dade County, the largest jurisdiction in South Florida, is currently evaluating public-private partnerships (P3s) for several major infrastructure projects.  These include multi-billion-dollar upgrades to the County’s water and sewer infrastructure, new transportation infrastructure, and social infrastructure, including a new County courthouse.  As we have discussed in previous posts, the P3 model can be used to expedite delivery, reduce public costs, and transfer risks for major public projects of this type.  However, many P3s unfortunately do not make it out of the procurement phase, in part because existing procurement regulations were drafted decades ago, with traditional procurement, not P3s, in mind.

Fortunately, the County is currently considering two significant amendments to its procurement procedures, both of which may facilitate the utilization of the P3 model.   First, the Charter Review Task Force (which proposes changes to the County’s voter-adopted Charter, which in a sense serves as the County’s constitution) is considering a substantial restructuring of the procurement process. The proposed changes would, in effect, make the procurement process more administrative and less legislative, with more authority delegated to the County’s professional staff, as opposed to the elected officials.  Because P3s are generally more complex than traditional procurements, delegating more authority to professionals with appropriate expertise may help avoid pitfalls in the procurement process for P3s. Continue Reading

FDEP Issues Order to Restore Structural Damage Post Hurricane

Property Owners and Public and Private Entities:

On September 5, 2017, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“FDEP”) issued Emergency Final Order OGC. No. 17-0989 (the “Order”) in response to the anticipated widespread devastation across Florida caused by Hurricane Irma. In order to respond to the imminent or immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the State of Florida, FDEP provided an order to allow property owners and public and private entities to repair, replace, and restore structures, equipment, surface water management systems, works, and other systems damaged by the hurricane without obtaining prior permits, which would cause significant delays. The following regulated areas are impacted by the Order:

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P3s for Social Impact

Government agencies at all levels are increasingly turning to public-private partnerships (P3s) for the delivery of new public infrastructure.  However, the discussion often focuses exclusively on transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and mass transit.  This focus is understandable: throughout the country, government transportation agencies, such as the Florida Department of Transportation, have been on the cutting edge of P3s and have many successful projects to show for it.  In addition, our nation’s transportation infrastructure needs are severe and wide-ranging.  However, the focus on transportation infrastructure short-changes the flexibility and benefit of the P3 model, which can be used to develop and operate many types of infrastructure, including social infrastructure.

Florida’s authorizing statute for P3s is incredibly broad and authorizes P3 proposals for a wide variety of social infrastructure, including medical facilities, schools, and recreational facilities.  For example, Monroe County recently utilized the statute to develop and operate an animal-control shelter in Key West using the P3 model, and the City of St. Augustine recently received an unsolicited P3 proposal for the construction and operation of a community health clinic for local veterans. The sky is the limit. Continue Reading

Additional Opportunity to Extend Development Orders & Building Permits

Governor Scott recently expanded the previously declared State of Emergency issued for the Zika Virus, allowing holders of permits and development orders an even greater opportunity to toll the period remaining to exercise rights under the permit or order for more than 19 months. Section 252.363 of the Florida Statutes permits a tolling of development orders and permits upon the declaration of a state of emergency by the Florida Governor. The statute provides that the tolling lasts throughout the state of emergency, plus an additional six months.

On June 23, 2016, Governor Scott declared a State of Emergency in response to the Zika Virus. Because each declared state of emergency can last only for 60 days, the Governor has since extended the Zika Virus State of Emergency six times, with the most recent extension occurring on June 8, 2017. Thus, the total duration of the Zika Virus State of Emergency is now 410 days. Continue Reading

Mexico’s Presence in Miami Is Here to Stay

Bilzin Sumberg attorney Yosef Shwedel, the Consul General of Mexico in Miami, Horacio Saavedra, and Bilzin Sumberg attorney Jose Sariego at the Mexican Attorney Breakfast hosted by Bilzin Sumberg.

The image of Mexicans in Florida is usually framed around the immigration debate raging in our country currently. But the Mexican influence and presence in Florida goes far beyond migrant workers picking crops in Homestead and elsewhere in the state.

