Local MVP: Atlanta United FC season may be done but its value is rising fast.

Local MVP: Atlanta United FC season may be done but its value is rising fast.

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read November 2019 – In the world of sports, soccer has long been the most popular game on Earth with over 4 billion aficionados who all want their favorite team to win. In the United States, however, the checkered round ball does not roll as far as it battles footballs, baseballs, basketballs, and even hockey pucks, for fans’ love, attention and attendance. But in Atlanta, the beautiful game is quickly becoming a fan favorite thanks to the success of the local and 2018 Major League Soccer Cup Champion Atlanta United FC.  

For the last three years, Atlanta United FC has broken multiple league records both in performance and attendance since joining Atlanta’s sports realm in 2017. Recently, the team topped the Forbes list of most valuable MLS teams with an estimated value of $500 million, up from $330 million from last year’s ranking. Trailing behind Atlanta United FC are LA Galaxy with a value of $480 million, and the Los Angeles FC valued at $475 million, both of which are clubs with established fan bases. 

The reigning champion’s hopes of defending its title were crushed after a 2-1 loss to Toronto FC in October. Though defending a title is hard in any sport, on average 52,000 fans flocked to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to cheer on The Five Stripes this regular season. In an August home match against the LA Galaxy, 72,548 people came out to support the team, the most ever in an MLS regular season match. In comparison, according to ESPN statistics, the Atlanta Falcons, who also claim the Mercedes-Benz Stadium as their home, have averaged close to 72,000 fans per home game, proving that soccer is quickly gaining popularity among fans in a town with a historied sports legacy. 


Though the 3-year-old franchise did not hoist the championship trophy this season, it did grab other remarkable accolades usually reserved for more established franchises. The World Football Summit named club President Darren Eales the Executive of the Year, and gave Mercedes-Benz Stadium the award for Best Venue. The Sports Business Awards named the Atlanta United FC as the Sport Team of the Year beating out teams in all pro-leagues, and further recognized the Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the Sports Facility of the Year. Additionally, Atlanta United’s star forward Josef Martinez finished No. 2 on the MLS list of top-selling jerseys, behind legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was acquired by the LA Galaxy from Manchester United in 2018.  


Off the field, Atlanta United FC is active in the community and champions different efforts to make the game of soccer accessible and inclusive for individuals across the state of Georgia. 

The Atlanta United Foundation promotes the importance of physical fitness and sportsmanship, and has made sizable soccer-related donations to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools. 


And if you think you have what it takes to be the next Atlanta United FC star player, here is your chance. The club is hosting its Dream Tryouts where aspiring athletes will battle it out for a professional contract with Atlanta United on Nov. 16.  

For more information, visit: https://www.atlutd.com/

James Fox, President, Maddox Group

James Fox, President, Maddox Group

By Max Crampton-Thomas


2 min read October 2019 — To be successful in the construction industry, a company needs to be flexible and cognizant about the sector’s constant state of change. A construction company also needs to be wary that even with new technologies in the market, at the end of the day, there is no way to control unforeseen issues and challenges. James Fox, president of Maddox Group in Boca Raton, discussed these ideas with Invest: as well as how his company is ensuring it remains as recession proof as possible in preparation for an eventual economic dip. 

With which business sectors are your services most in demand?


The sector where we’re seeing the most demand is, first and foremost, corporate interiors. Second would be medical offices, then industrial and finally retail. The demand for medical offices seems pretty self-explanatory: retired people relocate to Florida and enjoy the weather, which ultimately increases the need for more medical services. In regards to the demand for more corporate offices, the trend seems to be going toward Palm Beach County due to the simple fact that, in comparison to Miami, there’s more land and more opportunity here now.


How have you seen the demand for office types change? 


Traditionally a typical build-out would consist of new ceilings, new flooring, new lighting and specified work stations. Today’s young entrepreneur is building offices that aren’t really offices; rather, they are 360-degree workspaces where there isn’t an emphasis on a desk or workspace belonging to any one individual.


How has new technology changed the construction industry? 


In our industry there are always new technologies popping up to make construction quicker, but at the end of the day it’s still construction. The fact is that you’re building things, and issues are going to arise that are out of anyone’s control. What we do is tell our clients that this is our schedule and barring any unforeseen challenges you’ll be able to move in by this date. But like I said, things happen, and technology can’t always help avoid them.


