Miami BIDs Put Customer First, Profits Later

Miami BIDs Put Customer First, Profits Later

By Sara Warden

2 min read October 2019 — As commercial real estate evolves and retail stores move online, Miami’s authorities are addressing vacancy rates with an innovative business improvement district (BID) program that unites private business and local store owners to take back Main Street.

A BID is a legal mechanism that has successfully been put in place in Miracle Mile, Coconut Grove, Lincoln Road and Wynwood, and most recently was established in South Miami. The South Miami BID provides a budget of $200,000 annually to provide services to businesses and commercial properties that include “enhanced safety, marketing, advocacy, promotions, and maintenance,” which are provided by the City Commission in addition to basic services.

Lincoln Road is one BID that, rather than focusing on vacancy rates, is focusing on creating a community for the public to attract foot traffic to the area. “I look at Lincoln Road differently,” said Lyle Stern, a member of the Board of the Lincoln Road BID to RE: Miami Beach. “I’m trying to encourage all of us who live in Miami Beach to look at Lincoln Road differently.” He believes that vacancy rates are the concern of individual property owners and that by creating an attractive environment, people will come.

Despite a significant hole being created right in the middle of Lincoln Road by the collapse of shopping giant Forever 21, the BID is planning a $67 million makeover, with Miami Beach authorities contributing to the cost of construction. The private business owners in the area will foot the bill for the promotional events by increasing their own taxes.

The idea behind the BID is not directly to attract investment to a given area, but to nurture the area so that investment comes as an added bonus. The Wynwood BID has taken a look at what the public really wants, and one of its priorities was to re-open the beloved shuttered O Cinema. “O Cinema is a cultural icon in South Florida and a home for independent cinema,” said Albert Garcia, chairman of the Wynwood BID to the Miami Herald. “We were just as blindsided by the news of their closing as everyone else. As a long-time property owner in Wynwood as well as a member of the BID, it was important to me to see how we could keep O Cinema here.”

As the age of e-commerce dawns, BIDs are a way for traditional store owners to tune into the desires of the public, who now want more than just a traditional shopfront. Not only is investment being made in the community, but new business models are emerging that evolve with real demand.

“Nespresso has a very successful store on Lincoln Road,” Stern said to RE: Miami Beach. “As a company they’ve decided they don’t need cafés in the stores. They’re expensive and you have to maintain employees.” Instead, Lincoln Road’s Nespresso is downsizing from 4,500 square feet premises to 2,500 square feet, but staying on the same street, allowing it to maximize its value and provide its customers what they really want.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.southmiamifl.gov/563/Business-Improvement-District-BID

https://lincolnrd.com/lrbid/

https://wynwoodmiami.com/

Philly Developers Quick off the Mark in OZ Race

Philly Developers Quick off the Mark in OZ Race

Writer: Sara Warden

2 min read OCTOBER 2019 — 
Philadelphia’s population growth has lagged other large metro areas in the last few years, according to data from JLL and ULI. From 2010 to 2016, the region experienced a modest 2.1% population expansion and between 2010 to 2017, economic expansion was 12.3%, below the 15.1% experienced nationally.

 

This means that when the Opportunity Zones (OZs) were announced in the 2017 Federal Tax reform package, Philadelphia businesses welcomed them with open arms. “We have seen significant demand from Philadelphia’s real estate industry,” said Paul Dougherty, Philadelphia partner-in-charge at EisnerAmper LLP. “Part of that demand has to do with the interest around the Opportunity Zones created under the tax reform.”

OZs are a mechanism through which developers can defer tax payments through reinvestment of capital gains, for a maximum tax burden reduction of 15%, among other benefits. The program was designed to incentivize development in slower-growth regions. Philadelphia is now home to 82 OZs and the private sector has wasted no time tapping into them.

“The new federal Opportunity Zones will be interesting, and we hope to see some growth in the market from those. There are some very strategic areas in Philadelphia, like the corridor leading up Broad Street toward Temple. It’ll be exciting to see what happens in those areas,” said Tim Pulte, senior executive vice president of Colliers International.

