Miami is on the rise- again. A city well-known for its resiliency, Miami has been bouncing back from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic with a vigor that is the envy of other major American metropolitan areas. One of the main factors driving this growth is the relocation of companies and C-Suite executives from other parts of the country looking to capitalize on Miami’s advantages.
In a way, COVID-19 has accelerated a process that was already underway, as businesses from across the corporate spectrum began to recognize that the metro Miami area had developed the right mix of entrepreneurship, innovation, talent and quality of life and cost advantages that warranted serious consideration of a relocation or expansion. Florida’s absence of individual income and capital gains taxes was already fueling wealth migration from other parts of the country, particularly after the Trump Administration’s roll back of state and local tax deductions. Then with the onset of COVID-19, the floodgates opened as much of the business world migrated to remote work.
“When folks in other parts of the country, particularly the business community in the Northeast, realized that the pandemic wasn’t going to go away after a few months, it fueled an avalanche of demand for a year-round outdoor environment where lockdowns and quarantines didn’t mean sitting inside for months on end. Miami was the perfect target,” says Anthony De Yurre, Partner in Bilzin Sumberg’s Government Relations and Land Development Group, whose practice saw an uptick in land use and zoning work pushed by this phenomenon.
Our message is simple: we’ve always had great weather, we’ve always had great taxes, but now we have an incredible lifestyle to offer, and technology makes all that much easier.” – Nitin Motwani, Managing Director of Miami World Center Group
With an international airport connecting it to the rest of the country and the world, the infrastructure and amenities of a major American metropolitan area, and an increasingly competitive and synergistic business environment, Miami absorbed the influx handily. Where developers first feared that the pandemic could be a death knell for the local real estate market, they are now optimistic bordering on bullish.
According to developer Ugo Colombo, Brickell Flatiron- a condominium completed last year- is seeing a surge in interest for its remaining properties among domestic buyers. After a dramatic slow-down in activity from April to September, inquiries started cranking up again. As prices on high-end single family homes in the area soared, consumers have turned to turn-key condos.
On the corporate side, recent high profile migrations have included Starwood Capital Group, Icahn Enterprises, Blackstone’s technology office, Boston’s Nucleus Research and Universa Investments from Los Angeles. Goldman Sachs is also rumored to be opening an asset management office in South Florida.
Nitin Motwani, Managing Director of Miami Worldcenter Group and co-chair of the Miami Downtown Development Authority’s Enterprise Committee, signaled Blackstone’s move as one of the more important developments demonstrating Miami’s attractiveness in a recent interview with CNBC.
“We’ve been educating the financial community on everything that’s been happening in Miami,” he said. “So when Blackstone started researching where to set up an outpost, all the groundwork came to fruition.”
Local organizations like the Miami Downtown Development Authority, the Beacon Council, and Enterprise Florida have worked hard to facilitate the moves through financial incentives and advocacy efforts, making it clear that Miami is open for business.
“This isn’t going to end anytime soon regardless of what happens with COVID,” Says De Yurre, “the word is out that Miami now has the ability to compete with any other city in attracting top notch businesses.”