How do you best protect your business in the case of another economic slowdown? 


Everybody wants to talk about when things are going to come back to reality in the construction market. People can theorize but no one actually knows. My thought process is to stay recession proof. Doing interior build-outs has been the key to this. When the economy dips, businesses don’t have the capital to relocate and build a new office; instead, they will take the space they are working out of and change the interior. Instead of going out into the market and claiming we do 20 different things, we focus our efforts on interiors and it works for us.


To learn more about our interviewee, visit:


Top 5 Haunted Happenings in Tampa Bay

Top 5 Haunted Happenings in Tampa Bay

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

4 min read October 2019 The month of October is known for seasonal change, pumpkin-spiced everything and the nationally celebrated horror day, Halloween. While the actual day is regarded as a time for candy, treats and Halloween scares, the weeks leading up to it have been appropriately dubbed “spooky season.” This is an exciting time for thrill seekers and Halloween enthusiasts in the Tampa Bay area as there are a variety of haunted happenings and spooky activities to experience. The following are five of the best and scariest events and places to make this Halloween a memorable one. 



Tampa Theatre

Regarded as Tampa’s most historic and most haunted movie palace, the Tampa Theatre has embraced its haunted lore for this year’s spooky season. The theater is known for haunted happenings involving former employees whose spirits seem to have never left the theater, like the theater’s old projectionist Foster “Fink” Finley whose footsteps are thought to still be heard from time to time. Not only has the theater showcased 14 nights of frightening films from Oct. 18th until Oct. 31, it is also featuring ghost tours and a special Halloween-themed happy hour event called PAUSE-O-WEEN on Oct. 31. 

For more on Tampa Theatre visit: https://tampatheatre.org/



Carrying the title as Tampa Bay’s No.1 haunted attraction, Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has been a staple of the community for 20 years. Not only does the event offer horror-heads the opportunity to walk through terrifying “scare zones,” it also features multiple haunted houses, access to many other twisted terrors and some of Busch Gardens most iconic rides. This weekend event runs from Sept. 20 to Nov, 2, and promises to “twist daydreams into nightmares.” 

To read more about Howl-O-Scream visit: https://buschgardens.com/tampa/events/howl-o-scream/

Undead in the Water

Undead in the Water is an annual haunted house with a twist. It is the only authentic nautical haunted attraction in the region and takes place on the historically famous 1945 WWII vessel the American Victory Ship. Thrill seekers will rejoice in the challenge of venturing through the multiple decks of this historic vessel as they avoid consumption by an infected zombie hoard onboard the ship. Undead in the Water is infamous for being one of the scariest annual attractions that the region has to offer. This event runs every weekend from the beginning of October until Nov. 2. 

For more on Undead in the Water visit: https://www.undeadinthewater.com/

Ybor City Ghost Tour

While it is known for being a National Historical Landmark District in Tampa Bay and one of the preeminent spots for tourists and residents to frequent, Ybor City is also known as one of the top destinations for hauntings. With a deep rooted history in the development and emergence of the Tampa Bay region, Ybor City has seen its fair share of diverse demographics settling in the region and calling it home. According to urban legend some of these souls just decided to never leave, which is why Ybor City is home to the critically acclaimed Ybor City Ghost Tour. Rated as the No. 1 haunted tour in the United States by US City Traveler and rated in USA Today’s 10 best lists, this tour promises an informative and scary walk through the ghostly history of Ybor City. 

For more information on the Ybor City Ghost Tour visit: http://www.yborghosttour.com

Cuban Club

Located in Ybor City, the historic Cuban Club has a history that spans over a century and includes shows by world-renowned entertainers, weddings, parties and the occasional haunting. The club itself is a wonderful multipurpose rental facility with amenities like a grand ballroom, theater and courtyard. With numerous reports of ghostly sightings and paranormal activity, it is not a surprise that this location was named by The Travel Channel as one of its Top 10 most haunted places. The Club leaves it up to guests to decide whether they believe it to be haunted or not as stated in the FAQ on its website: “We are reputed to be haunted, but we will let you make up your own mind on this subject…”

To see more on the Cuban Club visit: http://cubanclubybor.com/

Spotlight On: Courtney Orr, Ybor Development Manager, Ybor City Development Corporation

Spotlight On: Courtney Orr, Ybor Development Manager, Ybor City Development Corporation

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read October 2019 — Founded in the late 1800s, Ybor City is not only a staple in the Tampa Bay region but in the entire state of Florida. While it is not geographically large, Tampa Bay’s National Historic Landmark District has quite a large economic impact on the region. Invest: Tampa Bay recently spoke with Courtney Orr, the Ybor development manager for Ybor City Development Corporation, who discussed the impact of changing demographics on the district, respecting Ybor City’s history in light of ongoing development and the vital role young professionals play in the future of Ybor. 