In Brewerytown alone, several developments have sprung up, including the $42 million conversion of the F.A. Poth Brewing Company building at 31st and Jefferson Streets. The $10 million investment made by Off Road Capital Management will create 128 apartments and 25,000 square feet of commercial real estate. At 2120 E. York St., north of Frankford Avenue in Kensington, developer Civetta Property Group will use $8 million in equity from a fund under PNC Financial Services Group to build a five-story, 56-unit apartment building. And developer Mosaic Development Partners has chosen a former medical supply factory on Wayne Avenue, north of Berkley Street in Germantown, to convert into a 39-unit mixed-use development with a $7.5 million investment.

With these kinds of investments made in such a small area over such a short period, it is easy to see how capital expenditures could reach the $100 billion goal touted by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. But as OZs attract buzz, some have suggested the initiative may fall short of expectations without the right participation.

However, for Ben Connors, President of the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA), there is no downside to the program. “Opportunity Zones are going to have either a positive impact or a minimal impact. They are certainly not negative,” he said. “These zones stand to be another tool to extend economic development. Some of the Opportunity Zones that have been selected in this region are prime for development, assuming that the funds are prepared to take advantage. What is unknown is the scale.”

It is not only developers that have seen the benefits these zones can bring. Companies providing auxiliary services aligned with the real estate industry have been able to tap into the new OZ reality. One of these companies is real estate information firm CoStar, which identified numerous companies looking for ways to better search properties for Opportunity Zone investments.

In response, this year the company added Opportunity Zone overlays onto its property mapping functions. “With this new functionality, our subscribers can set alerts that notify them anytime a commercial property comes up for sale in an Opportunity Zone they are interested in,” Adrian Ponsen, the company’s director of market analytics, told Invest:. “They can also search for off-market Opportunity Zone properties that have the nearby demographic criteria and lot sizes they need to be viable candidates for redevelopment.”

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.eisneramper.com/

https://www2.colliers.com

https://gbca.com/

https://www.costar.com/

 

 

 

 

Philly Developers Quick off the Mark in OZ Race

It’s Go Big or Go Home for Miami’s OZs

Writer: Sara Warden

2 min read October 2019- When the Opportunity Zones (OZs) were created by the federal government in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, they were focused on 8,764 across the 50 states covering almost 35 million Americans. The program was designed to direct investment to regions with an average poverty rate over 32%, compared with the national average of 17%.

“We anticipate that $100 billion in private capital will be dedicated toward creating jobs and economic development in Opportunity Zones,” said US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in a press release. “This incentive will foster economic revitalization and promote sustainable economic growth, which was a major goal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

Florida is home to 427 of these OZs and Miami-Dade houses 68 of them. “The creation of these new Opportunity Zones provides new investment opportunities for some of Miami’s economically distressed areas,” said Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, in another press release. “This means greater consideration will be given to investing and providing jobs in areas of the county where they are needed most.”

The program works on the basis of deferral of taxes until either the property is sold or Dec. 31, 2026, whichever comes first. Investors can claim a 15% tax reduction if they invest over the entire 10-year period.

But the program is still new, and many investors are struggling to work out the best way to obtain returns. “Every real estate developer in the country is trying to figure out their Opportunity Zone strategy,” Reid Thomas, principal at NES Financial, told the Miami Herald. “Some are deciding it’s not worth the hassle, (and) that they’re not going to bother doing this kind of development.”

But those that do bet are betting big. Developer Russell Galbut closed a deal for the final piece of acreage from Northeast 29th to 32nd streets, and Northeast Second Avenue to Biscayne Boulevard. The $4.9 million purchase of 2901 Northeast Second Avenue brings Galbut’s total investment in the project to over $37 million. The site will house a major mixed-use development built by Galbut’s company Crescent Heights. It plans to build 800 residential units and use over 600,000 square feet for retail and office space.

Galbut told Miami-based real estate magazine The Real Deal that the OZ incentive was “some of the smartest legislation that has come out of Congress in a long time,” adding that his company is buying properties in all markets across the OZs.

But some investors saw the virtues in the Miami real estate market before the OZs arrived, and now there’s an added bonus to their investments. Developer BH3 invested $60 million in a retail and showroom and the space happened to be placed in one of Miami’s OZs. “The fundamentals, economics, and merits must stand on their own, whereby the tax benefits are purely an added bonus. A bad deal with good tax benefits is still a bad deal,” Greg Freedman, principal and founder of BH3, told the Miami Herald.

