Local leaders optimistic amid Charlotte’s latest jobs ranking

Local leaders optimistic amid Charlotte’s latest jobs ranking

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020   — The Queen City closed out the decade as one of the hottest markets in the nation, especially in the southeast. Millennials, Fortune 500 companies, and even a new soccer team want to be fully established in Charlotte and tap into its growth. And while the region offers a robust, tech- and financial services-savvy workforce, and is steadily diversifying its economy, a new report puts Charlotte in the middle of the pack for best cities for jobs in 2020. However, local market leaders across industries say job opportunities will remain sustainable for 2020, especially in the technology, law, and real estate sectors.


A new report by WalletHub puts Charlotte at No. 104 on its ranking of “2020’s Best Cities for Jobs.” The personal finance website compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 31 indicators of job-market strength, such as employment growth and monthly average starting salary. Scottsdale, Arizona, took the top spot, and Detroit, Michigan, came in last at No. 182. Other major North Carolina metros received mixed reviews, with Raleigh cracking the Top 50 at No. 48, and Fayetteville listed before Detroit at No. 181. Though the report listed Charlotte as middle of the pack for jobs compared to other cities, the technology, law and real estate sectors will continue to provide opportunities for the region’s workforce, local leaders say.  


Charlotte is quickly becoming a tech town, as evidenced by the different tech-based companies that relocated to the region in the latter half of the last decade. “In the Charlotte market, the technology talent pool is growing at a rapid pace, largely driven by companies like Red Ventures, LendingTree, and AvidXchange,” JLL Market Director Chase Monroe told Invest: Charlotte. “There has been a need for high-tech talent. Locally, there has been investment in the school system to drive technological education.” Charlotte’s banking legacy, coupled with the fintech that is coming out of the banking system, is also fueling the technology sector and driving talent to the Queen City, Monroe said. “Those factors have allowed Charlotte to be a top recruiter for multiple tech-based opportunities across industries. Recruiting and retention of talent has been a huge factor in the Charlotte Metro Area.” 


Similarly, the legal sector has evolved with the growth of the city and has a positive outlook heading into the new decade. “I don’t see anything but good things for the legal profession here,” Poyner Spruill Partner Tate Ogburn told Invest: Charlotte. “Charlotte has grown for the two decades that I have lived here, and I don’t see that dramatically changing.” The legal needs of companies evolve with the economic diversification and growth of the region, which creates opportunities for legal professionals, he said. “It is still a place where people want to be and there are more opportunities with new and more sophisticated companies coming in for the legal sector to continue growing. There are a lot of opportunities in terms of new clients and people, and different types of work as well,” Ogburn said. 


Real estate and development provide investor confidence and opportunities for the workforce as Charlotte continues to grow. “I’ve been at this for 40 years and the real estate market in Charlotte is the strongest, most robust I’ve ever seen,” Northwood CEO Ned Curran told Invest: Charlotte. He highlighted the growth of the residential, industrial and commercial sectors. “Residential leads the way. It has not slowed like in other cities. Distribution and manufacturing continue to grow, and we have a unique distribution hub of state highways and rail networks associated with the airport. The office sector has trailed a little, but in recent years it has been catching up, which is a reflection of job growth,” he said. Curran expects the growth to continue during an election year and beyond while expressing confidence in the region and its economic diversification, which will allow the region to be better prepared in the event of an economic downturn, he said. “We will continue to grow across all sectors. We continue to diversify our economy, which only gives us greater strength. When there is a downturn in the economy, not everybody suffers. Some have disadvantages, some have advantages, but we are all components of an economic system and with our great diversity, we will be able to weather it better.”


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Spotlight On: Scott Lyons, Business Unit Leader, SE Region DPR Construction

Spotlight On: Scott Lyons, Business Unit Leader, SE Region DPR Construction

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read January 2020— DPR Construction is leading the charge in delivering large construction projects faster and with better quality by employing prefabrication solutions and utilizing their own self-perform crews to put the work in place. Central Florida Business Unit Leader Scott Lyons discusses the prospects for the construction industry in Central Florida.

What has been the impact of DPR moving into Downtown Orlando and what opportunities are you finding there that promoted the move?


We moved Downtown in October 2018, which helped us combine two existing DPR Orlando offices into one. There is a great vibe Downtown, and many of our business partners and clients are now our next-door neighbors. This has been a path to strengthening our connections to the local business community with close proximity for lunch meetings or spending time with people in-person. Our new space was designed to host large groups, with a large training room and 10 conference rooms.


