The year ahead: Business outlook for 2018
Florida executives weigh in
REAL ESTATE (Developer)
Managing Director, Encore Capital Management, Boca Raton
“We’re seeing strong growth of qualified people coming for a myriad of prices. Compared to some other regions of the United States, the price value is still very strong. We’re seeing a strong influx of Chinese. We’re seeing a strong influx of Venezuelans, Brazilians. I would say we feel pretty good that the market will continue. I call it steady as she goes through ’18 and ’19.”
Encore Capital Management’s projects include Mirada, a 5,200- home development in Pasco County near Tampa, Creekside, a 690-home development in St. Johns County near Jacksonville, and Beachwalk, approximately 800 homes in St. Johns County. In Orlando, it has Encore Club at Reunion, 792 homes sold largely to vacationers and investors.
REAL ESTATE (Full Service Sales)
President/CEO, Keyes Co., Miami
"The Millennials are dominating the first-time home buyer market and have a strong wind at their back with interest rates remaining at historical lows.”
REAL ESTATE (Law)
Orlando Office Managing Shareholder, Gunster, Orlando
“Orange County and Orlando lead the nation in job growth. Our employment numbers are just so strong. We’re going to see significant demand in the residential sector, including single-family. All of my multifamily developer clients are very bullish on 2018.
I think everyone would agree retail is in a period of redefining itself. I predict we will continue to see a lot of mixed-use development. Great real estate is great real estate. What we’re seeing in retail is the demand for secondary and tertiary is what’s soft.
Industrial is as hot as it can possibly be right now. I think the office market will continue to grow in 2018.”
REAL ESTATE (Developer)
President, Minto Communities USA, Tampa
“We think 2018 will be a great year for us. It just seems like we’re seeing more people down here a little earlier.
We opened up our new community in Palm Beach County, Westlake, that will have 4,500 homes. We had over 3,000 people there on the weekend. It was backed up a mile in both directions trying to get in to park. It’s a long time since Palm Beach County opened up something that affordable. We were able to open up under $300,000, which in Palm Beach County is a feat.
We have our 3,000-unit Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona. We’ve had over 100,000 people register for more information. Future projected expansion of additional 3,000 home sites for a total of 6,000. Our first phase of 378 homes seems to have more demand than we have supply.”
RETAIL (Outdoor Gear)
Co-Owner, South Outfitters and Coastal Paddle Co., Pensacola, Gulf Breeze
Kevin and April Cook opened their 300-sq.-ft. Coastal Paddle stand-up paddleboard store in the Pensacola area in 2010. They’ve added South Outfi tters, carrying branded merchandise, and now have a total of three stores.
“I try to forecast, but really it just comes back to all you can do is have faith and go to work and try to serve your customers the best way you know how,” Kevin Cook says.
General Manager, Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise
2017 was a very strong year especially as compared to 2016 and late ’15. We saw quite a rebound particularly with our South American customers. People from Argentina were notable. We’ve been having an exceptionally strong sales year. That was offset a bit by Hurricane Irma. We did end up losing a few days of business. We’re having a wonderful year of new stores. We’re kind of unique due to the sheer size of this property. The 380 shops are on one level. We’ve kind of sharpened our focus onto dining a little bit. We have a pretty robust roster of 14 full-service restaurants.
Looking toward 2018, we’ll be breaking ground on an AC by Marriott hotel. It’ll be a first quarter of ’20 opening. A 170-room hotel. That opens up lovely opportunities for shop and stays.
We’re seeing some growth in some new tourism markets. We’re seeing some traffic out of the UAE that’s undoubtedly related to Emirates airline’s once-daily service from Fort Lauderdale to Dubai. We’re seeing more travelers from India and China.”
General Manager, Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande
The Gasparilla Inn & Club, in business since 1913, is owned by the William Farish family. The resort has played host to many notables, including Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, Katharine Hepburn, the Bush family, members of the DuPont family, and others.
Jon Reecher said, “We’re in our 104th season. 2016-17 was our best season ever as far as revenue and roomnights go. I think 2017-18 will be strong. I think people actually are looking for unique and different experiences.”