Florida is in the midst of an aviation renaissance

Florida is in the midst of an aviation renaissance

By: Beatrice Silva 

2 min read September 2020 — Despite a dismal year for the aviation industry, Orlando Melbourne International Airport is experiencing a period of exponential growth. Companies such as Made in Space and Aerion Supersonic have announced plans to relocate their headquarters to central Florida, which will help bring hundreds of jobs to the region. 

Aerion Supersonic plans to relocate its headquarters from Reno, Nevada, to Melbourne, Florida. The American aircraft manufacturer received a substantial investment from Space Florida that will help bring an estimated 675 jobs to the region over the next six years. Aerion Supersonic and Space Florida also have plans to build a $300-million state-of-the-art campus at Melbourne International Airport. Located on 60 acres of undeveloped property at the northwest corner of the airport, Aerion Park will boast a center for research along with facilities for manufacturing, design and production. 

The AS2, a supersonic business jet, will be the first aircraft manufactured at Aerion Park. Production of this ultrafast fleet is scheduled to begin in 2023. “Our engineers call it science, but we call it time travel,” Aerion said in a tweet. “Why? At the speed of 1,000 MPH, we’re taking you from JFK to Sydney in 13 hours and 43 minutes instead of 18 hours and 6 minutes. Use those hours with your family instead.” 

Florida is in the midst of an aviation renaissance. Despite an unsettling year, the industry has remained resilient. Space Florida has high hopes that the creation of Aerion Park will help captivate other aviation and aerospace corporations to the area, which will only bring more exploration and innovation to the region. 

“This is a truly transformational project for Florida that changes the game for high-speed air transportation as well as for advanced aerospace manufacturing in the state,” Frank DiBello, president and CEO of Space Florida, told AINonline. “The decision to locate design, engineering, and manufacturing of this technologically advanced supersonic flight vehicle here in Florida is a testament to the growing strength and global recognition of the importance of Florida as a world-leading aerospace state.”

Aerion Supersonic isn’t the only corporation that has received investments from Space Florida to help relocate its operations to the Sunshine State. Earlier this year, Made In Space, announced its decision to move its headquarters from Mountain View California to Jacksonville. The engineering company specializes in the manufacturing of three-dimensional printers for use in microgravity.

“Relocating our headquarters to Jacksonville is a strategic step to position the company for long-term growth,” Andrew Rush, Made In Space president and CEO, said in a statement. “By expanding our presence in Florida, we can leverage a skilled aerospace workforce, large-scale infrastructure to support our growth, and key strategic partners like Space Florida that will accelerate our momentum as we continue to develop world-class space technology.”

Bucs primed for success this year in the Bay

Bucs primed for success this year in the Bay

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read September 2020 There were points this summer where it seemed impossible to fathom how the National Football League would be able to reorganize itself to work in a pandemic landscape. Fast forward to present day and the league has been able to return in a resounding fashion, with telecasts like Week 1’s New Orleans Saints versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attracting an average audience of 25.85 million viewers, which FOX credited as its most watched telecast since Super Bowl LIV in February 2020. And while this game may have ended in a loss for the Buccaneers, there is a lot to be excited about in Tampa Bay for this upcoming season on and off the field. 

March 2020 marked a momentous moment for longtime fans of the Bucs when the announcement was made that six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady would be taking his talents to Tampa Bay. Brady’s Buccaneers jersey quickly became the league’s highest selling football jersey prior to the start of the 2020 season. With Brady at the helm, it wasn’t long before multiple big name free agents fixed their sights on the Bucs franchise and were quickly added to the roster, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebacker Jason Pierre Paul, running back LeSean McCoy and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The addition of Tom Brady and increased talent level on the overall team has ultimately resulted in financial benefits as well. The Tampa Bay franchise, which in 2018 was valued at an estimated $2 billion, is now worth an estimated $2.3 billion.  

This reinvigorated roster has also reignited the fanbase for Tampa Bay’s football team who have not seen a postseason victory or success since their sole Super Bowl win in 2002. The team, which ranked 30th in fan attendance in 2019 with an average of 51,898, now faces a new challenge, but this time, it’s not due to lack of ticket sales. Although the return of football may have returned some sense of normalcy to people’s daily lives, there are still the constant reminders of the current pandemic that the world finds itself in. For football, one of those reminders is the limited capacity of fans allowed at stadiums across the league. The Bucs, who saw a surge in season tickets sales for this season, have now also had to come to terms with what these crowd restrictions will mean for the near-term future. This has resulted in the team making the decision to hold their first two home games with no fans in attendance, much to the dismay of Gov. Ron DeSantis who hoped these games would serve as an example of how Tampa Bay is prepared to host this season’s Super Bowl. 

