What to Expect When Buying a Home in Miami

0120 Incentive-Driven Workforce Housing Ordinance FacebookGuest blog post written by Erin Holdgate of Zillow.

While sellers enjoyed favorable conditions for years, Miami buyers finally have a reason to celebrate. In fact, a recent report placed Miami as the second-best real estate market for buyers.

If you’ve been waiting to buy property in Miami, 2017 might be your year.

Market Conditions and Home Values

Miami is now officially a buyers’ market, with supply outpacing demand. Listings are subject to more price cuts and spend a longer time on the market, so buyers retain the negotiating power and are more likely to pay below the initial asking price.

Miami home values rose 4.5 percent in the last year, but are predicted to fall back 1 percent over the next 12 months.

Miami is an incredibly diverse city, and while some of the most exclusive Miami-Dade County communities fall outside the city limits, buyers can expect to find plenty of luxury in these popular neighborhoods. Continue Reading

New P3 Opportunities for Government Technology

De Yurre Technology Blog ImageAlthough public-private partnerships (P3s) are frequently associated with physical infrastructure, P3s are inherently flexible and can be utilized for the time and cost-effective delivery of virtually any public good or service, including software and other information technology.  The private sector is constantly expanding and improving upon its government technology offerings (examples include recent advances in smart parking and real-time coordination technology for mass transit), and the public sector is beginning to see the benefit of procuring and maintaining these advanced systems through the P3 model. 

This legislative term, the Florida House and Senate are considering a bill (SB 332 / HB 607) that would expand the application of Florida’s P3 statute to information technology.  The bill broadly defines information technology to include software, hardware, networks, and numerous other forms of IT.    If adopted, the bill will become effective July 1, 2017, and will permit public agencies in Florida to utilize the flexible statutory framework to procure new technology through P3s.  The bill would also permit providers of government technology to develop their own creative solutions to governments’ technology needs and submit unsolicited proposals in order to jump-start the procurement process.  Continue Reading

Additional Opportunity for Increased Extension of Building Permits and Development Orders

ZikaBlogPostImageInterested parties must notify issuing governmental agency by September 7th to receive a new extension.

Due to Governor Scott’s recent expansion of the State of Emergency issued for the Zika Virus, holders of permits and development orders have another opportunity to toll the period remaining to exercise rights under the permit or order for nearly 18 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 for only 60 days, the Governor has since extended the Zika Virus State of Emergency now five times, with the most recent extension occurring on April 10, 2017. Thus, the total duration of the Zika Virus State of Emergency is 351 days. Continue Reading

Secretary Ben Carson Kicks Off Public Housing P3

BenCarsonYesterday, Miami-Dade County hosted Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, at the Liberty Square public-housing development, one of the oldest in the nation.  The meeting formally commenced an exciting public-private partnership for the complete redevelopment of Liberty Square.  The project will be transformative for the community and a model for new public-housing projects throughout the country, and we have been fortunate to have been a part of the project as counsel for the County’s private partner, Related Urban Development Group.

The unique public-private framework leverages limited public funds with private investment (at approximately a 5:1 ratio of private to public dollars), combines public housing with mixed-income and market-rate housing, and incorporates numerous community benefits into the development, including healthcare facilities, commercial and retail businesses, a national grocer, internet access, and educational and recreational facilities for all residents.   The private partner has also developed a phasing plan that ensures that no existing resident of Liberty Square will have to be displaced during construction. The private partner has committed to innovative ways of supporting increased employment opportunities for the residents and contracting opportunities for small and minority companies as a part of the construction and ongoing management of the new development. Continue Reading

Major P3 Real Estate Development Opportunities in Downtown Miami

construction conceptOn March 7, the Miami-Dade County Mayor will be presenting a report to the Board of County Commissioners on County-owned properties in downtown Miami that are ripe for joint development with the private sector. The upshot: the County has at least nine properties, totaling 22.7 acres of land, that can support over 20 million square feet of new development.  Through public-private partnerships (P3s) with developers, the County could leverage these properties to acquire new public facilities and generate new revenues.

Due to the massive development potential of these properties, and the flexibility of the P3 model, the County can have its cake and eat it too. The County could, for example, enter into an agreement with a private developer to design, construct, and operate a new public facility on one of these properties–at no cost to the County–and pay the developer with the remaining development rights (for example, a private office tower built on top of a new public building).  Under the right circumstances, the County could also receive rent payments, either fixed or a share of revenues, for the private development. Continue Reading

Opportunity to Extend Development Orders and Permits for Almost 16 Months

Developers must notify issuing governmental agency by July 10th to receive a new extension

f53a99d0-21f3-453c-a62b-ec7eaca19938Miami Sklyine 1Holders of permits and development orders have the opportunity to toll the period remaining to exercise rights under the permit or order for nearly 16 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 6 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 for only 60 days, the Governor has since extended the Zika Virus State of Emergency four times, with the most recent extension occurring on February 10, 2017. Thus, the total duration of the Zika Virus State of Emergency is 292 days. Continue Reading

Miami-Dade County Commission Approves Incentive-Driven Workforce Housing Ordinance

0120 Incentive-Driven Workforce Housing Ordinance FacebookOn December 20, 2016, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners approved an Ordinance proposed by Commissioner Barbara Jordan that provides incentives for builders to offer workforce housing units in new developments within the County. The Ordinance addresses the oft-discussed countywide housing affordability crisis by motivating developers to set aside units for families earning 60 percent to 140 percent of the County’s $48,100 median income.

Commissioner Jordan explained that the purpose of the Ordinance is to provide housing units to police officers, teachers, millennials entering the workforce, and other individuals with similar incomes so that they can live closer to the workplace.  Consequently, shorter driving commutes for individuals living closer to their jobs benefit the County as a whole. Shorter commutes translate into decreased traffic congestion, promote neighborhood diversity, and help local employers attract and retain good employees. Continue Reading

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

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