Government Contracts Increasingly Further Labor-Policy Goals

0110 Government Contracts Labor PolicyThis past year, the federal government implemented a variety of rules requiring that its contractors meet certain fair-labor requirements.  For example, a federal rule finalized in September requires federal contractors to provide their employees with up to 56 hours of paid sick leave, and another new rule, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule, permits the government to withhold contracts from firms that have violated labor laws.

Similarly, at the local level, new regulations impose greater labor obligations on government contractors than ever before.  For example, in June of this past year, Miami-Dade County adopted the “Employ Miami-Dade Program,” which requires that County construction contractors provide construction-labor employment and training opportunities to Miami-Dade residents.  This new program supplements several existing County fair-labor programs, including those that require its contractors to pay their workers a living wage and provide opportunities to local small businesses. Continue Reading

New Year’s Resolution: Miami Beach Transit

0109 Baylink Blog Social MediaAfter expediting the solicitation process for the Miami Beach light rail/modern streetcar project, the Miami Beach City Commission hit the brakes last month.  In response to concerns voiced by City residents, the Commission adopted a resolution requiring tangible commitments from Miami-Dade County for the downtown-beach transit connection before any public-private partnership (“P3”) for the Miami Beach transit project is finalized.

The City of Miami Beach selected the top-ranked proposer for the light rail P3, Greater Miami Tramlink Partners, in July of last year and has drafted an interim agreement awaiting final approval by the Mayor and Commission.  As proposed, the modern streetcars will run in a loop along Alton Road, 17th Street, Washington Avenue, and 5th Street, ultimately connecting to a County-controlled transit link to the mainland.   Continue Reading

Funding Mass Transit with Transit-Oriented Development

Since the earliest mass-transit systems, it has been understood that the property adjacent to train stations is particularly well-suited for dense mixed-use dMetromover speedevelopment.  People are willing to pay a premium for the convenience of living near public transportation, and since the goal of mass transit is to efficiently move people from where they live to where they work and back, it makes sense to build both housing and office developments adjacent to stations.  The contemporary term for this type of development is transit-oriented development, or TOD.

During the 1970s and 1980s, when the federal government funded new mass transit systems throughout the country (including here in Miami), there was an expectation that the cost of operating and maintaining the systems would be eventually covered by TOD and “value capture.”  In essence, the TOD would be added to the tax rolls, and the additional real estate taxes collected by local governments would cover the cost of running the trains.  In addition, the TOD would increase ridership (if more people live next to the station, more people will ride the train), and therefore increase revenues from passenger fares.  In fact, when Miami’s Metrorail system was designed in the late 1970s, Miami-Dade County adopted a new zoning ordinance for the property adjacent to the entire system specifically to facilitate new TOD in order to help fund the system.  Unfortunately, in both Miami and elsewhere throughout the country, many planned TODs were never built, and the transit systems have therefore been underutilized and underfunded.  Continue Reading

Amaducci-Adams Talks About Miami Market, Gender Equality in Miami Herald’s ‘Business Monday’ Section

Miami-shutterstock_67684273Suzanne Amaducci-Adams, leader of the Real Estate Practice Group at Bilzin Sumberg, frequently catches people by surprise when they hear that her group has closed on more than $2 billion in commercial real estate loans so far in 2016 despite what many describe as a Miami market that’s cooling down.

“When are people going to realize that Miami’s real estate market is much more diverse than condos?” Suzanne asked in The Miami Herald in its December 5 Business Monday section. “Arguably no other city in the country can boast as many high-profile, game-changing developments as Miami right now.”

Among other topics Suzanne touched on are what it is like to be a trailblazer for women in commercial real estate. She relayed a story to the Herald about her first closing 20 years ago. Continue Reading

Bilzin Sumberg Partner Calms Fears of Trump Hurting Miami Real Estate Market

SkyscrapersAttorney James W. Shindell, Real Estate chair at Bilzin Sumberg, has a message for those who believe Donald Trump’s presidential election will hurt Miami’s real estate market: The sky is not falling.

Shindell addressed concerns of a Trump presidency impacting the South Florida market in a recent Q&A interview published on GlobeSt.com. Shindell said he doesn’t expect any long-term significant impact on Miami real estate.

“The real estate market is more susceptible to economic matters rather than political ones,” Shindell said.

I believe Miami will remain a destination market for Latin America. Miami is a gateway market on a clear upward trajectory.”

Furthermore, Shindell added that Trump could have a positive effect on the Miami market depending on his tax policies.