“I really want to be able to show that Tampa is going to be a great place to host the Super Bowl,” DeSantis told the Tampa Bay Times. “Showing this community is ready to host a great Super Bowl, having some fans there would’ve been a good first step. It’s not where we need to be.” The Bucs are currently looking toward a tentative reintroduction of some fans to Raymond James Stadium in their game against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 18.

Nonetheless, residents of Tampa Bay can take comfort in knowing that the region they call home will also be home to this year’s Super Bowl. Tampa Bay has, seemingly overnight, become one of the football meccas in the nation. 

Face Off: Adaptability is par for the course for these development leaders

Face Off: Adaptability is par for the course for these development leaders

By: Max Crampton Thomas

Patrick Lee

Andrew Burnett

3 min read August 2020 Although there have been major roadblocks stemming from the pandemic that have created some slowdown, development in South Florida has continued to show a steadfast resilience and adaptability as projects around the region have remained on a path toward completion. For companies within the construction and development sectors, there is an understanding that being adaptable to the communities’ changing needs is just par for the course. While the future may be uncertain, it’s important to keep a cautiously optimistic attitude. Invest: spoke with both Shorecrest Construction President Patrick Lee and Senior Principal for Stantec Andrew Burnett about their companies’ major developmental successes over the last year, the constantly shifting industry landscape and their best estimations of what the future may hold. 

What are some recent landmarks for your business in the Miami-Dade region? 

Patrick Lee: The main markets Shorecrest Construction focuses on are hospitality, boutique commercial and luxury residential. In the last few years, all of these markets have been extremely strong. We just completed the renovation of the Soho Beach House in Miami Beach, which included the refreshment of guestrooms and suites, bar areas and gym to keep guests engaged and coming back. In luxury residential, a mainstay market for us, we build high-end homes on the water and complete condo interiors in some of the most prominent South Florida neighborhoods. Shorecrest works closely with well-known architects and designers to bring their concepts to life. We just finished the penthouse at the Four Seasons Surf Club designed by Holly Hunt. In the last few years, we have gotten a stronger foothold in those markets.

Andrew Burnett: Recent landmark projects in full swing include Wynwood Square, a 12-story mixed-use facility that includes apartments and retail space; the 30-story YotelPAD Miami condo and hotel project under construction; and a 43-story Luma tower in Miami’s Worldcenter. And there are a lot of new projects to be announced soon and currently coming on board. Each asset within our portfolio contributes to our growth in the creative services space, beyond architecture and interior design, but also engineering and resilience. We think beyond traditional physical traits and focus on how our vast team builds our communities and what we create so there is continuity in our lives and the spaces we inhabit and to ensure that we protect diversity and creative thinking. We call it cultural resilience. 

Have you seen more cognizant efforts toward building for the future with sustainability in mind? 

Lee:  From a climate change perspective, we have been building at a higher elevation, which has been mostly code-driven. Having said that, we have worked on projects where our client has voluntarily built higher than the codes require. Miami Beach has been extremely aggressive in its efforts to raise sea walls to deal with issues stemming from sea level rise. As far as our clients, everybody is technologically savvy, so a lot of the smart home amenities that were reserved for the elite level of homes are becoming a more common feature in homes. We find a lot of our younger clients, in particular, prefer that kind of addition.

Burnett: There is a significant level of agreement across the industry related to what we are facing and where we need to go. It is only a matter of how and there are varying perspectives to harness. Our government agencies, utilities, partners, clients, insurance agencies and lenders all commonly understand the need to mitigate prevalent risks and maintain our quality of life. There is power in the collective movement and I am optimistic about our future and path. 

What does the rest of the year look like for your company?

Lee: Shorecrest has a couple of projects that will still happen as well as some ongoing projects that are still running, including a condominium at the Continuum South Beach and several single-family residences in South Florida. We have two luxury clubs and restaurants right on Miami Beach and the owners of those projects are still very bullish on the construction. I think there will be more of an influx of people who have been coming into Miami from the Northeast because they no longer want to live in such dense cities and prefer to live in a place like Florida. I predict that there will be a recovery in Miami relatively quickly. 

