Updated 12 months ago
Downtown Miami and international trade are surging, but the county faces plenty of challenges, including getting control of its budget and righting the ship at the financially troubled Jackson Health System.
Redevelop Miami Marine Stadium into a mixed-use project, bringing back to life the 6,566-seat venue that has been closed since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Sell the James L. Knight Center performance hall, conference facility and convention center to the adjacent Hyatt Regency, hopefully for enough money to pay off the city's $30-million bond obligation on the center. That will take a $5-million-a-year burden off the city's general fund and lead to a refurbished downtown convention center.
Open two new south Florida workforce offices to train workers in the city's Allapattah and Little Havana areas.
Defying expectations, downtown Miami has filled up with residents, hitting a nighttime population of 70,000. Stores and restaurants have begun staying open late. Whole Foods committed to a store that will open in 2013, and a super-luxury Marriott Marquis hotel opened. Downtown condo sales jumped more than 60% from 2009 to 2010, although most of the condos are owned by investors, who rent them to young professionals. One question is what happens to the vibrant scene now that some landlords have begun raising rents, while other investors make plans to sell.
[Photo: Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce]
|MSA||DEC. 2010||DEC 2009||% Change||Jobless Rate|
|Miami / Miami Beach
|Source: Agency for Workforce Innovation
|Homes Single-family, existing-home sales by Realtors|
|MSA||Jan. 2011 Sales||1-Year Change||Jan. 2011 Price||1-Year Change|
|Source: Florida Realtors|
|Miami-Dade Population: 2,553,722|
|Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 1.01%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $37,342|
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.
Complete nearly $1 billion in infrastructure projects, including wrapping up major work at Miami International Airport, deepening the seaport's harbor, completing a tunnel link to I-95, restoring rail connections between the airport and seaport and finishing up water use improvements.
Diversify the economic base, with biomedical research, aerospace and advanced manufacturing playing a larger role.
Stepping up to the Plate
ROOKIE PLAYER: Codina Partners — Longtime developer Armando Codina, one of the most familiar names in Miami-Dade real estate, formed a new company, Codina Partners, in 2009 with his oldest daughter, Ana-Marie Codina Barlick. The Coral Gables-based company has purchased large stakes in everything from the massive Downtown Doral mixed-use project, to distressed residential properties in Broward County and near Jacksonville, to a vacant parcel in Coral Gables.
EMERGING STAR: Condo Vultures — In late 2006, former journalist Peter Zalewski had a pretty good idea that south Florida's condo market was about to go south. He founded Bal Harbour-based Condo Vultures, which has become the leading source of information on the market. Analysts use the company's proprietary database to pull together key information about distressed condos and other "vulture" targets. Condo Vultures has expanded its coverage from downtown Miami to much of the tri-county area, as well as to Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California. A separate realty company, Condo Vultures Realty, specializes in sales of condos.
HEAVY HITTER: Baptist Health South Florida — The Coral Gables-based non-profit hospital group, a frequent honoree on national "best places to work" lists and one of the county's largest employers, more than doubled its income last fiscal year to $271.9 million on revenue of $2.18 billion. In part, that was due to an expansion from Miami-Dade into Broward County, but smart investing helped, as did lower malpractice and insurance expenses.
Ted Shaw, chief transition officer, Jackson Health System — Ted Shaw has the thankless job of improving the Miami-Dade public health system's abysmal financial condition. He has earned the respect of both the county commission and the Public Health Trust, which oversees Jackson. With Jackson CEO Eneida Roldan leaving when her contract ends May 31 — or earlier if the system finds a new executive — the onus is on Shaw to see the troubled system through to stability.
Justin Kennedy and Tobin Cobb, co-CEOs, LNR Property — In October, LNR brought on experienced commercial real estate money managers Justin Kennedy and Tobin Cobb to make sure the company survives the real estate crash. The two former Deutsche Bank executives are charged with running the nation's largest handler of commercial mortgage backed securities, which suffered when revenue from those bonds dropped in the real estate crisis. In December 2009, Moody's wrote that LNR's liquidity profile was weakening, but it has attracted investment recently.
Kirk Fordham, CEO, The Everglades Foundation — The veteran political operative will be a key voice in Washington for passage of the Water Resources Development Act (which will bring authorization for the next round of Everglades restoration projects). He also will need to bring Gov. Rick Scott up to speed on Everglades issues. Also on his plate: Directing his science staff's work with the South Florida Water Management District as it develops plans for the 27,000 acres the state acquired from U.S. Sugar and working with the federal government and other groups to help assemble the proposed new Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge.
The Everglades Foundation's Kirk Fordham advocates for restoration work. [Photo: Everglades Foundation]
|Monroe Population: 73,467|
|Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 0.01%|
|Population by Age:|
|Per Capita Income: $59,718|
Monroe County will be looking south this year, where Cuba poses both challenges and opportunities. The opportunity: The federal government announced it will allow more U.S. citizens to visit Cuba and will allow flights from additional airports. Key West International Airport, which recently underwent a $30-million upgrade, could be designated to host some of those flights. The potential problems: Cuba hopes to begin drilling for oil this summer about 50 miles south of the Keys. The well is said to be in waters more than 5,600-feet deep — some 500 feet deeper than waters where the BP Deepwater Horizon well operated.