From left to right: Al Dotson Jr., Brian Peters, Jim Ziglar, Jr., Kim Briesemeister, Javier Rodriguez, Josh Gelfman

This past week, Bilzin Sumberg hosted its inaugural New Miami Breakfast Series discussion, with a focus on Public-Private Partnerships.  With the benefit of a diverse, expert panel and an engaged (and engaging) audience of business and community leaders we had a productive discussion on the benefits of P3s and their future in our community.  The panel discussion was led by Bilzin partner Al Dotson, Jr.  The panelists’ presentations are available for viewing here, and a brief summary is as follows:

Methods of Public-Private Partnership financing

Our first speaker, Jim Ziglar, Jr., is a P3 financing expert at Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC and gave a thorough explanation of the many methods of P3 financing and the current state of P3s in the United States, which are continuously becoming more sophisticated and wide-ranging, with great prospects on the horizon.

High-Profile Highway P3’s

Next, Brian Peters, Assistant Secretary of Finance and Administration at the Florida Department of Transportation, explained FDOT’s experiences and approaches in regards to very high-profile P3 projects for FDOT, including the Port of Miami tunnel project and the I-595 project.  In regards to the I-4 P3 project planned to commence shortly, Mr. Peters shared a powerful anecdote about a significant advantage of P3s: speed of delivery.  FDOT estimated that, using traditional procurement and financing approaches, the I-4 project would take 26 years to complete.  However, using the P3 approach, the entire project will be completed in only 5-6 years.

Public-Private Partnerships in South Florida

Kim Briesemeister, Principal at Redevelopment Management Associates, described the flurry of recent and planned PPPs in West Palm Beach, including the massive City Place P3 retail development.  Kim’s presentation focused in part on the variety of public financing mechanisms available, including tax-increment financing.

Javier Rodriquez, Executive Director of Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX), also provided a local perspective on the recent proliferation of public-private partnerships.  Since 2006, it has been the written policy of MDX to, where possible, provide for transportation facilities through the P3 framework.  Examples include the coming expansion of the Dolphin Expressway to increase capacity to and from the rapidly growing Doral area, and advantages include the ability to expand the expressway system to meet the changing needs of South Florida residents and visitors in less time and at a lower cost.

Public-Private Partnerships in New York

Finally, Josh Gelfman, Senior Vice President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, discussed some of the exciting P3 developments taking place in New York City, providing a window into some of the future possibilities for our community.  These include a new Applied Sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and a large-scale development at the Staten Island Ferry port, including a massive Ferris wheel, to draw tourists to Staten Island and create a connection between the waterfront and interior attractions at Staten Island.

The Future of Public-Private Partnerships

Through the presentations and engaging, audience-led discussions, two themes emerged.  First, we are likely to see a continued increase in what might be viewed as “traditional” P3s, which focus on the procurement of public infrastructure and monetization of existing assets with tried-and-true P3 financing approaches such as tolling.  Examples include the new tollways.  Second, at the same time, we are developing the next generation of P3s, which focus on the creation of a wide array of new assets and novel approaches to financing.  Examples include the Miami Beach Convention Center project and the planned redevelopment of the Port of Miami.  In light of the abundance of under-utilized government-controlled property in the area, as well as the current focus on inventive design and financing solutions, the many innovative P3 projects currently taking place in New York City provide only a glimpse into the P3 developments that can be achieved in the Miami area in the coming years.