On October 5th, Bilzin Sumberg hosted its first-ever South Florida Redevelopment Conference. The conference kicked off with “Cafecito with the Mayors,” where Bilzin Sumberg’s Managing Partner-Elect and leader of the Firm’s P3 Practice, Albert E. Dotson, Jr., spoke with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez about development insights and issues in South Florida. The Mayors discussed South Florida’s resiliency initiatives, attraction and retention of talent, and exciting opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s). Both Mayor Gimenez and Mayor Suarez enthusiastically invited the major development players in the audience to bring ideas for P3s and touted the benefits of South Florida as a prime area for business development and growth.
Building off both Mayors’ enthusiasm for P3s, the next panel focused specifically on P3 approaches to the development of public land. Bilzin Sumberg P3 attorney Eric Singer moderated the discussion, and panelists included experts from both the public and private sectors: Michael C. Brown of Skanska, the company behind Laguardia’s Terminal B project, the largest P3 in the country; Alan J. Cohen of Broward County; Robert Presnell of the City of Detroit, and formerly of the team that managed the Detroit bankruptcy; Jose Galan of Miami-Dade County; and Albert E. Dotson, Jr.
The panel discussed how governments look to P3s to leverage both their extensive real estate holdings and the expertise and resources of the private sector. Mr. Presnell explained how the City of Detroit recovered from bankruptcy by effectively monetizing its assets using a P3 model. Mr. Cohen and Mr. Galan explained to the attendees that both Miami-Dade County and Broward County are open for business when it comes to P3s, and encouraged private developers to open communication and approach government with innovative and community-minded ideas. Mr. Brown and Mr. Dotson explained how those concepts can work in practice, providing examples of the Laguardia P3 and Driver’s Club Miami, a local public/private project involving the development of 160 acres of land and substantial community benefits.
The conference highlighted South Florida’s wealth of public assets that are ripe for P3s. Of equal importance, South Florida’s elected officials are actively seeking state-of-the-art ideas for social infrastructure, transit, and other development projects to support South Florida’s growing population.