Our Orlando office is one of the largest for DPR, in terms of square footage, which provides us with the unique ability to host meetings for our national and regional teammates. Providing our visitors with walking-distance access to some of the city’s best restaurants and venues means they get the very best of what Orlando has to offer and DPR gets to contribute to the economic success of our Downtown district. We just fell in love with the Downtown vibe, it is where the energy is.


What are the most relevant projects DPR is working on in the region? 


We are finishing the KPMG Learning & Innovation facility, which will be completed by the end of 2019. It is the largest project being built by DPR in the Southeast this year. KPMG performed a lot of due diligence in choosing Orlando and the Lake Nona area and it has been one of the more rewarding, incredibly designed and fastest projects for us in a long time. Mega projects are historically tough to execute on time and on budget in the Central Florida area since finding enough skilled craftsmen to build these projects can be a challenge. However, our collaborative approach with the client and the design team plus integrating a lot of prefabricated components into the design has allowed the project to be built at a very good pace. This was truly a collaborative effort and success on behalf of our entire team, including the designer and our owner. KPMG is a huge regional project and a huge win for the city.


What are the clearest trends in construction in the Orlando area in recent years? 


At DPR, we are very passionate about driving forward the concept of prefabrication in our construction projects. There are multiple reasons for this. There is a shortage of skilled construction workers, so prefabrication decreases the demand for workers onsite and when you prefabricate components they are usually of a higher quality and safer generally, resulting in a better product for the client. For the KPMG project, we prefabricated 800-bathroom pods. We built them in a factory here in Orlando, called SurePods, and the quality was beyond anything we could get building them in place. It changed the dynamic of how the project was executed, resulting in a faster speed-to-market with fewer people needed on the project. Prefabrication is the way of the future for construction and DPR is well-positioned to lead this trend.


What other advanced technologies are you employing in your work? 


We are believers in technology where we can find a great use for it, and where it adds immediate value. We beta test a lot of ideas and technology, apps and software, and generally settle quickly on things that help the client or our people. One is laser scanning. We use it before rebuilding a client’s existing space, like a corporate office, to create a digital model that captures the exact reality of the designed space.


We are also working in partnership with Reigl to utilize LiDAR technology and bring some of their technology into the vertical construction market. It is a drone-borne scanning technology that flies over an existing site, scans it and provides the contours of the land, so you can see elevation changes and other useful data. A civil engineer can take that data to minimize how much dirt is moved around, for example. This type of real-world use of technology on our projects keeps us nimble. We are innovating in ways that not only change the landscape for the construction industry, they are helping our client successfully expand their products into new markets. 


What kinds of projects are in greatest demand in the Orlando area? 


The attractions companies have very robust plans for the next few years and we also see healthcare companies continuing to invest in their existing and new facilities. We also believe that advanced manufacturing will play an increased role in the Orlando economy as well, so we’re also keeping close tabs on those upcoming projects.



To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

DPR Construction: https://www.dpr.com/ 

Spotlight On: Andrew Burnett, Senior Principal, Stantec

Spotlight On: Andrew Burnett, Senior Principal, Stantec

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read January 2020 — The Broward County Convention Center and Hotel is one of the largest projects underway in Broward County. A project of this magnitude requires the utmost care in regards to design and architecture, as well as the foresight to plan for future environmental challenges. Invest: spoke with Andrew Burnett, the senior principal for Stantec, which is working on the Convention Center project. Burnett addressed the company’s ongoing projects, how shifting demands have changed its focus and the National Flood Insurance Program. 


What are some of your most significant projects in development within Broward County? 


We have multiple projects throughout Broward County, including the Fort Lauderdale region, Pompano Beach, Sunrise and Miramar. For instance, we are the architect of record and landscape architect for the Broward County Convention Center and Hotel, which is around a $1 billion project. This is an extremely large and involved project requiring integrated services from Stantec that also has many resilient aspects being built into it that we hope to use as a model for future growth and development throughout the county. As we are expanding the convention center and building the new hotel, we have done a series of wave-height analyses. These are not just focused on the floodplain and how high we need to build the building to stay out of the floodplain, they also address storm surges and how to design the building to be more resilient in those situations. It has been great to have the county’s support on these matters. Our other projects in Broward County include the new AC Hotel by Marriott in Sawgrass Mills, Manor Miramar, Las Olas Walk and 1380 South Ocean Boulevard. 