Although some are sceptical that the OZs will provide tangible benefits to anyone other than the investors, Neisen Kasdin, managing partner at law firm Akerman LLP, told the Miami Herald the zones are still in their infancy. “At the end of the day, these neighborhoods will benefit the most when people invest money in them,” he said. “Whether it’s a real estate development, or a capital-intensive project or businesses…You have to start with the assumption that investment in neighborhoods [that have] only seen disinvestment is a good thing.”

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites: 

https://www.miamigov.com/Home

Healthcare Sector Rapidly Expanding in Orlando

Healthcare Sector Rapidly Expanding in Orlando

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read October 2019 — Orlando’s population has increased rapidly over the last few years, making it one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the United States. As the city continues to grow, local healthcare organizations are immersed in numerous expansion and improvement efforts.

 

The region’s main health providers have been expanding their partnerships, free-standing emergency rooms (ER), specialized centers and hospitals. The Invest: team recently met with Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth Central Florida Region, who pointed out some of the fastest-growing areas of service and care in Orlando. 

“We have added quite a number of free-standing locations with doctors and emergency services in areas of need, instead of having to build a whole hospital. We are growing in our academic work around community cancer research. The cardiovascular institute is seeing high demand as well. We are also redefining our primary care model to include virtual care, which will allow patients to connect via video or text messages with their doctor,” Tol said.  

AdventHealth opened the Waterford Lakes ER on Sept. 27, which is its fourth free-standing ER in the area. The hospital also announced plans to build an 18,400-square foot, 24-bed hospital-based emergency department in Port Orange for adults and children, and has the Oviedo ER set to open in the next few weeks. AdventHealth has also partnered with​​ Moffitt Cancer Center to improve cancer care and establish a clinical research facility and chemotherapy/immunotherapy infusion program at AdventHealth Celebration.

Orlando Health is also deploying a high amount of capital in expansions and new developments. The $3.8 billion not-for-profit healthcare organization recently opened Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion – Lake Mary. The 25-room ER can manage a majority of emergencies, from minor trauma to broken bones. The adjacent medical pavilion will offer several specialties including, pulmonology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, urology, orthopedics, general surgery, cardiology, and cardiac rehab. The second phase of this campus is already in development with the construction of a hospital expected to begin in the spring of 2020. Orlando Health has a total of six free-standing ERs either under construction or completed in Central Florida. 

The community-based network of hospitals also opened the Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center last summer, bringing advanced cancer treatment to residents of Osceola County.

Tennessee-based healthcare provider HCA Healthcare also opened its third free-standing ER in Millenia on Sept. 18. According to an Orlando Business Journal article, HCA plans to build a 12-bed emergency department in Davenport, which is expected to open in 2020. HCA has also partnered with the University of Central Florida to build the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center, which is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2020. 

As Orlando’s population continues to rise and the healthcare sector remains highly competitive, it is expected to continue to see a high amount of healthcare-related construction and development in the region. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

AdventHealth: https://www.adventhealth.com/ 

Orlando Health: https://www.orlandohealth.com/ 

HCA Healthcare: https://hcahealthcare.com/ 

How e-commerce is feeding Orlando’s booming retail market

How e-commerce is feeding Orlando’s booming retail market

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — At times when big retailers such as Sears, Charming Charlie’s and some malls are struggling to survive, Orlando’s retail sector continues to thrive. The city’s rapid population growth and robust economy present an ideal environment for retailers. Rather than having a negative effect on brick and mortar stores, e-commerce has had a positive impact in Orlando’s retail market, according to industry leaders who recently met with the Invest: team.

“We are seeing a blend of both online retail presence and brick and mortar, and that is a trend that we will continue to see for the next two to four years. Retail is going through an evolution, and that is not necessarily a negative thing. We will see significant changes over the next few years,” SRS Real Estate Partners Managing Partner and Market Leader for Orlando & Tampa Cindy Schooler, told Invest:.

Colliers International’s 2019 Q2 Central Florida Retail Market Report showed the area has a 5.3% vacancy rate. The report points out that Orlando’s regional growth has fueled investor demand for retail product to an all-time high. Rental rates have increased to $50 per square foot in Central Florida’s top retail corridors, while Orlando’s tertiary markets have increased in tenant demand. 