Burnett: We have been quite busy, which is a reflection of the busy private development market. Projects are moving forward and the entire development community is gearing up for when the play button is pressed. In 2009, during the H1N1 outbreak, we established a pandemic committee, granting us an effective way to respond quickly to the pandemic and set up a remote work setting. Fast forward to today: Our productivity levels have allowed us to meet established deadlines and keep projects moving forward, continuing business as usual. Our current outlook for 2021 does not project significant levels of interruption. We want to continue to support that in any way we can. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.stantec.com/en

https://shorecrestgc.com/

 

 

Adaptation, innovation are the new normal for legal professionals

Adaptation, innovation are the new normal for legal professionals

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read August 2020 In the span of just a couple of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted, in some form or fashion, every sector of the economy in the United States. In fact, Dori Foster-Morales, current president for the Florida Bar, was recently quoted as saying, “Everyone’s lives have changed, and anyone who says it hasn’t just doesn’t get it. I look at it like we’re in a tunnel, and we have to figure out a way to get out of it.” 

The idea of adaptation is nothing new for the legal sector as over the last decade it has seen an uptick in its professionals embracing the benefits newer technologies and innovations can bring to their operations. With the onslaught of challenges caused by the pandemic, it has become a necessity for legal professionals to quickly embrace innovation and truly adapt to an uncertain landscape. 

One of the most significant changes for legal professionals, and most business sectors for that matter, was the swift adaptation that had to happen to a work from home environment. While some in the legal world may have viewed this as just a temporary measure during this time of pandemic, the reality is beginning to set in that this may not be just a temporary solution for some. In an article posted by Law.com, it discusses how the idea of remote work as it pertains to the legal profession may have seemed like a foreign concept even a year ago but now has become a viable and workable option for the future thanks to technology platforms like Zoom. Video conferencing platforms have quickly become the norm for legal teams to collaborate, communicate and in some cases even conduct depositions using this technology. Technologies like Docusign, which had already been in use by the legal world, have expanded their solutions to include options like online notarization. While this technology had been available prior to COVID-19, the forced adaptation caused by work from home measures has seen the legal sector begin a transformation that, prior to the pandemic, may have taken years and is now coming to fruition in mere months. 

Technological embrace has not been the only adaptation from the legal community, as this time has given firms the opportunity to evaluate their teams, understand their clients’ changing needs and ultimately refocus some of their practice groups to engage and prepare to handle issues stemming from the pandemic. In an interview with Abovethelaw.com, Mark W. Brennan, lead innovation partner at Hogan Lovells, spoke on this type of adaptation as well as the opportunity to continue to strengthen communication efforts between a firm and its clients. “Communication throughout this pandemic is absolutely critical — and so is the strength of your culture,” Brennan said. “We are keeping a steady flow of information to our clients and our people to explain how our response is evolving. These efforts include keeping our clients informed on the latest developments affecting their business, as well as keeping our people informed about our firm and ways to stay safe.”

In the Tampa Bay region, a variety of firms have taken heed of this opportunity for adaptation, with some already refocusing parts of their practice to prepare for what they are imagining could be an influx of demand for legal services as it pertains to bankruptcy, business restructurings, M&A activity and other challenges associated with the pandemic. 

To learn more about how the legal sector is adapting to this changing environment, register now for the Invest: Tampa Bay 2020 Virtual Launch Conference. The conference, which takes place on Aug. 20 at 11:30 a.m., will feature three robust panels, including a legal panel moderated by Kevin Johnson, managing partner of Johnson Jackson, with panelists Marie Tomassi, managing shareholder and president of Trenam Law; Michael Lundy, managing shareholder of Older, Lundy and Alvarez; Bill Schifino, managing partner of Gunster; and Alan Higbee, managing partner of Shutts & Bowen. 

 

To learn more, visit:
 
Face Off: Business schools tackle the challenges in a changed education landscape

Face Off: Business schools tackle the challenges in a changed education landscape

By: Max Crampton Thomas

4 min read July 2020 Higher education in Miami is using the COVID-19 crisis to come out stronger on the other end. John Quelch, dean of the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School, discusses what that means and also talks about the post-pandemic landscape for higher education in an interview with Invest:. Florida International University (FIU) College of Business dean Joanne Li also spoke with Invest:, touching on the growing importance of online education, and what makes its new DBA program a game-changer.

How has your school continued to sustain growth in enrollment and influence?