How have you seen demand shift in the last couple of years and how are you adapting to this shift? 


Historically, we would see the demand for smaller residential units in the Downtown urban core because of the density of the population. As we moved away from the urban areas, the units were constructed bigger to attract more people, but now we are starting to see smaller units becoming attractive away from the urban centers. This indicates that people are looking for alternative solutions that are more affordable. It may also be partially due to having more flexibility and adaptability in the way that we live and the way that we engage the community as Broward becomes more connected and dense. We foresee more of these deals for smaller units outside of the main urban areas making sense for investors. 


We are seeing more residential projects that want to permit themselves as or like a hotel. There is some gray area with the rise of services like Airbnb and WhyHotel that can allow owners to operate as a short-term rental while they’re leasing up their building. Owners and investors are starting to take advantage of this. This is shifting how we design our projects. For instance, if we need to design for things like ADA bathrooms, which you would find in a hotel, we are starting to look at an earlier stage how we might design the spaces to be more flexible to do this.


How have you seen Opportunity Zone legislation affect your business? 


We have seen an increase in requests for test fits on properties that fall in Opportunity Zones. The market is starting to ask questions on sites and locations that they hadn’t previously. There are a lot of regulations that are being finalized and released in the near future that are going to help increase investor confidence to go forward in these Opportunity Zones, but it may be too early to see the fruit of the test fits in these sites. We are expecting to see more of this in 2020. 


How much of a focus do you place on possible future changes to the National Flood Insurance Program? 


We are looking more broadly at what is happening with the National Flood Insurance Program and what may happen in the future in terms of how we go about flood insurance regarding how much of it is subsidized by taxpayers. At some point, taxpayers are going to say that they do not want to be subsidizing flood insurance for landowners who may not be doing enough to protect their buildings. As risk starts to shift from insurance entities to owners, they are going to be asked what they are doing to make their building more resilient. What we are trying to do with our integrated team is to find solutions to this so we can go back to our clients and suggest to them what they need to do to mitigate this risk. 


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Miami Beach Welcomes Two New Hotel Developments to Usher in 2020

Miami Beach Welcomes Two New Hotel Developments to Usher in 2020

By: Sara Warden

2 min read January 2020 — Miami Beach’s hospitality industry entered 2020 with a bang, with two high-profile hotel openings. Both the Greystone development and the Hampton Inn at The Continental are refurbished versions of the Art Deco and Miami Modernist styles of the 1930s and 1940s, combined with a cool beachy chic that is synonymous with Miami Beach.


The Hampton Inn at the Continental was acquired by the Hampton by Hilton brand, which subsequently invested $25 million to give the hotel an overhaul to make it not only align with the brand but also to maintain the historic relevance of the building. 

“As renovation experts, we’re proud to present this completed project alongside Pebb Capital,” said Alan Waserstein, principal with LeaseFlorida, in a press release. “The historic component of this hotel, coupled with the Hampton by Hilton brand will make it a mainstay in Miami Beach’s hospitality scene.”

As well as the 100-room hotel, the development has embraced the multiuse concept that makes or breaks hotel chains. The ground floor will become the Piola restaurant, and future updates will incorporate a parking garage and retail space, according to the developers. 

This strategy has also been adopted by the Greystone Hotel in Miami Beach, which was opened for reservations this month. Conscious of the need to offer a more unique experience, the hotel is adult-only and eco-friendly, and offers a rooftop pool, mixology lounge and courtyard café. And although human babies may not be allowed, patrons should feel free to bring their furry four-legged babies (up to a maximum weight of 25lbs). 

There are 91 renovated guest rooms for most tastes and budgets with private decks and hot tubs (the Hot Tub Terrace Suites come in at over $600 per night). You can also interact with hotel facilities through your smartphone, including locking and unlocking the door, ordering room service and contacting the concierge through the hotel’s bespoke app. The Golden Gator basement speakeasy completes the lineup in a nod to the hotel’s 1930s roots. 

Vos Hospitality is the developer behind the $70 million renovation, which partnered with private investment group the B Group in 2018 to purchase the adjacent building on 20th Street, giving the development an impressive total 54,000-square-footprint.

