October 25, 2014

Sector portrait

Miami: International

Strengths/Weaknesses

Strengths: Proximity and cultural affinity for Latin America and the Caribbean; airport and seaport well-equipped to handle international trade and passengers; preponderance of international flights, including many connecting cities within Latin America; Spanish-speaking population; established base of professional services firms familiar with Latin America; multicultural environment; respected judicial system and lower legal costs than other major international cities.

Art Basel in Miami Art Basel Miami attracted 42,000 people last year. [Photo: Bill Wisser]

Weaknesses (Miami-specific): Better-funded, more organized competitors in the U.S. — particularly Atlanta and Houston; few speakers of Asian languages; architects, real estate firms, interior designers, marketing companies and advertising agencies have drastically downsized or closed; banks are reluctant to do international private banking or trade financing because it's perceived as risky; little room for airport or seaport to expand; difficult transit between airport and seaport.

Weaknesses (U.S.): Increasingly difficult for foreign nationals to deal with customs, immigration and Homeland Security; federal taxes on international investors; compliance regulations have made international financial services very costly.

Flavor of Trade

Silvia Cubina
Silvia Cubina
Miami-Dade has long been a hub for Latin American art, and Art Basel Miami Beach has only expanded its prominence in the international contemporary art world. That has given museum directors excellent connections and the chance to bring some unusual collections to the area. For instance, last December, the Bass Museum opened the first U.S. showing of pieces from Mexico's "La Collección Jumex" — the collection of Jumex juice heir Eugenio Lopez Alonso. Bass Executive Director Silvia Cubina, who had longstanding relationships with Lopez Alonso and the collection's curator, approached them as soon as she started at the museum in 2008. They like the idea of putting the collection in front of the many art collectors, artists and arts professionals from around the world who come to Miami throughout the year.

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