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June 22, 2018

Telemundo is benefiting from the need for more Hispanic programming. The network is increasing its programming budget by 20%.

Photo: Telemundo

Lennar Home

Lennar had orders for 15,684 new homes last year.

Photo: Lennar

Craig Robins

Craig Robins lured major luxury retailers to the Design District.

Photo: Martien Mulder


Craig Robins lured major luxury retailers to the Design District.

Photo: James Harris




Home building and a strong Spanish-language market

Rising rents downtown and banking concerns

Miami-Dade County

» The hunger in the U.S. and Latin America for Spanish-language or Hispanic-focused TV and movie content is fueling a flurry of activity. A recent $400-million merger between InterMedia Partners and Azteca Acquisition formed Miami-based Hemisphere Media Group, which expects to start operations this month. The new publicly held company includes Spanish-language hemisphere-wide movie channel CineLatino and Puerto Rican assets. The Doral-based English-language network formed in 2012 by Univison Networks and ABC News is investing more than $274 million in news and programming that targets Hispanics. Comcast is pumping resources into its Miami-based Spanish-language network, Telemundo, increasing its annual programming budget by nearly 20% and encouraging it to produce more original shows.

» While residential real estate of all types is having a strong year, rentals are the hottest investment sector. With the apartment vacancy rate at 4.2%, experts say demand for rentals will remain strong for years, buoyed by a desire by young professionals for flexibility and homeownership’s tarnished reputation. Miami-Dade is short on rental properties that attract institutional investors because so many were converted to condos during the boom, and developers are eagerly trying to fill the gap. For instance, Miami-based Crescent Heights plans to build rentals rather than condos on its prime land in Miami Beach’s South Beach, where the median rental rate rose 12% and leasing activity increased 15% during 2012.

» Not all the effects of the real estate bust have been worked out. One Bal Harbour condo/hotel is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings by its owner, Elcom Hotel & Spa — despite its prime location overlooking Haulover Inlet, just north of Miami Beach. Elcom, which filed for bankruptcy in January, paid $14.6 million in 2009 to buy the property’s common areas and 51 units out of bankruptcy from WCI Communities. WCI, which developed the project as the Regent Bal Harbour, intended it to be a five-star property but declared bankruptcy shortly after opening the Regent in 2008.

»  Among area banks, U.S. Century Bank, the largest undercapitalized bank in the U.S., announced a deal in which local investors — including Jimmy Tate and Sergio Rok — would capitalize it to the tune of $50 million, wiping out its bad loans. The Doral-based bank has been under FDIC enforcement action since June 2011 and took $50.2 million from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). St. Petersburg-based C1 Bank canceled its planned acquisition of U.S. Century in December.


» Immigration undoubtedly influenced Miami-Dade voters in the presidential election, and area Republican politicians and activists don’t want to lose another election because of it. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has put forth several “principles” for reform, and Republican Miami-Dade U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have been holding forums around the county. Former Gov. Jeb Bush has a new book out on the topic, and Republican power broker Al Cardenas (co-founder of the Tew Cardenas law firm) has been making the rounds to conservative media to push for immigration reform.

Tags: Miami-Dade, Economic Yearbook

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Brevard Zoo releases sea turtles
Brevard Zoo releases sea turtles

Sea turtles Skipper and Ginny were released Thursday, June 21, 2018 after recovering from medical problems at the Brevard Zoo. (There is no audio track on this video from the Brevard Zoo.)

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