Header graphic for print

New Miami Blog

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

Miami’s Entrepreneurial Landscape Evolves

Guest blog post written by Seth Werner, Chairman/CEO Harbour Real Estate Corporation.

In 2013, Miami raked in about $300 million in venture capital, a staggering jump from previous years. While Miami has always had its fair share of entrepreneurial activity, historically it has had issues with keeping many startups. That’s quickly changing.

Contributing to the uptick in venture capital investment are the efforts of several different organizations to attract tech startups. These efforts include Manny Medina’s “eMerge Americas Techweek Conference” and the Knight Foundation’s “Start-Up City: Miami.” Considering the number of attendants and the buzz throughout the community, I think it’s fair to say this is only the beginning of exponential growth in the Magic City.

Continue Reading

Miami Developers Utilizing Non Traditional Sources of Venture Capital

With all the current and planned building projects taking place in South Florida, it seems the recent real estate crash has largely been forgotten. However, the collapse still haunts traditional lending institutions, many of whom are unwilling or unable to finance Miami’s present building boom. Further, as Jeff Bartel, chairman of Benworth Capital Partners LLC points out, “Regulatory constraints remain an impediment for accessing debt financing that borrowers require to acquire or develop property under the traditional levered model.”

This doesn’t mean that banks aren’t lending at all; they are just more selective in the projects they fund. Eleazar David Melendez of the Daily Business Review writes, “Banks have generally been loathe to lend to any but the lowest-risk projects: those being built by experienced developers in prime locations.” CBRE vice chairman Charles Foschini adds, banks are generally staying away from the “high-dollar commitments needed for many of the mixed-use, luxury megaprojects currently on the drawing boards.” Examples of some of Miami’s current bank-funded projects are Miami Beach’s Loews hotel, landing a $175 million loan by the U.S. arm of Germany’s Deutsche Bank; the Downtown Doral project, at $65 million; the condo building at 5252 Paseo, $40.3 million; and an up-coming 80,000-square-foot retail building, $25 million, all funded by Wells Fargo.

Continue Reading

Foreign Investors Still Stimulating Miami’s Real Estate Boom

Miami, once the poster child for the recent housing bubble and subsequent crash, now has the strongest housing market in the U.S. and is one of the exclusive high-end real estate “export” economies in the world. This remarkable transformation is due largely to the huge influx of foreign cash, according to a recent Miami Downtown Development Authority study conducted by Integra Realty Resources.

A real estate export economy basically refers to one in which foreign investors purchase real estate, not in which to reside, but as an investment. In Miami’s case 90% of all the new downtown construction is due to demand from foreign investors. Less than 11% of these are being used as primary residences. Further, most of these foreign buyers are interested in “high-end” real estate and are paying cash, as evidenced by Miami’s current luxury property building frenzy. These luxury properties are buyer financed, requiring hefty, pre-construction deposits.

Continue Reading

The Port of Miami Tunnel is Open!

The Port of Miami Tunnel’s opening on Sunday, August 3, 2014 marked a rousing day for Miami. Not just because police cruiser sirens, motorcyclists and tractor trailers inaugurated new, underwater lanes for thousands of vehicles to soon follow, but because it signaled a great accomplishment in the world of public-private partnerships that will benefit Miami for decades to come.

Though the opening was delayed by a few proverbial speed bumps, the completion of the task and this highly complex project, is what is newsworthy.

Continue Reading

Use of Phased Permits on the Rise

As cranes tower over Miami in the post-recession development upswing, developers are once again using phased permits to expedite construction while awaiting approval for building permits. Section 105.13 of the Florida Building Code authorizes the issuance and use of phased permits throughout the state at the discretion of building officials. Developers in Miami and Miami Beach are actively using this option. In the cities of Miami and Miami Beach, approval from the Department of Environmental Resources Management as well as an agreement/verification from Water and Sewer is now needed to receive a phased permit. This is a new element that was not originally required. Applicants should be prepared to provide this documentation as part of their phased permit application.

Continue Reading

Why Miami?

Guest blog post written by Will Corbin of The Beacon Council.

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.*

Continue Reading

Don’t Expect a Drop-Off in Patent Litigation

Patent Pilot Program Terminated in the Southern District of Florida

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.

Continue Reading

Positive Report for South Florida Commercial Real Estate

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.

Continue Reading

Miami Courts Drive Florida Business Law

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.

Continue Reading

Retail and Tech in Miami Continue to Expand

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.

Continue Reading