How have the changing demographics of the region impacted Ybor City? 

The dynamics of Ybor City are shifting as we see an increase in the residential population, office users and one-of-a-kind restaurants and retailers. What’s most notable though is the influx of residents wanting to call Tampa’s National Historic Landmark home. Ybor has long been known strictly as an entertainment district and that mindset is changing with the current progressive shift underway. 

How are you working to improve Ybor City for the future while still respecting its history? 

Safeguarding Ybor’s historic features and history, especially the cigar industry from which Ybor City was built, is fundamental to the neighborhood’s success. The city of Tampa’s Barrio Latino Commission provides oversight to historic preservation by reviewing all development projects to ensure Ybor’s charm stays intact. We participate by offering a commercial facade grant to inspire historic preservation. This grant, along with other separate ones we offer, has made a tremendous difference throughout the historic neighborhood. Altogether, it helps breed additional private investment that enhances the district and ultimately will forever maintain Ybor’s charm.

Fortunately, Ybor draws very unique restaurant concepts here. Copper Shaker is one example of a successful restaurant opening its second location on 7th Avenue by the end of the year. New establishments like it preserve Ybor’s distinct vibe and with all the new residential development online, retailers are sure to follow.

What role do young professionals play in the development of Ybor City? 

Young professionals play a big role in the overall Ybor scene. They love the area’s walkability and many are willing to forgo their cars. They tend to favor smaller living quarters, if it guarantees them a certain quality of life in a stimulating neighborhood. As more young professionals move in so will office users to gain access to that creative talent, not to mention to enjoy all that Ybor has to offer too.


To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 



Our Pick: 5 Scariest Halloween Attractions in Philly

Our Pick: 5 Scariest Halloween Attractions in Philly

By Yolanda Rivas

2 min read October 2019 — Philadelphia is a city of firsts, from its rich history to its famous Philly cheesesteaks, the city excels in numerous areas. There’s no doubt that Philadelphians also know how to throw a spooky Halloween event. Here are our favorite scary attractions you can’t miss this Halloween.

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

What once was the most famous and expensive prison in the world, is now the perfect setting for a haunted attraction. Featured in many TV shows and horror movies, Eastern State Penitentiary’s six haunted attractions will take your breath away. Starting in the 1940s, officers and prisoners reported mysterious visions and eerie experiences within the 30-foot high castle-like walls, which has driven many people to believe the place is haunted. Terror Behind the Walls is consistently ranked among the nation’s top haunted attractions and will be open through Nov. 10. 

PennHurst Asylum

After being abandoned for 25 years, former PennHurst Asylum reopened its doors a few years ago as one of the state’s scariest haunted destinations. Visitors can experience four terrifying attractions: the main Asylum, the Morgue, Containment and Mayflower After Dark. Events and tours include a photography tour, a daytime history tour and overnight paranormal investigations. You won’t sleep, literally, during the overnight paranormal investigations, which give access to all four floors of the haunted Mayflower Hall and the underground tunnels of Philadelphia, Devon, and Rockwell from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. PennHurst attractions will open through Nov. 4. 

Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride

Arasapha Farms’ three main attractions, the Bates Motel, the Haunted Hayride and the Haunted Trail, have been consistently recognized with top national awards. It has been called the “best haunted house in America” by CNN Travel and one of America’s scariest haunts by the Travel Channel. Bates Motel brings a close and personal level of horror, with high-tech special effects, digital soundtrack, lighting and astonishing realism. The Haunted Hayride is a 25-minute ride through the dark forest of Arasapha Farm with scenes featuring a 100-foot-long, 40-foot-tall drive-thru insane asylum, a New England church, a 200-foot-long cave and a Headless Horseman. Finally, the revenge of the Scarecrows Haunted Corn Trail will give you the chills with a terrifying walk through a tall corn field, filled with walk-through buildings, sets and animatronic monsters. Arasapha Farm attractions will be open through Oct. 31. 