“We will bring in an alternative to the area’s club scene,” said Vos hospitality owner James Vosotas to the Miami New Times. “We are catering to young-minded professionals with a nontraditional luxury of high-quality without the white glove. Everything has been upgraded cohesively so that locals and guests will have plenty to explore within the property.”


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Public-Private Partners Devise Future of Queen City

Public-Private Partners Devise Future of Queen City

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020In the last decade, Charlotte rose from the devastating effects of the Great Recession to become the 16th-most populous city in the United States. The Queen City has experienced continuous years of growth thanks to the diversification of its economy, its budding headquarters relocation culture, steady commercial and residential development, and its “cool” appeal favored by the young workforce moving to Charlotte and its surrounding region. As the city prepares for another decade of evolution, growth, and development, public and private partners have their eyes set on the year 2040. Several complementary plans are underway that will help guide the future of Center City, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for the next 20 years.

Spearheaded by nonprofit Charlotte Center City Partners, in partnership with the city and county, the “ALL IN 2040” plan aims to establish a new blueprint for the growth and development of Center City, an area that encompasses Uptown and South End. Simultaneously, the city of Charlotte is working on its 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which will guide the growth of Charlotte overall, while Mecklenburg County rewrites its Park and Recreation master plan.

Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, said the Queen City has a strong legacy of careful planning for long-term development. “We’ve had four decades of deliberate planning and this decade has really defined Charlotte,” Smith told Invest: Charlotte. “Charlotte has launched a new, renewed Center City vision for 2040, called the ‘ALL IN’ plan. This is a great opportunity for Charlotte to carry on its legacy of planning. This is a 50-year tradition of creating these blueprints, each time looking several decades ahead, but renewing that vision every 10 years. This provides us with an opportunity to listen to our community, and to bring subject-matter experts in to help us understand some of the best practices around the world,” he said.


Much of the successful growth and development in Charlotte that occurred in the past decade was a result of strong public-private partnerships, which the “ALL IN 2040” plan will continue to develop and strengthen. “The plans and projects are co-created and co-owned with the private sector. In Charlotte over the last 50 years, we’ve had the public sector making transformative, shaping, stimulating investments in infrastructure, and the private sector responding in a collaborative way,” Smith said.


Infrastructure will be a strong focus of the “ALL IN 2040” plan, as well as the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan. “With the growth we have, we know we have to invest in transportation,” Smith said. Both plans account for major transit expansions to the city’s rapid bus transit and light rail systems. “All that infrastructure development is really needed as the city is booming with construction on the residential, office and hospitality fronts. Right now, there are almost 2.2 million square feet of office space under construction. Of that, there are about 700,000 square feet in South End, and more in Uptown. This is not speculative; there is a lot of pre-leased space in South End. As a matter of fact, about 90% of what’s under construction is pre-leased. It provides us with great confidence,” he said.


The “ALL IN 2040” plan and similar city and county efforts are meant to complement one another. Throughout 2020, residents are encouraged to attend public engagement sessions where they can give their input regarding the future of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. 

By the end of the process, a final draft will be created that will eventually head to the city council for approval and implementation.


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Spotlight On: Michael Feuerman, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Berger Commercial Realty

Spotlight On: Michael Feuerman, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Berger Commercial Realty

By: Max Crampton-Thomas 

2 min read January 2020 — The commercial real estate market in Palm Beach County has drawn major interest and investment over the past several years. In 2019, the market has remained strong and looks to remain steadfast on this positive track into 2020. Invest: spoke with Michael Feuerman, senior vice president and managing director for Berger Commercial Realty’s Palm Beach Office, about what he has observed in the market over the last year and why the region has become so attractive for development in the commercial real estate space. 


What were the company’s highlights from the past year? 


The last year has been productive for us. We hired two new brokers, one in Broward and one in Palm Beach, and we’re continuing to add to our portfolio. Right now we have about 7.5 million square feet of commercial property under management, and roughly 6.5 million square feet listed.


What makes this region a compelling area for investment?


South Florida in general is a cosmopolitan region. In Palm Beach County, we have a population close to 1.5 million. The workforce is just under half of that. That’s a good population size with a solid workforce. Palm Beach also has a substantial office market at around 55.6 million square feet and an industrial market around 62 million square feet, but our rents are lower than our neighbors to the south.


In which sectors are you seeing the most growth in Palm Beach County? 