John Quelch: The increasing strength of the University of Miami brand is one factor. We are witnessing a sizable surge in 2020 undergraduate enrollments at the university level and at the school. A second factor is the vote of confidence provided by the $100-million naming gift we received from Patti and Allan Herbert last year. Third is the global recognition and attractiveness of Miami as a place to study plus our beautiful, spacious and self-contained Coral Gables campus. Fourth, from a health and safety perspective, many parents see our campus as preferable to the congested, urban campuses of many universities in the Northeast.

 Most important though is the quality and dedication of our research and teaching faculty, and the fact that we offer more degree programs that are in the sweet spot of what people are looking for. Our sustainable business MS degree is seeing a 25% enrollment increase for 2020. No matter the industry, everyone agrees that technology and analytics are increasingly important for success. Our MS in business analytics degree, recently ranked No. 8 in the world alongside Duke, is able to place almost all its students in capstone projects, internships or full-time employment, even in this challenging environment. In addition to our redesigned full-time MBA, another important degree program is our MS in finance, which supplies a flow of talent to the wealth management, private equity and venture capital firms coming into the Miami area.

How have you approached online education?

Joanne Li:  Eight or nine months prior to COVID-19, FIU Business expanded its offering strategically and methodically. By spring 2021, FIU Business will offer 10 online programs that have a substantial market space. FIU was one of the first adopters of online education, which began more than two decades ago. Now, we see growing demand for this kind of degree, especially as FIU has been diversifying its student population more and more. As a state university, we are expected to offer degrees aligned with market needs.

On an undergraduate level, we are the leader among all colleges within FIU in providing online education; of all the courses we offer, 40% are considered online education. The goal is to allow a more agile learning model for the student and to meet the student’s needs. Most of our student body is a 21st century workforce, who work or take internships while studying. 

We launched our Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in 2018. We are one of only three state universities in Florida offering this degree. This program targets candidates who already made it to a C-Suite level and yearn for higher levels of business education. Since we accepted our first cohort, the program has been extremely successful, and it is a new trend for business education. Many universities across the globe have been talking about this need but are unsure about implementation. Before COVID-19, FIU Business had already become even more attuned to the business environment and needs of the candidate.

This model is often perceived as a direct competitor for many often expensive and time-consuming full-time MBA programs, especially for candidates who already have been integrated into the working world. The DBA also feeds into this new trend of a stackable, specialized master’s degree. It is a hybrid model that allows students to continue with their careers while studying. Our responses have been timely and position the college to pivot and prepare for the next wave of demand in the market.

What impact will the pandemic have on the education sector or on your institution in the near term? 

Quelch: Overall, I expect many colleges and smaller universities to be financially challenged and forced to merge or go out of business. The University of Miami is scheduled to open on Aug. 17, 2020. We are fortunate and reassured to have a global public health expert as president of the University of Miami. To navigate the current challenges, any university needs to see a high level of community commitment from students, faculty and staff. All of us are going to have to wear masks, follow physical distancing guidelines, be disciplined and set a good example.  We are confident that the strength of the University of Miami community is such that people will endure personal inconvenience for the common good.

Li: By Aug. 24, FIU is scheduled to start repopulating the campus with the four adapted teaching modalities: face to face, online, hybrid and synchronized remote learning, which was introduced in March. FIU Business set out four guiding principles in May. The first is that we will transition our constituency back to normalcy to the best of our ability. The second is that we will honor the teaching modality as we marketed and advertised it, as far as we can. Students can choose to rotate from face-to-face to remote or they can be designated as a remote student through a hybrid model or they can select a fully online format. The third principle is maintaining the use of the classroom and we will take responsibility for making sure that students always have the right tools. The last principle is that we will always consider alternative testing as a result of this pandemic. Certainly, we are still in a very fluid situation but having a plan allows us to prepare for scenarios.

It is important that we retain students and they stay in school. This is a very difficult time for students as many of them or members of their families lost their jobs. To survive this lockdown, everybody has to chip in, and we allocated some of our CARES Act funds to provide financial support.

How do you balance face-to-face education with technology and virtual learning and what does this mean for higher education?

Quelch: The need to switch to virtual teaching to deliver our spring semester courses was not as disruptive as I expected. We all pulled together and did pretty well, though we must improve our online teaching skills further as student expectations will be higher when we reconvene in the fall. We completed our tenure-track hiring early in the year so we will have five new tenure-track professors joining us in the fall.

The area where we are having to do the most reinvention is non-degree executive education. We had approximately $1 million worth in contracts that had to be postponed. We are exploring how to move from a 100% face-to-face delivery proposition to a value-added proposition that includes a more blended solution, often with modular engagement. We are breaking programs into bite-sized learning modules that can be delivered virtually over a week, a month or a couple of months.