Fright Factory

This adult-themed haunted house is located inside a 120-year-old factory. It has been featured on the Travel Channel as one of the scariest haunted attractions in America and called “scariest haunted attraction in Philadelphia’’ by FOX29. The factory offers three themed attractions: Fright Factory Unholy, Industrial Nightmare and South Side Sanatorium. Through this year’s partnership with Scream Cams, visitors now have the option to be recorded through the scariest parts of the haunted house. Fright Factory will be open through Oct. 31. 

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia

Of course, you wouldn’t want to miss a touch of history while in Philly. Ghost Tours of Philadelphia’s 90-minute walking tour has been named one of the top 15 “must see” attractions in the United States. The tour is based on the book Ghost Stories of Philadelphia, PA and walks visitors along the back streets and secret gardens of Independence National Park, Old City, and Society Hill. Although Halloween is the perfect time to enjoy a ghostly experience, this tour is offered year round.  

To learn more, visit:

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary: https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/node/3 

PennHurst Asylum: https://pennhurstasylum.com/ 

Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride: https://thebatesmotel.com/ 

Fright Factory: http://frightfactoryphilly.com/

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia: https://www.ghosttour.com/philadelphia.html 

Spotlight On: Chuck Hurchalla, President, Evolution Energy Partners

Spotlight On: Chuck Hurchalla, President, Evolution Energy Partners

By Yolanda Rivas

2 min read October 2019 —  Energy efficiency and sustainability are hot topics of conversation across all industries and organizations, public or private. Numerous organizations are now embracing eco-friendly alternatives to reduce their impact on the environment and reduce operational costs. During the last few years, full-service energy engineering and consultancy firm Evolution Energy Partners has helped hundreds of clients achieve their goals around utility spend, energy consumption and long-term energy management. Chuck Hurchalla, president of Evolution Energy Partners, recently spoke with the Invest: Philadelphia team about the rapid growth of Philadelphia’s energy sector. 

What types of services or areas of business are seeing the most demand in Philadelphia?  

 There is high demand in the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors for our energy efficiency and energy procurement services. For example, commercial real estate is one of our largest and continuously growing customer segments, particularly hospitality, office, multifamily, senior living and data centers. Regardless of industry though, we address inefficiencies across our customers’ mechanical, HVAC and lighting systems and we also help our clients significantly improve their internal processes. 


As a professional design-build energy consultancy, customization based on customer needs and the specific property’s energy profile are key. For example, a stellar guest and resident experience is paramount for our hotel and apartment complex owners, respectively. Our considerable experience in these verticals and our customization abilities allow us to implement a large number of fast payback, customized projects that greatly improve light quality, increase HVAC efficiency, and improve air quality for the benefit of ownership and their guests and residents.


To what do you attribute the rapid growth of Philadelphia’s energy sector?

 The opportunities in Philadelphia’s energy sector continue to grow rapidly for a few important reasons. First, businesses and institutions are increasingly recognizing the need to establish and then accomplish sustainability goals to address their corporate environmental concerns and the environmental concerns of their customers. 


Second, organizations’ decision-making processes around energy have historically been, and still are, based on the economic benefit derived from those decisions. As utility costs and related charges continue to increase, the financial bottom lines of businesses and institutions are becoming more and more sensitive to utility rates and energy consumption. Understanding that the utility cost center is one of the larger line items on an organization’s income statement, it becomes obvious as to why more and more companies and institutions are focusing on increasing energy efficiency and reducing their energy spend.


Lastly, Philadelphia is quickly moving forward with various energy regulations that will require property owners to benchmark their energy usage and to improve their energy efficiency. One benefit of recent Philadelphia-related regulations is the adoption of C-PACE financing. C-PACE, or Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, financing allows a property owner to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with no up-front cost. The property owner then pays the costs back over an extended period of time through a voluntary property tax assessment, which leads to increased project adoption and improved cash flow for the property. 


What makes Evolution Energy Partners unique?