According to the Mexican Consulate in Miami, approximately 290,000 jobs in Florida are dependent on commerce with Mexico, including more than 5,000 jobs in the tourist sector directly dependent on Mexico tourism. More than 50 Florida based businesses have investments in Mexico, including Ryder Systems, World Fuel Services, Seaboard Marine and FTI Consulting. Mexicans invest $5 billion annually in Florida real estate, according to the National Association of Realtors.

These and other positive contributions by Mexicans in Florida were discussed by the new Mexican Consul in Miami, Horacio Saavedra, who arrived from Frankfort to take his post a scant three weeks ago. Consul Saavedra addressed a group of Mexican and other lawyers at a quarterly breakfast held at Bilzin Sumberg last Friday to discuss topics of interest to the Mexican business community. Continue Reading

You Are the Target: 75 Different Ways Your Company Can Be Hacked

Target - Blog 2Join us on Thursday, June 15th from 12:00PM to 1:00PM for an in-depth webinar as Philip R. Stein, a partner in Bilzin Sumberg’s Litigation Practice, and Ray Vasquez, a director in Enterprise Risk Management’s Cybersecurity and IT Risk Management practice, discuss primary cybersecurity risks and leading practices.

They will discuss the reasons why a business may be targeted by cybercriminals, steps that can be taken to better safeguard private data, and fiduciary or professional responsibility obligations associated with protecting confidential information. Learn about best practices following a data breach, including certain actions that should be part of a company’s response.

Click here to register for this CLE-accredited webinar.

The 2017 Fla. Legislature Returns To CondoLand

0531_CondolandSocialOnce again, after a one-year hiatus, the Florida Legislature has produced several condominium bills. Typically, the Legislature passes a single condominium bill into which other approved bills have been merged. This year, perhaps to make up for the failure to enact any condominium legislation, four bills were passed: CS/CS/CS/HB653 (HB653), CS/CS/HB1237 (HB1237), (CS/CS/CS SB398 (SB398), and CSSB1520 (SB1520) were passed by both houses of the Florida Legislature and are awaiting approval or disapproval by Governor Scott.

The HB653 and HB1237, as typical, run 69 and 51 pages respectively and deal with a potpourri of issues for Florida condominiums. SB398 deals only with estoppels and SB1520 deals only with condominium terminations which also appears verbatim in HB653. The principal changes are summarized below. HB653 and HB1237 share many of the same provisions and the references below to “both bills” are to these two bills. Continue Reading

Florida Sales Tax on Commercial Rents Reduced

0531_InterestRates_SocialThe State of Florida has imposed a sales tax on commercial rents since 1969.  Currently, the tax is imposed at the rate of 6 percent in every county except Miami-Dade which fixes the rate at 7 percent by reason of an add-on at the county option.  Florida is the only state in the United States to impose a sales tax on rents.  There has been a movement to repeal this tax for several years, but it should be noted that Florida’s general revenue stream is very heavily reliant on sales tax in general.  For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the sales tax accounted for 78.5 percent of all such revenue.

Perhaps with this reliance in mind, the Florida  Legislature has been reluctant to eliminate this tax on commercial rents.  In prior years, efforts to phase out the tax have stalled.  This year, however, the Legislature in HB-7109, took a baby step forward by reducing the rate from 6 percent to 5.8 percent or a 3 1/3 percent reduction.  In Miami-Dade County, the rate will fall from 7 percent to 6.8 percent. Continue Reading

Best Practices for Hedge Fund Due Diligence

0524_HedgeFundSocialJoin us Wednesday, June 7th, for an in-depth panel discussion for family offices and other investors about the process of conducting due diligence on potential hedge fund investments and the best practices by which to do so.

Corporate Partner Josh Stone joins Glide Capital Managing Partner Mark Fitzpatrick and Kaufman Rossin Principal Robert A. Kaufman to discuss hedge fund investments from a business, accounting, and legal perspective. Panelists will also provide valuable insights to hedge fund professionals who are involved in the due diligence processes of prospective investors. Global Director of Trident Fund Services Thalius Hecksher will moderate the discussion.

Josh, a Partner in Bilzin Sumberg’s Corporate group, has spent nearly a decade of his career focusing on private investment funds and investment advisor regulation. He has particular experience evaluating and pursuing investments in emerging and frontier markets. Continue Reading

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