“There are two specific factors to consider in terms of retail performance: the number of people moving and vacationing in the area. If those two numbers are up, then there will probably be an up retail market. In Orlando, those numbers keep going up and the retail market is doing very well. In Central Florida, we have healthy demographic growth and a big tourism industry that is making the retail sector substantially bigger,” John Crossman, CEO of Crossman & Company, told Invest: in a one-on-one interview. 

Crossman explained the impact of “the halo effect,” which happens when an online retailer opens physical stores and, most times, their online sales go up. Similarly, when an online retailer closes physical stores, their online sales go down. 

“When customers buy something online and return it to a physical store, they typically end up spending more money in the store. In the Orlando area, we’re not seeing people radically closing stores. We are seeing a combination between their physical and online presence,” he said. 

An example of the e-commerce growth in Orlando is Kroger and Ocado’s second customer fulfillment center. Earlier this year, Kroger Co. and UK-based online grocery partner Ocado Solutions confirmed the location for a 375,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Lake County. The center will supply online customers only and its expected to create 506 jobs and add $63 million in annual economic impact. 

Orlando’s tourism sector also provides a particular advantage for businesses to test new products, according to Schooler. “We are a test field in the area because of the tourist market. A lot of entrepreneurs bring concepts here and test their brands because of the diversity in the area. That allows clients to test lines that they would never be able to test in traditional retail markets,” Schooler said. 

According to Colliers 2019 Q2 retail report, approximately 980,571 square feet of construction was underway by the end of the second quarter. This is the highest amount since before the Great Recession. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

SRS Real Estate Partners: https://srsre.com/ 

Crossman & Company: https://www.crossmanco.com/ 

Colliers International: https://www2.colliers.com/en 

Miami’s Industrial Real Estate Has Buyers Lining Up

Miami’s Industrial Real Estate Has Buyers Lining Up

Writer: Sara Warden

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — Miami is an attractive place to live and a business hub, but that also means its real estate doesn’t come cheap. In the huge land expanses involved in industrial real estate, assets cost a pretty penny. But the dynamics of the Miami market mean developers are not shying away from putting their hand in their pocket.

A key example of this is the recent sale of the three-building, 74-acre Centergate development at Gratigny in Hialeah for $178 million, Florida’s biggest sale of the year. Real estate giants CBRE closed the sale on behalf of the buyer.

“Centergate is one of the largest industrial offerings to come for sale in South Florida in recent years,” said CBRE Executive Vice President Jose Lobon in a news release. “Given the challenges to aggregate square footage in our market, Centergate presented a unique opportunity to acquire critical mass in one of the most desirable logistics markets in the nation.”

The sale can be broken down to a price of $111.25/ft2, a steal compared to recent deals in the greater Miami area. At the end of last month, institutional investor The Blackstone Group bought the 14-acre Airport Trade Center property west of Miami International Airport for $56 million, or $152/ft2.

Also this month, CBRE closed another multimillion-dollar industrial real estate deal, selling the five-building Miramar industrial portfolio to Stockbridge Capital. This deal equates to an eye-watering $192/ft2.

“It’s hard to buy industrial real estate in South Florida. It’s very competitive. Particularly when you see something of this size, multiple buildings,” Lobon added. “The opportunity to be able to buy in one stroke over 600,000 square feet of Class A, high-quality institutional industrial real estate in South Florida, those opportunities don’t come around that frequently.”

With these values, it’s not hard to see why other industrial real estate investors have made Miami a prime focus in their business plans. NYSE-listed real estate corporation Terreno has made Miami a cornerstone in its six-market strategy. 

“Terreno acquires, owns and operates industrial real estate in six major coastal US markets. Exclusively. Functional, flexible, infill real estate located at the intersection of growing demand and limited, or even shrinking, supply,” the company says on its website.

E-commerce is one of the reasons why industrial real estate close to the city limits is in such high demand in recent years. Miami is the sixth-most densely-populated city in the United States and the metropolitan area is home to over 6 million people. 

A 2017 study by San Francisco technology company Trove Technologies found that Florida is No. 1 for discretionary income in the South Atlantic region. Discretionary income is the amount left over after paying for the essentials such as rent and bills.

A huge captive population combined with sizeable disposable income is not only good news for e-commerce, but also for the US industrial real estate giants that are betting on the greater Miami area.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.cbre.com/about

https://www.blackstone.com/

https://stockbridge.com/

https://terreno.com/

Spotlight On: Mark Hardy, Vice President & Regional Manager, Universal Engineering Sciences

Spotlight On: Mark Hardy, Vice President & Regional Manager, Universal Engineering Sciences

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read August 2019 — Growth in the Tampa Bay construction industry has not only benefited construction and real estate development companies in the area, it has also been a massive plus for engineering firms. Quality development and construction is dependent upon the availability of highly professional and proficient engineers, and demand can quickly outweigh supply. Invest: Tampa Bay recently sat down with Mark Hardy, vice president and regional manager for Universal Engineering Sciences’s Tampa Bay office. Among the many topics covered, Hardy discussed the growth in demand for building inspection services, a growing focus on environmental sustainability and what the next year will hold for his office.

Which of your services are seeing the most growth in demand? 

We are seeing tremendous growth in demand for our building inspection services. A new law signed by Gov. DeSantis, allows companies like ours to provide plan review and inspections that municipalities would normally conduct. While the private provider option has been available since 2002, the new law reduces the time frame and cost that this would normally entail. As a private firm we can help accelerate the process during a time when municipalities are overwhelmed.

 

How much of a focus is environmental sustainability to your clients? 

As new projects get underway, they are hitting some roadblocks because they are infringing on wetlands. We have hired an individual who specializes in wetlands and endangered species so we can better assist clients in finding the balance between being able to do a new development and still remain cognizant of those environmental areas. Another area where we are seeing a lot of expansion is renewable energy projects, like solar farms; we are getting frequent calls to provide expertise on how to get them planned and constructed.

 

What does the next 12 months look like for your office? 

We have a lot of projects on the books that haven’t started yet but are on the horizon for the new year. This includes a new performing arts center and new contracts with Pasco County Schools, Hillsborough County Public Schools and Hillsborough County for infrastructure improvements. This year, we surpassed 100 employees at this office and we will look to build off that momentum. The remainder of 2019 and 2020 are shaping up to be really great years for the company.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

https://universalengineering.com/

Philly Legal: These Sectors Are on the Right Side of the Law

by Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — Over the last few years, Philadelphia’s legal sector has seen a steady flow of law firms entering the market as well as local firms expanding in and outside the region. As the market gets more concentrated, many firms are betting on key growth areas to expand their practices. 

According to Invest: interviews with leading legal voices in the Philly area, health and life sciences, technology, real estate and finance are some of the sectors keeping attorneys busy. With a diverse business ecosystem in Philadelphia, firms like Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C. are experiencing high demand in commercial business, especially in the areas of banking, leasing, real estate financing and real estate development.

“We also have seen growth in our employment practices area, in part due to the #MeToo movement, which is generating many more workplace claims. Commercial litigation is also a growth area for us,” Mitchell Kaplan, managing shareholder at Zarwin Baum, told Invest:. “But we are currently seeing the most growth in our data privacy and cyber-liability department. That department gets involved in the training of businesses to prevent data leaks and breaches. We provide training, prevention and breach response,” Kaplan said. 

Similarly, St. Louis-based Armstrong Teasdale LLP is growing its intellectual property presence in Philadelphia as a result of the increasing demand in technology litigation around the country. “Intellectual property services, whether it be trademark, patents or copyrights, are required by any business. We support our clients with many trademark and retail issues. For example, in the science, healthcare and pharmaceutical fields, we do a lot of patents and protection of intellectual property. There is high demand for intellectual property services in Philly,” Armstrong Teasdale’s Eastern U.S. Partner and Leader Richard Scheff said in an interview with Invest:. 

According to an article from The Legal Intelligencer, Pennsylvania-based firms saw demand growth of 2.6 percent last year, slightly above the industry average of 2.3 percent. One of the benefits of Philadelphia’s legal sector is the presence of 20 Fortune 500 companies and over 75 Fortune 1000 companies. 

Besides technology and intellectual property services, financial institutions and real estate companies are particularly robust areas for Philadelphia’s legal sector. “Blank Rome’s Real Estate and Financial Services practices are very strong, particularly in Philadelphia. Both continue to be core areas of our law firm with a strong national presence,” Alan J. Hoffman, chairman at Blank Rome LLP, told Invest:.

Finance and technology also form part of Duane Morris LLP’s Top 5 sectors in terms of revenue and areas of focus. “About 85% of our revenue is in the following industries: financial institutions, health and life sciences, technology and telecommunications, infrastructure (including construction and energy) and finally, retail and consumer products. Those areas are our focus across the firm and in Philadelphia, which is our largest office with over 200 lawyers,” Matthew Taylor, chairman & CEO at Duane Morris LLP, told Invest: 

Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group’s Q2 2019 report projects a good year in 2019 relative to earlier post-recession years, although it will be a challenge for the industry to see a repeat of 2018’s strong performance.

 

 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C.: https://www.zarwin.com/ 

Armstrong Teasdale LLP: https://www.armstrongteasdale.com/ 

Blank Rome LLP: https://www.blankrome.com/ 

Duane Morris LLP: https://www.duanemorris.com/ 

Face Off: Broward’s Construction Boom

Face Off: Broward’s Construction Boom

By Max Crampton-Thomas

 

4 min read September 2019 It seems like more cranes are dotting the downtown Fort Lauderdale skyline every week as new developments emerge from the ground at a record rate. Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale recently had the opportunity to speak with two of the leading constructors in South Florida, Ryan Romanchuk, the Fort Lauderdale business unit leader for DPR Construction, and Brian Sudduth, the president of Miller Construction. The wide-ranging conversations touched on trends in the sector and how their companies are adapting to these, along with the challenges the industry faces.

What emerging trends are impacting the construction industry and how are you adapting to these?

Ryan Romanchuk: There is a strong movement toward prefabrication similar to what we’ve seen in other parts of the world outside of the United States. It is a movement to become smarter as an industry as our labor costs go up and we move more into a manufacturing environment. We are looking for different components that we can prefabricate off-site, which in turn helps to limit the amount of manpower needed on-site, making our project safer and resulting in a higher quality product. One of the constraints of prefabrication is that it requires a certain level of repeatability to make economic sense for a project. However, as our technological tools get more sophisticated we are going to start to push toward digital fabrication. It’s the idea that every project can be unique but still be prefabricated based on building it virtually first.

Brian Sudduth: Office space construction has been slower over the past several years, but we are now starting to see more opportunities for development and redevelopment of office space. The need for construction in hospitality has continued to offer opportunities, and there is still heavy demand for our services in the industrial market. The residential, multifamily market is slowing down, but we have not typically participated in these sectors. I think this is part of the reason why we are seeing opportunities for Miller Construction growing and why 2020 will be just as good if not better for our business.

What is an ongoing challenge the construction industry faces?

Romanchuk: We are working to incorporate data-driven decision-making into all aspects of the business and really moving toward predictive analytics. Every construction project produces so much data but at the same time every project is so unique, which makes it challenging to harness the data produced. Our ability to harness our data as an industry will make us more predictable and at the end of the day that is what most if not all our clients want: predictable outcomes.

Sudduth: The challenge of finding labor in construction is not limited to just identifying people for management roles; it is also finding quality craftsmen to work on these jobs. There are more opportunities than available workers in the marketplace. People leaving Florida and leaving the industry all together during the recession was one factor, but we also have a skills gap because for the last decade, high-school students were encouraged to go to college rather than consider vocational training for things like electrical, plumbing and welding. Those programs are finally seeing a resurgence, but that gap has had an effect on available labor.

What are the factors that contribute to the longevity of your company?

Romanchuk: DPR is and always has been a self-performing general contractor. It really centers around the belief that we are builders at heart and our central belief as a company to respect the individual. This is why we don’t believe in “piece work” and believe in a fair and honest hourly wage and benefits such as health, 401K and paid care leave for all our craft employees.  We have had high levels of retention and are investing in training our employees to make sure they continue to grow their skillset and have upward mobility within DPR. Being a self-performing contractor requires additional resources, time and capital, but we control our own destiny, carry forward respect for the individual and can be part of our industry working to solve the labor gap. 

Sudduth: The longevity of our company is attributed to our business model of always putting our clients first. We never try to chase a revenue number or a product type. Instead, we focus our efforts on quality clients, and through the years we have done a good job of selecting clients that are looking for a long-lasting partnership. We always look out for their best interests, and in return people appreciate that and come back to us whenever they have new projects. We have never been a company that tries to be the biggest. Our goal has always been to be the best construction company.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.millerconstruction.com/

https://www.dpr.com/