 Evolution Energy Partners is unique in the industry because of our ability to evaluate a facility’s energy cost center from an owner’s perspective in order to positively impact the three critical areas of commodity prices, energy consumption, and long-term energy management. This approach has become even more powerful and more critical to our customers as environmental sustainability has become increasingly integral and imperative to our customers’ shareholders and to society as a whole. 


To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Evolution Energy Partners: https://evolutionep.com/ 

Spotlight On: Lisa Scott-Founds, President & CEO, Winterfest Inc

Spotlight On: Lisa Scott-Founds, President & CEO, Winterfest Inc

By Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read October 2019 — The Broward County community is spoiled for choice when it comes to events in the area, as there is seemingly something happening every week, even in winter. The seventh-largest spectator event in Florida is the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, to be held this year on Dec. 12. Invest: spoke with President and CEO of Winterfest Inc Lisa Scott-Founds about the importance of innovation to the event, how they ensure safety and the role the Boat Parade plays in the tourism economy of Broward County. 

How important is consistent innovation to the success of the event?

We always want to integrate the newest technology into our event, like the use of holograms, which we hope is a real possibility for this year. As a nonprofit organization, we are always searching for unique additions to our event that are not cost-prohibitive. We are always asking people, “What is something that you’ve never seen us do before?” We take their suggestion, develop a budget to execute the idea and bring it to our board and possible sponsors to help with underwriting the “new wow-factor idea.” It’s amazing what can happen when you bring together creative minds and supporters in the business community. The entertainment value is the most important element for our success to ensure we continue to be the “Greatest Show on H2O” and the seventh-largest spectator event in the state of Florida.

How do you ensure safety at an event like Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade?

We work with all our law enforcement officials the United States Coast Guard, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Lauderdale Marine Patrol, Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Fire Department. When putting on an event of this caliber, safety is the No. 1 priority. Those who participate in the parade are educated on all our safety procedures. We send them messages on a daily basis to always be conscious of how important it is to keep safety first when you are on the water. As a parade on water, Winterfest needs to have proper procedures in place. Unlike a land parade; you can’t just hit a brake on a boat to stop. Spectators within our Grandstand viewing area see signs directed toward their safety as well.

What role does the Boat Parade play in the tourism market within Broward County?

There is nothing like the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade in the entire world. The beginning of December is a little slower for tourism, as opposed to other months when tourism in South Florida sees a boom, so we feel a responsibility to bring people into the region and put heads in beds. Our success is due to collaboration with organizations like our Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and working with area hotels. Tourists should experience a Winterfest weekend, a show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, eat at our restaurants and immerse themselves in our community. There is just so much to do in Fort Lauderdale, and in Broward County for that matter.


To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 



Solar: The Ray of Light in Miami’s Clean Energy Bid

Solar: The Ray of Light in Miami’s Clean Energy Bid

By Sara Warden

2 min read October 2019 — This month, youth climate advocates came together around the world to highlight the global climate emergency, and Miami Beach listened. The city declared its own climate emergency in response and vowed to prioritize climate change on its agenda.

“We are so proud of the youth leaders and their allies who worked hard to make this declaration a reality. We hope the city of Miami Beach will continue this leadership trend by taking concrete action to reduce emissions, like transitioning to 100% clean and renewable energy,” Emily Gorman, a representative for environmental group Sierra Club, told the Miami Herald.

The city has dabbled in renewable energy over the years but certain technologies, like wind, are simply not viable. Land is becoming more expensive, meaning there are few options for wind power developers to install turbines in a cost-effective way. Miami Beach has access to the sea, but offshore wind turbines would be vulnerable to hurricane activity off the Gulf Coast, which could ultimately be more costly for the city. Hydro energy has been generated by Florida for decades in the city of Tallahassee, but now solar power undercuts it economically and the city proposed the closure of one of its two plants in 2017 due to inefficiencies.

Now, developers in The Sunshine State, are focusing on the shining beacon of hope for renewable energy policies: solar power. Initial outlay for solar energy in Miami-Dade is still relatively expensive, coming in at between $11,645 and $15,755, equating to around $2.74/W. But Miami’s privileged position means it has on average 248 sunny days per year, compared with the national average of 205, meaning its residents can reap greater rewards from solar power.

