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Monday's Daily Pulse

South Florida more in debt than rest of nation

Many of those living in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area are heavily in debt, concludes a new survey. South Floridians owe -- a lot -- on car, home and student loans. The average South Florida mortgage balance is more than $30,000 higher, for example, than the average U.S. home loan balance, according to a report released by Credit Karma, a consumer website. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Businesses thrive in storage units

Apparently, there’s something going on in these big self-storage buildings that have sprouted like mushrooms in the last decade. Designed to provide a space for Americans’ overflowing possessions, the units now provide inexpensive commercial space for companies adapting to a smaller economy. Call it an example of how small business adapts. [Source: Florida Today]

Tourism, farming, prisons power North Florida's rural economy

Visitors flying into Florida who look out an airplane window as they cross into the Sunshine State for the first time might be expecting to see white sand beaches and amusement parks dotting the landscape. Instead, as they cross over North Florida, they will see something very different. [Source: Gainesville Sun]

Florida Trend Special Report:
Commercial Real Estate

Downtown Miami
Downtown Miami office space is steadily getting tighter. [Photo: Daniel Portnoy]

Commercial Real Estate Snapshots -
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Related slideshow:
» Rural Florida economy in pictures

Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida's big real estate picture

Florida's commercial real estate markets are emerging from the doldrums, but don't expect much construction until growth picks up. We spoke with Florida executives about what Markets are attractive these days and what the future looks like for Florida's real estate industry. Full story...

See also:
» Real estate price points
» Transcript of our Live Chat on Trends in Florida Real Estate

Five Florida-style economic questions that Obama, Romney should ponder

Without a doubt, high unemployment, the federal deficit and Medicare will dominate the presidential debate over the next seven weeks. But it's time to drill a little deeper. The Tampa Bay Times poses five economic issues particularly relevant to Florida that President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney should address if they want to successfully woo this crucial swing state.


› From boom to bust, entrepreneur embodies Central Florida's wealth bubble
How Gerry Nolan went from rising deal-maker to resort attendant is, in some ways, the story of Central Florida's wealth bubble, writ unusually large. He dove into real estate at the wrong time — and when the market collapsed, he was trapped beneath the rubble.

› Bee removal experts feel sting of new state rule requiring licensing
a new interpretation of Florida's pest control law threw into limbo what had been a longstanding deal beekeepers had struck with Florida that created an unlicensed live bee removal industry; it also raised fears that the work would go instead to exterminators who would kill the important pollinators rather than save them.

› Unemployed may be required to get claims notices via e-mail
Florida's unemployed may soon have to have an e-mail address and access to a computer to get notices from the state's "re-employment assistance" program. The Department of Economic Opportunity said a law from the 2012 legislative session mandates further automation. But DEO said it plans to make exceptions for those with a "language barrier, a physical impairment or disability" preventing use of a computer.

› Florida court records are going on computers — but not online
Florida's court system is breaking into the digital age. Instead of musty paper files that sit on forgotten shelves in courthouses, county clerks across the state have entered tens of thousands of criminal, civil, traffic and other public records onto computers. Just don't expect to access them from your computer.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› In stepping back, legendary philanthropist Gus Stavros leaves a void
Stavros is part of that "greatest generation" of aging entrepreneurial business builders and givers here that includes folks like Bill Hough, Tom James, Jean Wittner, Andy Hines, Mel Sembler and Charles Rutenberg. Among many others, they shaped the area through sheer personality, business drive, vision and a willingness to share their wealth.

› Hurricane Isaac had negative First Coast economic impact in August
The First Coast consumer price index and leading economic indicators showed a mixed bag of turbulent changes for August. University of North Florida economist Paul Mason released the local figures Friday and they show some fluctuating indicators, most notably for non-core inflation such as energy and food.

› Pompano Beach's Isle Casino rolls out locally grown buffet
On Friday, the Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach unveiled a smorgasbord the likes of which Florida gamblers have never seen. Called Farmer's Pick Buffet, the remodeled restaurant features many dishes made with ingredients grown in the casino's year-old 1-acre, on-site garden or in its hydroponic nursery.

› Investing early in improvements pays off for port, Melbourne airport
About a decade ago, officials at Melbourne International Airport chose to invest $4 million and build three concrete runway aprons on the airport’s north side. Were any businesses looking to move to the airport then? Not really. This was a build-it-and-they-will-come proposition. Some