“Real estate would benefit from the proposed lower capital gains rates,” Shindell told GlobeSt. “If funds actually are put to improving infrastructure, it could provide opportunities for public-private partnership development.”

Bilzin Sumberg’s public-private partnership team has been the key legal representation on various multibillion-dollar P3s throughout Florida. In addition to Real Estate, Bilzin Sumberg’s core practices include Business Finance & Restructuring, Corporate, Environmental, International, Land Development & Government Relations, Litigation, and Tax.

Click here for the complete GlobeSt.com story.

Discover What’s Ahead for Miami’s Condo Market

Miami Condos 1Significant issues facing the residential real estate industry in the coming year will be the topic of discussion on Wednesday, November 30 at the Urban Land Institute Southeast Florida & Caribbean’s annual Miami Condo & Community Development Symposium.

Real Estate developers and investors from across the U.S. and Florida will be on hand to network, share best practices, discuss innovative ways of advancing the industry and discover how global influencers and local trailblazers are shaping our communities.

Continue Reading

Changes to Public Records Act Reshape Duties of Government Contractors

Public RecordsRecent amendments to Florida’s Public Records Act change a government contractor’s responsibilities under the Act in four ways:

(1) Public records requests must be made directly to the public agency and not the contractor.

(2) After a contract ends, contractors may either transfer all records to the public agency or keep and maintain the public records themselves.

(3) “Financial information” may, in certain cases, be exempt from disclosure under the Act.

(4) The statute clarifies when non-compliant contractors are responsible for attorney’s fees.

To learn more about the recent changes, please click here.

Extend Development Orders and Building Permits for Almost One Year Due to Extension of Zika State of Emergency

Zika MosquitoGovernor Scott, for the second time, has extended the State of Emergency issued for the Zika Virus. As a result, holders of development orders and building permits have another opportunity to claim a longer extension. The Governor also declared a State of Emergency in advance of Hurricane Matthew. Under Florida Law, that State of Emergency affords holders of development orders and building permits an extension for the duration of the emergency plus six months. The Zika Virus State of Emergency affects 23 Florida counties and allows a total extension of 359 days.

Interested parties must notify the issuing governmental agency by March 17, 2017, to receive a new extension.

To learn more about the extension, please click here.

Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) Continue to Gain Momentum

P3 PhotoAlthough the public-private partnership (P3) model was used to provide most public infrastructure and services until the early 20th Century, for the past several decades, P3s were few and far between in this country. Recently, three factors have contributed to a renewed interest in the public-private model: (1) aging infrastructure that needs to be replaced; (2) diminished public funds that cannot alone finance the needed improvements; and (3) growing P3 success stories throughout the world, particularly in Canada and Europe. However, in part due to the dearth of recent, local P3 experience, government agencies in the U.S. have opted for a toe-in-the-water approach to P3s.

Yet, more and more agencies are proving that the waters are fine, and with each successful P3, willingness to employ the model continues to grow. Significantly, we are now at the point where some of the early “new” P3s have already been substantially completed, and the results are impressive. Twenty years ago, the Department of Defense initiated the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, which utilized a P3 approach to build, operate, and maintain military housing, and that program is now widely accepted as a major success, with hundreds of thousands of high-quality units having been delivered at a lower cost and in less time than under the traditional model. Based on that success, DOD is now considering more P3s to provide a wider variety of facilities and services. Continue Reading

Controversial New Fund May Further Normalization Efforts with Cuba

Havana, Cuba - December 22, 2015: A Cuban flag with holes waves over a street in Central Havana.

Private judgments worth millions of dollars against the Cuban government have been a hindrance to normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations. Meanwhile, many of the victims who won those judgments have long given up on ever recovering a dime.

But there is new hope for those victims of state-sponsored terrorism, according to Bilzin Sumberg attorneys José M. Ferrer and Yasmin Fernandez-Acuña. The two members of Bilzin Sumberg’s Litigation Group co-wrote a piece in the Fall 2016 edition of the International Law Quarterly detailing how these victims may yet see compensation.

Until recently, the only hope of satisfying any of these private judgments was for the U.S. to seize Cuban assets that touched U.S. soil. One such example was the confiscation of a Cuban airplane that was hijacked and flown to Key West in 2003. Despite Cuba’s protestations, the plane was sold at auction to satisfy a private litigant’s claims. So as long as private judgments went unpaid, no Cuban boats could dock in the U.S. and no Cuban goods could enter the U.S. without the fear of being seized. Continue Reading

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