The medical industry has grown substantially in the Palm Beach area and as a result, many of my clients are in the healthcare sector and looking to expand their footprint. Another trend we’re seeing is that office users are needing more efficient spaces, or smaller office spaces that can fit the same or more people comfortably. Because these are usually the same buildings with the same structural footprint, parking has become a challenge. Rideshares, autonomous vehicles, public transportation and parking decks are all floated as possible solutions for this.


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Spotlight On: Sean Beuche, Regional Manager, Marcus & Millichap

Spotlight On: Sean Beuche, Regional Manager, Marcus & Millichap

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read December 2019 — 2019 was a steady year for Philadelphia’s commercial real estate. The market’s affordability, the city’s position as a logistics hub and its attractive environment for startups has driven strong demand. One of the areas seeing a high amount of activity is King of Prussia. Commercial real estate firm Marcus & Millichap recently relocated to the area, attracted by the growth in the region. Regional Manager Sean Beuche discussed with the Invest: team the neighborhoods seeing the most growth in commercial real estate and his outlook for the sector as we enter 2020. 

Marcus & Millichap relocated its Wynnewood location to King of Prussia. What makes that community attractive?

This relocation highlights our commitment to the area and our optimism about the local economy. The construction and new development activity going on in the King of Prussia market is very attractive. Numerous businesses and baby boomers are moving to the area, where there is more land available, beautiful housing stock, good school districts and less traffic congestion.  King of Prussia is a nexus of a variety of different interstates and that strategic location amid emerging growth and development is much more desirable for us. In addition, we are expanding in a nicer Class A office space that provides our clients and agents with a much brighter and enjoyable place to do business.


Which areas are the fastest-growing for commercial real estate in Philadelphia?

We’re seeing fast appreciation in the Point Breeze market, while Fishtown and Kensington have been hot for some time. We are also seeing numerous investments in areas further along the Main Line region. The Lehigh Valley and Central PA markets are both driving a lot of new investors into Pennsylvania. As the yields continue to deliver in some of these secondary and tertiary markets, investors want to move outside of areas where they’re getting squeezed by some popularity. There is a bit of a ripple effect being created by the economy being strong for a long time, and many of the investments that have been made or taken in these core markets are pushing investors further out. 


What is your outlook for Philadelphia’s real estate sector over the next 12-18 months?


The outlook is positive. There is uncertainty from a political standpoint, we are dealing with some of the trade wars and we are very interested in seeing where that shakes out. We focus on private and middle market clients and, in times of uncertainty, we provide them with market research about existing opportunities. From an income standpoint, rents in the Center City market and many of our urban infill markets are pushed up, and we would need to see some relevant margin changes in household income to afford a greater rent increase. Our clients are seeing strong fundamentals in the main groups that we focus on, which are multifamily, industrial, office and retail. As that financing loosens up and remains affordable, deals are very quickly moving off our shelves and into the hands of investors.


To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Marcus & Millichap: https://www.marcusmillichap.com/ 


Spotlight On: William Reichel, President, Reichel Realty & Investments

Spotlight On: William Reichel, President, Reichel Realty & Investments

By: Max Crampton-Thomas 

2 min read December 2019 — The real estate market in Palm Beach County and South Florida is one that is marked with ebbs and flows, so it takes real market knowledge to be able to successfully navigate it. Invest: spoke with local market expert William Reichel, president of Reichel Realty & Investments, on all things related to commercial real estate in the county. He spoke of embracing the current regulatory environment as opposed to holding out hope it will change, his outlook for the real estate market and some significant emerging trends in the industry. 


 What challenges does Palm Beach County present in terms of the commercial real estate sector? 

Generally speaking, Palm Beach County is very pro-business, but it presents challenges as well for the commercial real estate sector. So much of business growth is dependent upon the process, and the ability to deal with the complexities, various codes and government agencies within the county and its 39 municipalities. 

I had a partner who would say, “It’s harder than it used to be, but it’s easier than it’s going to be.” That means it’s important to embrace the current regulatory environment rather than holding off in hopes it may change. We focus our 30-plus years of commercial real estate experience in this market on navigating the challenges for clients, which includes knowing which professionals to utilize in the approval process depending on where in the county the project is located. 

What do you predict for the next year in the real estate market? 

The real estate market in Palm Beach County will continue to grow, and I don’t see anything stopping it. While there will be ebbs and flows, there’s a lot of capital and tremendous wealth in the area that is driving the market. As a broker, we get paid when the transaction is completed, so we are incentivized to be engaged in the whole process, to make sure that it goes smoothly, is done properly and is as timely as possible. 

