In its last session, the Florida Legislature passed a law that changes the appellate jurisdiction of Florida’s circuit courts and District Courts of Appeal for certain types of cases. Codified here, the new rule went into effect on January 1, 2021, and strips the circuit court of appellate jurisdiction in some instances. In these instances, appeals will be required to be filed directly with the District Courts of Appeal. Notwithstanding, the circuit courts notably retain jurisdiction over certain cases, including, but not limited to, the following:
A recent decision by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals could have significant implications for mixed-use developments, particularly those that contain hotels and residential condominium owners. The case considered whether the declaration of condominium for the IconBrickell condominium in downtown Miami violated Florida’s Condominium Act because it eliminated what might be treated as common elements in the condominium. Although it attempts to clarify the essential common elements, the Court’s decision does not settle the uncertainties associated with common elements in mixed-use developments that increasingly concern developers, owners and hospitality operators.
Details of the Court’s decision and what it could mean for local mixed-use development moving forward can be found by clicking here.
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.
Remedies for defaults under loans secured by real property varies on a state-by-state basis. In the eastern part of the country, enforcement is mostly by mortgage foreclosure. In the western states, there are enforcement proceedings by way of a deed of trust. There is a spectrum of debtor protections afforded to borrowers depending on the state involved. States like Georgia permit a lender to effect remedies against a defaulting borrower within four to six weeks. In California, a lender can complete an enforcement proceeding in 120 days. But there are states like Florida, where a contested foreclosure can run more than a year; some may take several years. Continue Reading
The pressing need for affordable housing in our region is not new, but it has undoubtedly become more palpable. Those of us involved in developing these housing options expect the demand to continue growing, regardless of the current economic conditions or the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As concerns over the growing need for affordable housing prompt public and private sectors to explore creative solutions, I sat down with long time colleague and newest member of our Bilzin Sumberg team, Terry M. Lovell, to share our thoughts on the market. Terry, who has focused his practice on the financing of affordable housing for more than 20 years, recently joined our firm to head our Affordable Housing & Tax Credit Practice.
For the past century, the City of Coral Gables has been known for the high quality of the original plan implemented by George Merrick in the 1920s and its thoughtful application of high standards for zoning and architectural design. Over the years, the Zoning Code has served as the main document that has preserved the City’s Spanish Mediterranean aesthetics. Now, at the request of the City Commission, the Zoning Code is in the process of being updated to be reorganized and streamlined.
In recognition of the impacts of COVID-19 on the local economy, the Coral Gables City Commission recently tasked staff with finding additional creative ways to support businesses and encourage individuals to participate in the local economy. On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, the City Commission adopted an emergency ordinance adding a section to the City’s Zoning Code to provide expanded opportunities for outdoor/open-air dining.The City also incorporated certain flexibilities for civic uses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even before the COVID-19 global pandemic, the construction industry has been “going global” using available technology and Cloud-based data storage and file sharing on all phases of projects. For example, an owner might hire a London-based architect to design a transportation hub in the United States. The London architect might delegate its Building Information Modeling (BIM) work to a company in New Zealand. Cloud and internet-based platforms make all this possible, enabling the General Contractor or Construction Manager to offer as part of its services one-stop paperless project management, stored on the Cloud and password protected.
Referring to the disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 crisis as the “new normal” has quickly become part of our everyday lexicon. Rising above a crisis, however, is more about adapting to change and innovating than it is about preserving the status quo. While we look at the pandemic as only the “current normal”, we are pushing our way through,focused on being stronger than we were beforehand.
As the country starts its slow crawl towards reopening, I sat down with respected colleague and Construction Law attorney, Joy Spillis Lundeen, to talk about changes brought on by the crisis and how the construction industry will move forward post-pandemic.
Recently, in our P3 Focus Blog, we pointed out that now is the perfect time for a federal infrastructure bill. Such a bill would jump-start the economy, begin to close the infrastructure gap that currently exists, and do it all at a time where these projects could be expedited because of low usage rates due to the pandemic.
Miami-Dade County is the prime example of where new infrastructure dollars could make a big impact. The County’s Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit Plan contemplates federal funding for a number of its corridors. This funding would specifically benefit construction of rapid transit for the North Corridor, which would link Miami International Airport to the northern part of the County, near Hard Rock Stadium. Metrorail, as opposed to bus rapid transit, will likely only be an option for that corridor if the federal government provides funding. There are many other projects in the pipeline that would benefit from a federal infrastructure stimulus. For example, the County is currently evaluating proposals for the Miami International Airport Capital Improvement Program, which is a multi-billion dollar program that will modernize the airport and greatly increase its capacity. The County could also put this funding towards the overhaul of its water and sewer system, which is in need of several billion dollars of critical repairs and upgrades.
Clearly, the County has billions of dollars worth of projects in the pipeline that will only be improved and completed more efficiently with the passage of a federal infrastructure bill. Some would argue that the effect of the ongoing pandemic alone necessitates the economic stimulus that would result from a federal infrastructure bill. However, taken out of the current economic context, now is the time for the federal government to provide the long-promised infusion of federal infrastructure funding for the simple fact that places like the County have recognized that the time for improving and investing in infrastructure is past due, and are taking action to fix it.
This information is intended to inform our clients and other friends about legal developments, including recent decisions of various municipalities, legislative, and administrative bodies. Because of the rapidly changing landscape related to COVID-19, we intend to send out regular updates. The information we provide is not intended as legal advice and viewers/readers should not rely on information contained in these materials to make business or legal decisions. Before making any legal decisions, consult your lawyer. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need assistance responding to the many issues which have arisen, and will continue to arise, out of this situation.