Regarding our graduate and undergraduate programs, the challenge as we move into the next semester is to figure out how to best leverage our physical space on campus to maximize the percentage of course delivery that can be face-to-face. We hope to deliver a hybrid solution, balancing face-to-face and online modalities, dividing classes into subgroups to insure physical distancing. We have not seen reductions in applications; in fact, at the graduate level, we have seen a strong uptick, particularly in applications to our online and full-time MBA programs.

Li: We conducted a student survey during the COVID-19 changes, asking about home and education arrangements. Many said they would like to come back and interact with their professors and fellow classmates. This means we have to be better in being learner centric. We need to ensure student learning takes place and student success is achievable regardless of the delivery method. We can do this by making the environment a lot more conducive for the learner. We need to make discussions meaningful on an online platform. At FIU Business, we intend to accommodate students who prefer to show up in person as well as those who want to remain remote. We will vastly implement technology, both hardware and software, to encourage the interactions. The technology is not new, but the teaching pedagogy and implementation are. Now, there is no excuse. We cannot unlearn the lockdown, so we may as well make ourselves very good at adapting. This is a defining moment for higher education.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://business.fiu.edu/

 

https://www.bus.miami.edu/

 

 

Making the right financial choices in economic uncertainty

Making the right financial choices in economic uncertainty

By: Max Crampton Thomas

2 min read July 2020 To say the least, the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of an unexpected wildfire to peoples’ health and financial stability. While the onus can’t be placed on the general public for not being prepared for something they didn’t expect, the past four months have proven that personal prosperity in the future will rely on preparing for the worst and expecting the unexpected. Coming on the heels of President Trump’s most recent address on the COVID-19 pandemic where he appeared to change tack and was quoted as saying, “It will get worse before it gets better,” it has never been more vital for individuals to make sound financial decisions as they are now faced with an economically uncertain future. Invest: explores some of the best practices for safe-guarding personal finances in the current economic climate.

 

Establish a relationship with your banking institution

There was a time when having an established relationship with your bank and a banker was a common practice, whether it was personal or business-related. Fast forward to 2020 and what was once commonplace has become more of a rarity, especially as it pertains to people’s personal finances. This in large part due to the ease of fintech and mobile banking technologies that have eliminated the need to visit a brick and mortar banking branch. Now with certain aspects of the CARES Act reaching their deadlines with no extension currently in place, like the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments that are scheduled to run out this week, it would be advisable to visit your banking institution and continue to foster that relationship. If you don’t have a bank for your personal finances, now is as good a time as any to explore the variety of banking options available in the Tampa Bay region and find one that will best suit your personal financial needs. 

Create a budget and stick to it 

According to Forbes, “about half of Americans reported they had three months of expenses in savings for emergencies” while almost “40% said they would struggle to cover a $400 expense in cash.” In times of economic growth and prosperity, it is always advisable to establish a budget that allows you to tuck away some money in the case of unforeseen circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most significant unexpected circumstance in recent years. For those who did not already have an established budget prior to the pandemic, the last four months may have been quite difficult to push through. With no end date on the horizon for this crisis, it is now crucial to establish a livable budget with an emphasis on intentional spending and a more frugal lifestyle. 

Find ways to cut back unneeded expenses

Before COVID-19, Tampa Bay was in line for another record-breaking year in terms of economic growth, which set a positive tone that permeated throughout the local community and people’s spending habits. Now faced with a year of economic pullback, it is time to reassess how you are spending your money and find the areas where you can cut back. An article by Forbes discusses understanding your “spending triggers” and addressing them head on. This can be in the form of recognizing that you don’t need to spend money on the daily coffee from your local coffee shop and instead brew your own at home, or stopping a habit of needless spending on e-commerce hubs stemming from boredom. One of the easiest expenses to cut back on is dining out and takeout. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reported that in 2018, consumers spent an annual average of $3,459 on these options. With a large majority of businesses still offering work from home to their employees, it is the perfect time to sharpen those culinary skills. 

Continue to reinvest in yourself

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unemployment rate of 10.4% for the state of Florida in June 2020. This number can be directly attributed to the fallout from the economic challenges that the pandemic has presented to all business sectors. While there is no way to 100% recession-proof yourself as it pertains to job security, and ultimately financial security, you can continue to make yourself as valuable an asset as possible by strengthening your skill sets and acquiring new ones. This may be in the form of continuing education, picking up a new skill set in your free time or even just pushing yourself the extra mile at your job. There is no way to be immune from layoffs and furloughs, but reinvesting in yourself and your work can make that decision a lot harder for a company if it ever comes time. 

These practices toward making sound financial decisions don’t just apply to individuals, as most companies have also applied these ideas to their operations in order to acclimate to the current economic conditions. For example, a variety of businesses in the region have leveraged their relationships with their banking institutions to help them with PPP loan applications and acquiring any additional funding that is available to them. Businesses have reorganized their budgets and found ways to cut back unneeded expenses, which unfortunately has sometimes come in the form of laying off portions of their workforce. Finally, almost every business has had to reinvest in their operations and in some ways reinvent themselves to continue on through these unprecedented times. 

To learn more about making the right financial choices in this economic uncertainty as it pertains to your business or personal well-being, register now for the Invest: Tampa Bay 2020 Virtual Launch Conference! The conference, which takes place on Aug. 20 at 11:30 a.m., will feature three robust panels including a banking and finance panel moderated by Rita Lowman, president of Pilot Bank, with panelists Gregory Kadet, managing director of UBS Wealth Management; Terry Igo, CEO of Tampa Bay Trust Company; Scott Perry, chairman and CEO of AmeriLife Group; and Travis Jennings, CEO of Finance Cape. 

If ever there was a time to seriously look at your finances and improve your financial standing, it’s now. Get started by registering to access these valuable insights.

Cruise industry sailing into unknown waters due to pandemic

Cruise industry sailing into unknown waters due to pandemic

By: Max Crampton Thomas

2 Min read July 2020 This year has been nothing short of a disaster for the cruise industry, and for PortMiami this has presented some major challenges. Coming into 2020, expectations could not have been higher for the “Cruise Capital of the World” as it came off a record cruise year, reporting a 22% increase in cruise passenger totals for the 12-month period that ended on Sept. 30, 2019. With multiple port terminal expansion projects on the horizon and continued strong support from the county, it appeared as though the sky was the limit for the cruise industry in Miami-Dade. 

 

This all rapidly changed as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread throughout Florida, severely impacting the local community and economy of Miami-Dade County. On March 14, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the “No Sail Order,” preventing all cruise ships in the United States from normal cruising operations. This order has since been extended, first in April 2020 and most recently on July 16. Now with the order in effect until at least Oct. 1, 2020, the once bright outlook for Miami-Dade’s cruise industry now looks dark. 

Due to the challenges presented by the pandemic and with the industry still on hold, some South Florida-based cruise organizations are rethinking their business strategies and expansion plans. One such company is the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, which announced on July 16 that it was launching an underwritten public offering of $250 million worth of ordinary shares. As reported by Bizjournals, the net proceeds from the offering would be used for general corporate purposes. 

While NCL is offering shares in its company, other cruise organizations are working with the county to look at restrategizing terminal expansion and development plans at PortMiami. After a vote on July 14 by the Miami-Dade County Tourism and the Ports Committee, plans were set in motion to negotiate a revised scope of work for two terminal projects at PortMiami. One of these terminal projects is that of Broward-based MSC Cruises, which would look to benefit from these negotiations as an extended timeline would allow it more time to secure the proper funding for its $300-million project. The other project under discussion in these negotiations is the Terminal V project at PortMiami belonging to Virgin Voyages. The company, in collaboration with the county, is working toward finding a way to reduce the cost of the $179-million project. 

Although the cruise industry may be at a standstill, PortMiami is weathering the economic storm of the pandemic due in large part to cargo and trade business. While it prepares for the eventual return of the cruise industry, the port and county have continued to support these organizations in a variety of ways. On March 13, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that PortMiami would be waiving berth fees for 30 days, which has continued to be extended throughout the pandemic. The Miami-Dade County mayor has remained steadfast on the county’s support of the cruise industry. “Our partnership with the cruise industry is stronger than ever, and we will continue to offer our support,” Mayor Gimenez was quoted as saying. 

 

 

Face Off: Miami-Dade ripe with opportunity

Face Off: Miami-Dade ripe with opportunity

By: Max Crampton Thomas

4 min read July 2020 While the ongoing pandemic has been nothing short of a gut punch to what was set up to be another monumental year for economic growth, real estate development and investment has continued to adapt and move forward through a somewhat uncertain landscape. Invest: recently spoke with two Miami-Based leaders within these spaces. Real estate investor Jeronimo Hirschfeld, chairman, founder and CEO of One Real Estate Investment (OREI), and commercial real estate developer Bernardo Rieber, president and CEO of Rieber Developments, both spoke to the immediate effect and changes the pandemic has created for their projects and industry, as well as why they continue to believe in the Miami-Dade marketplace regardless of the roadblocks thrown up by COVID-19. 

What advantages does the Miami marketplace offer to your business operations?

Bernardo Rieber: I think that Miami is one of the greatest cities in the world. I travel a lot, especially in recent years, and it is hard to find a city like Miami where everything works. It’s new, beautiful, with great weather most of the year. People are amazing, and the properties in general are still less expensive than in other major urban centers. The airport is one of the top in the nation and they have done a great job of expanding to meet the need. I think that Miami will continue to grow. Money will continue to be invested here.

In the commercial segment, I also see a strong market, for several reasons. In particular, more and more people are moving to South Florida. It might be because of low taxes, and the fact that it is becoming more of a global city, compared to 40 years ago when it was beaches and malls. Now, we are a culinary center, with new cultural centers, museums, a lot of great things happening. People move here from the East Coast, from South America and Europe. There are a lot of young professionals in areas such as Brickell. There is great demand for offices because a lot of international companies in the financial world are doing business here.

But there has also been a situation related to traffic, in which smaller municipalities, like Aventura, have been developing more commercial infrastructure to accommodate the people who live there and don’t want to commute into Downtown Miami. More offices are needed, and that’s fueled the market. In my particular case, as I am a developer of mostly medical spaces, I see Miami as a tremendous hub for medical tourism. I am right next to the Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, which is a level two trauma center, with 500 beds. I am finishing an extended stay hotel next door, and a total of 80,000 square feet of offices.

Jeronimo Hirschfeld:  In today’s market, especially in the asset class that OREI operates in, which is multifamily, I believe there are going to be many opportunities here. In previous years, there were a lot of developers and investors deploying money into these investments, but as more uncertainty surrounding the real estate sector becomes apparent, opportunities begin to arise for firms like One Real Estate Investment.  What we are seeing today is that these investors are now realizing that their strategy and their returns are not what they expected, so they are turning around and selling.

Bernardo Rieber

Jeronimo Hirschfeld

 

 

Multifamily assets are commonly tiered in A, B, C, and D categories based on the asset, location, and tenant base. In the market where I play, which is typically workforce housing in the B+ to C+ space, the assets tend to have a level of insulation from macro market drivers and economic factors. This is because when there’s a crisis and we see unemployment increase, many people begin to downsize to a living space that is more economically practical and feasible. So, when looking in multifamily real estate, you’ll see renters that were previously paying $4,000 in rent coming down to $3,000, and so on. Looking at the assets I invest in, the rents average between $750 and $1,200. These assets tend to perform in times of crisis because, as I mentioned, when people adjust their lifestyle, rent is usually a major expense that can be altered. As individuals who were once living in the Class A and B apartments begin to see a decrease in income, they will make the shift to a B or C class apartment. Ironically, I’ve seen the occupancy of my properties across the board tends to increase during a crisis between 1 to 2% because in addition to the individuals downsizing, many tenants who currently reside at our properties work blue collar jobs that aren’t drastically affected by a downturn. We feel very good about where we sit and what we are doing. Our competitive advantage is showcased through finding the right opportunity, taking advantage of the right deals and making sure we put the appropriate debt structure in place. Multifamily is an asset that sustains itself and performs very strongly during these times.

 

Where do you see the real estate market in Miami going over the next couple of years?

Rieber: We are mostly focused now on selling office condominiums in the medical sector, and there’s been a great response. We are sold out at our project Ivory 214 and we broke ground on our 12|12 Aventura mixed-use development in early 2020. We demolished the previous structure, prepared the land, started piling, and we are now about to start the foundations. We are on schedule to be up and running by the first quarter of 2022. Of course, since the COVID-19 situation began, we have had to adjust our sales process, but we continue to have interest in our offering and I expect to fully rebound.

Hirschfeld: In terms of neighborhoods, Wynwood is pretty hot, and you have nearby Allapattah, which is also a growing area with a lot of opportunities. It is still industrial, but as population and developments move up north, all these industrial neighborhoods will start changing into places where people are going to be living, playing and working. That’s what we saw with Wynwood. OREI is still very much in acquisition mode, as we are consistently sourcing new deals, while bringing in new equity groups and private investors who are interested in the multifamily space. 

How has the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic altered your developments at least for the near term?

Rieber: It’s been a shock from a business perspective. We are monitoring the situation daily. Of course, there have been ripple effects because Miami-Dade County’s building department closed, and you cannot call for inspections, which you need to continue building, and permits are delayed, but everyone is powering through and adjusting as best as possible during this unprecedented time. I truly believe that this short-term pain does not compare to the long-term potential of this community. 

Hirschfeld: (With  more people working from home in the future) there are a lot of things that we are implementing. We are implementing USB outlets in new projects, to make sure people can connect their devices directly. We are also implementing smart thermostats that you can control remotely through your phone, making it more efficient because you can set it up to emit minimal power every time you leave and to start cooling five, 10 minutes before you return to the apartment. In our Wynwood project, we have a large bike space at the street level.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

http://www.rieberdevelopments.com/

https://www.onerealestateinvestment.com/

Florida and Pennsylvania unemployment claims level off as economies slowly reopen

Florida and Pennsylvania unemployment claims level off as economies slowly reopen

By: Beatrice Silva 

3 min read June 2020 — As of June 5, most of Florida has taken the next step of reopening the economy that was devastated by COVID-19. Unemployment figures are starting to level off as businesses slowly start to open up again. On June 6, the U.S. Department of Labor saw its lowest figure for new unemployment claims since March 26. However, the sunshine state’s economy isn’t in the clear just yet. Florida has the fourth highest unemployment claims in the U.S. To make matters worse, some Floridans are still struggling to collect their unemployment benefits. 

 

 Since March 15, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has paid out $1.5 billion in state claims and another $4.6 billion in federal unemployment benefits. Approved applicants should be getting $600 per week from federal benefits plus the state’s additional $275 weekly benefits. Unfortunately, issues resulting from an influx of people filing for benefits has caused the Florida DEO’s website to crash on multiple occasions. On April 15, Gov. Ron DeSantis placed Jonathan Satter, Florida Department of Management Services secretary, in charge of fixing the state’s unemployment benefits system. As a result, a new mobile-friendly website was born. People can now submit an application on the new website if they don’t currently have an open unemployment benefits claim on file. 

 

Different markets were hit particularly hard by the COVID related economic slowdown. The transportation and hospitality sectors are expected to take the longest to get back on their feet.

“There are a couple of key industries that will be greatly impacted the longer this goes, especially tourism and real estate. On the positive side, there is a significant number of secondary markets in Florida. Traveling overseas will likely not be as popular in the next couple of years, speaking well for these secondary markets. Challenges do drive opportunities and developers might take cues from the latter. Hospitality and tourism will continue to suffer and will likely require continuous stimuli the longer this continues,” said Blain Heckaman, CEO for Kaufman Rossin in an interview with Invest: Miami. 

 

Florida isn’t the only state feeling economic pressure as a result of COVID-19. Northeastern regions of the United States that were hit particularly hard by the virus, like Pennsylvania and New York, have also started reopening nonessential businesses in an effort to jumpstart the economy. Since March 15, the Unemployment Compensation department has paid over $16.4 billion in state and federal unemployment compensation benefits, according to Pennsylvania’s government website. The state is also preparing to activate an unemployment program that would extend benefits for up to 13 more weeks for eligible individuals. The last time Pennsylvania initiated the extended benefits program was during the fallout from the Great Recession in 2009.

 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is taking a three-phase, regional approach to reopening the state. The system consists of red, yellow and green phases that are then applied to individual counties. Red is the most restrictive and green is the least. On June 5, Wolf allowed 34 counties to transition into the green phase. Although most restrictions are lifted during this final phase, people are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines. Businesses like gyms, hair salons and indoor recreation centers that remained closed in the yellow phase can start to reopen at 75 percent occupancy. There are still 33 Pennsylvania counties in the yellow phase, which serves the purpose of slowly powering up the economy while still trying to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Gov. Wolf has publicly voiced his desire for Pennsylvania to reopen. However, he warns business owners not to open up too early. “By opening before the CDC evidence suggests you’re taking undue risks with the safety of your customers. That’s not only morally wrong, it’s also really bad business. Businesses that do follow the whims of local politicians and ignore the law and the welfare of their customers will probably find themselves uninsured because insurance does not cover things that happen to businesses breaking the law,” Wolf said during a press conference. 

 

To learn more visit…

 

https://kaufmanrossin.com/

 

https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2020/06/15/florida-unemployment-benefits-update

 

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article243450076.html?

 

https://www.pa.gov/guides/unemployment-benefits/