What emerging trends have you observed over the last year and how have these affected demand on the market? 

One of the large, emerging trends weve seen in commercial real estate is shared office space, which has become a national phenomenon, and it’s growing here in Palm Beach County. Another trend we‘re seeing is growth of health- and fitness-related facilities that aren’t just gyms but also incorporate other modalities such as yoga, recovery, saunas and more. As the baby boomer generation gets older, they want a quality of health and fitness, which includes exercise as well as recovery. We’re seeing an influx of those types of prospects, which we believe is a terrific fit in this market, given the demographics with significant wealth, and who are willing to spend money on their health. 

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Spotlight on: Nicholas Haines, CEO, Bromley Companies

Spotlight on: Nicholas Haines, CEO, Bromley Companies

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

The future of Tampa Bay is developing in front of our very eyes and there are a few select developers making this vision come to life. Real estate developer Bromley Companies broke ground in mid-2019 on its ambitious Midtown Tampa project. Company CEO Nicholas Haines discussed the importance of incorporating new tendencies, such as a pedestrian-focused design, and the challenges that both a proper mix of high-end and affordable housing present for the city.


What’s the status of the Midtown Tampa project?

We broke ground on the Midtown project in May 2019 and we are well under construction for the first phase. There are 11 buildings going up at the same time: three residential, two office buildings, and several retail, including a Whole Food Kitchen and True Food Kitchen, both of which are significant expansions in the market. There is also a 1,000-car parking garage that is already topped out, and we’re right on schedule. The goal is to finish it by the 2021 Super Bowl, which will be held here in Tampa Bay just a couple miles up the street. 

A lot of what we are doing now is spending a tremendous amount of time on the finishing touches of the common-space designs that create community. It is about creating an imaginative destination not just for the people working, living and shopping here, but for the neighborhood by adding public art and a feel for the place, all the things that make a space interesting and dynamic. We are building a city within a city — an entirely new district. 

What business trends are you keeping an eye on as you go ahead with this development?

Accessibility and pedestrian-friendliness. I just read about a development in Arizona, with 1,000 residential units and no parking. That is a bold thing for a non-superurban area. What we are trying to do is create one of the first, pedestrian-first mindset versus car-first developments in Tampa Bay and Florida. All the streets inside the development are private, which is a really interesting feature of Midtown Tampa. We are not constrained by the city’s rules regarding traffic and street design. For a big event like the Super Bowl, we can close the streets so that all the cars access Midtown from the periphery.

We have designed curbless sidewalks, for example, and dedicated ride-share drop-off areas. The city of Tampa is working on a number of mass transit initiatives and we are working to accommodate a mass transit stop on one of our main corridors. People are going to live, work and shop here because they want to wake up, go to a coffee shop, walk their dog at the dog park, go shopping at Whole Foods, have a drink at the hotel rooftop bar, and maybe work at one of the office buildings. They’ll also be able to ride a bike path that connects from Midtown Tampa to the Greenway Trail System, from Tampa to St. Petersburg, by crossing a 10-lane bridge at Dale Mabry.

Are there any other areas that you see as a hotspot or active as real estate developments for the moment? 

Yes, it’s really exploding. The Heights area is really interesting. St. Petersburg is incredibly exciting and a great example of a vibrant, urban place with the interplay between food and art. We are talking about a city that has transformed itself over 10 years in terms of the energy there. 

What is your outlook for the Tampa Bay region, and how do you see the region addressing its challenges? 

Regarding sustainability, it is really important to get the mix right between higher-end housing like we are building here and affordable housing. There’s a need to provide better incentives for the private sector to offer that kind of housing. You can only do so much as a city if everyone is building luxury apartments. It is an issue for all cities, but Tampa today does not have a cohesive development and zoning policy to encourage that. Tampa is still a very affordable place on a relative basis, but that affordability gap is narrowing. People who have been living here for a long time with a moderate income are being pushed further and further away from the urban core. 

Transportation is a huge thing too. In some ways, advances in mass transportation technology might help Tampa. The city might not have done it in the past, but in some ways that might not be the worst thing. Tampa might be able to take advantage of innovations in technology like self-driving buses to implement something that is very forward thinking, instead of having to put up the heavy infrastructure and the massive amounts of capital for a light rail system.

To learn more about our interviewee visit: