Economic yearbook 2011
Stepping up to the Plate
ROOKIE PLAYER: Ornare — Brazilian furniture retailer Ornare opened its only U.S. store in Miami in 2006, part of a wave of Brazilian companies making a mark in the city. In 2010, profit at the Miami store rose 30%, which the company credits to both an increase in home purchases and an increase in Brazilian visitors. One-fourth of Ornare's sales in 2010 were to Brazilians, up from 5% in 2009, mirroring a 17% overall increase in Brazilians coming to greater Miami. Brazil was the No. 2 source of foreign tourists for the first nine months of 2010 (the latest data available from the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau), behind Canada.
EMERGING STAR: Barlington Group — Barlington Group has quietly developed and acquired more than $50 million worth of real estate — mainly condo conversions — since its founding in 2004. Now, the revitalization of part of downtown Miami, and the possible fate of the downtown Macy's store — rests in its hands. In January, the company announced it will invest some $2 million to renovate 20,000 square feet of unoccupied space on the ground floor of the Macy's building. Barlington Group, which leased the property from Macy's, has already announced leases with a Cuban coffee shop, a jazz and blues club and a wine bar, with the rest of the space in negotiations. Macy's asked Barlington to fill up the space with the goal of increasing traffic and reinvigorating the area, where Flagler Street meets Miami Avenue. The new eateries and clubs are expected to open this summer, and the stakes are high: If they do not draw more traffic to the area, it's possible that Macy's will vacate when its lease expires in 2016, leaving a space that dates back to 1912, when it was Burdines.
HEAVY HITTER: Burger King — The burger chain went private in 2010, when Brazilian-backed private equity firm 3G Capital purchased it. Despite assurances that its headquarters would remain in Miami-Dade, the new owners cut some 260 headquarters workers in a single layoff. The area lost a Fortune 1000 Miami-based company, gained a new Brazilian influence and was left wondering if it will lose the corporate headquarters altogether.
Alberto Dosal, president/CEO, Compuquip — Alberto Dosal, who co-founded IT services company Compuquip 30 years ago, grew the business by a reported 21.7% in 2010.
He has become a quiet leader of Miami's technology industry, serving as chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce's Technology Committee. This year, he chairs the chamber's key domestic business development group, overseeing 12 committees. Observers say he is on the fast track to the chamber's presidency if he's interested.
Marc Billings, CEO, Digiport; founder, Incubate Miami — In 2009, Marc Billings had the idea to turn space in downtown Miami into an incubator and approached the Enterprise Development Corp. about running it. Incubate Miami opened in 2010 in space sublet from a company Billings owns, and since then he has continued to be a tireless advocate for the downtown startup and technology communities, working to bring a TedX conference to the area and co-founding Innovation Week Miami. In January, Incubate Miami became one of only 17 organizations named to the White House's TechStars Network.
Richard Schuchts, senior vice president, Jones Lang LaSalle — Richard Schuchts heads up the effort to lure bioscience companies to the University of Miami's Life Science & Technology Park. Having already lured one out-of-state tenant, he is pitching the building — and Miami's future as a bioscience hub — to companies all over the U.S., Europe and Latin America.