Major U.S. utility Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is taking advantage of the opportunity to transition to renewables by launching the FPL SolarTogether initiative. “Based on the substantial interest and support that we’ve received on this innovative, voluntary and affordable program from such a diverse array of customers, community partners, businesses, local governments and national clean energy advocacy groups, we’re confident that the time is right for this program,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, to Renewable Energy Magazine.

In the largest community solar program nationwide, FPL SolarTogether will expand solar energy access across Florida by investing in the installation of almost 1,500MW of solar energy across 20 solar plants. FPL will offer access to its solar energy at a fixed monthly subscription cost and credits will be added to bills over the life of the plants. The utility expects most customers will receive a higher bill initially, which will reduce over three to five years and a full payback will be seen within seven years. 

The program could generate up to $249 million in net savings for FPL customers, according to the utility. But the main benefit of the program is democratization of access to solar energy, since not all citizens have the resources to install their own solar panels given the still-pricey initial outlay. “FPL SolarTogether is designed to remove many of the financial burdens associated with private solar generating systems while also providing direct savings in the form of bill credits, making it an affordable option for any customer. Participants could also utilize the program to meet state and federal sustainability goals,” said the utility in a press release.


To learn more about our interviewees, visit:




Spotlight On: Daniels Ikajevs, Chairman, The Ring Workspaces

Spotlight On: Daniels Ikajevs, Chairman, The Ring Workspaces

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read October 2019 — As the need for office space continues unabated, innovative solutions like coworking spaces are rising to fill the gap. One such coworking space is The Ring, which is a state-of-the-art co-working space with an emphasis on health and wellness. It is based in Downtown Clearwater. The Ring held its grand opening on April 26 and is home to over 70 companies across the Tampa Bay area, with about 110 people coming to the space on a daily basis. Invest: spoke with Daniels Ikajevs, chairman of The Ring Workspaces, about his innovative approach to office space, its collaboration with Harvard University and why Clearwater is the perfect location for The Ring Workspaces. 

Why was it important to construct The Ring to WELL standards? 

WELL standards are still fairly new, but they are becoming more commonplace. There is some similarity with LEED building standards, but WELL is more human-centric, and it looks at what is important for people inside the physical space, such as quality of the air, nutrition inside the space, access to daylight, biophilia and other health and wellness-related aspects. It also focuses on everything that LEED emphasizes, like quality of the materials, energy efficiency, and so forth. There is only one WELL-certified co-working space in the world and that is in Boston. We are in the process of getting our certification, and unlike in Boston where they have silver-level certification, we are going for the platinum level. 

What are some ways The Ring is working to help promote and foster the startup and tech ecosystem in the region? 

One of the ways we are doing this is through a collaboration The Ring entered with Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health to pilot their innovation and sustainable technology program in Tampa Bay. This will be the first U.S.-based location for this program. It will happen over the course of two years, and will consist of a first and second round in which the university professors will teach young startups how to bring their ideas into reality. They will provide a blueprint on what investors are looking for when they go out and try to raise money. At the end of the program, people who are successful in funding their ideas will receive a certificate of completion from Harvard University T.H Chan School of Public Health. 

How is Clearwater the perfect match for a coworking space like The Ring?

When we were looking at locations for The Ring, we looked at what makes Clearwater a more attractive market for startups. Clearwater offers lower real estate costs in comparison to similar Tampa and St. Petersburg markets. We are geared more toward the startup culture, and because the cost of doing business in Clearwater is less than anywhere else in Tampa Bay, we thought we could use this environment to attract more startups. As a startup you try to save money every step of the way until you reach the maturity stage of the business, so real estate is one of the biggest values that Clearwater can offer. The overall business environment in Clearwater is also in line with the four principles of The Ring, which are health, innovation, sustainability and productivity.

What does the future of coworking spaces look like? 

Coworking spaces will continue on an upward trend, especially as more startups emerge all around the Tampa Bay region. In this fast-moving business environment it is very difficult for these startups to predict the amount of space they will need in the near future, so coworking spaces like The Ring that offer flexible memberships where these businesses can upgrade or downgrade with ease are a huge benefit. Flexibility is key for startups, which is why big players in the coworking space, like Spaces, are expanding quickly to address the growing demand. It will also be interesting to see how the coworking concept works in a down market, as this has not been properly tested yet. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a down market in real estate in the near future, so we will pay special attention to see how this market adjusts and operates when this happens. 


To learn more about our interviewee, visit: