October 16, 2019
2019 Economic Outlook SE
"All the boat crew live here. All the captains have houses here," says Thom Conboy of Heesen Yachts.

Photo: Eileen Escarda

2019 Economic Outlook SE
Palm Beach County retail under development totals 668,000 square feet — most of it in the north county, where under-construction Alton Town Center will have 350,000 square feet.

Photo: Rendering Alton Town Center

2019 Economic Outlook SE
Broward’s seaport, Port Everglades, moved a record amount of container cargo in its most recent fiscal year — 1.1 million standard container units. The port handles 15% of all the nation’s Latin American trade.

Photo: Port Everglades

2019 Economic Outlook SE
Scripps Florida brought in a record nearly $50 million in federal grants in its most recent year; Max Planck Florida and Florida Atlantic University also took in record levels of grants.

Photo: Max Planck Florida

2019 Economic Outlook SE
Brightline will change its name to Virgin Trains USA. The company is developing rail service from Southeast Florida to Orlando and Tampa in 2021.

Photo: Brightline

2019 Economic Outlook SE
The Boca Raton Innovative Campus incorporates flex suites, which allow tenants to expand or contract easier.

Photo: Boca Raton Innovative Campus

2019 Economic Outlook SE
Palm Beach Gardens' first new office complex in a decade comes to market in 2019: DiVosta Towers, a two-building, 11-story class A building project.

Photo: Rendering DiVosta Towers

2019 Economic Outlook SE
Southeast Florida’s foreign-born population ranges from a low of 10.1% in Martin County to a high of 32.7% in Broward. Others: Palm Beach, 23.8%; St. Lucie, 16.1%; Okeechobee, 12.1%; Indian River, 10.2%
2019 Economic Outlook SE
Water quality issues, including algal blooms in Lake Okeechobee, are getting more attention among business and political leaders.

Photo: USGS

2019 Economic Outlook SE
Indian River State College is training students for careers in the aviation and marine industries.

Photo: Indian River State College

2019 Economic Outlook SE
Metropica, a 65-acre, 4-million-sq.-ft. office and 2,250-unit residential tower project overlooking the Everglades in Sunrise, is exploring how deep the market is for suburban office space.

Photo: Metropica

2019 Economic Outlook

Workforce availability, traffic and environmental concerns

Mike Vogel | 12/27/2018

Forecast | MARINE

THOM CONBOY

Director of Sales, Heesen Yachts, Fort Lauderdale

“There are really not many people who build in our size and speed, sexy-looking, very stylish boats. We like to sell four to five boats a year. The economy is strong. We sold three boats to guys who live right here in Fort Lauderdale — a 55-meter, a 50-meter and a 47-meter — in the last year and a half. Florida’s really become the repair center for a lot of yachts. Look at what’s going on in Palm Beach at Rybovich. Look at the number of boat yards here in Fort Lauderdale and down in Miami. Lauderdale’s a great place. If you look at the development here in Fort Lauderdale, there’s just great growth. People like Lauderdale. It went from total beach bar debauchery to right now it’s a pretty sophisticated place. It’s calmer than Miami. It’s different than Palm Beach. It’s in the middle if you want to experience either place. It’s a very boat-oriented crowd. All the boat crew live here. All the captains have houses here.”

Forecast | SERVICES

TERRI PETTENGILL

Co-Owner, Electrical Connections, Stuart

“We do residential service and commercial service. Right at the moment, we average 14 to 20 employees. We are definitely hiring. We have plenty of work for people to do. That’s one of the issues that we face every day: Having qualified, motivated personnel is a big issue in the trade areas. I think (2019) is going to be great.”

Forecast | ENGINEERING SERVICES

GREGORY SAUTER

President, WGI, West Palm Beach

“The economy continues to do well. I don’t think there’s a person in the industry today who doesn’t feel like we had a pretty good run clawing back from the dark days and the big drop. We continue to feel optimistic. The core demands for transportation and the core demand for housing continue to look positive. We continue to look at 15%-plus growth targets in our organization both in adding people and overall growth in the business. Our biggest challenge right now is just finding homes for the people. Our industry’s been under duress from a personnel perspective for a long time. We’re at about 425 (employees) currently nationally (366 in Florida). A really big issue is leaning in more on technology. The industry in general is behind in the use of tools to deliver more effectively and efficiently. Things like artificial intelligence for instance. I am 100% certain our business is going to continue to change in significant ways because of technology. We want to be at the forefront of that change.”

Forecast | REAL ESTATE /OFFICE

DANIELLE VENNETT

Vice President, Crocker Partners, Boca Raton

“With vacancies dwindling to historic lows in many submarkets and a lack of new office supply, we expect continued upward pressure on rental rates and waning landlord concessions. We find that tenants are willing to pay these higher rates but, in return, are demanding that landlords offer more flexible space options and amenities within their office buildings. As the state’s largest office landlord, Crocker Partners has begun transforming how office space is marketed and used by creating different offerings to tenants. We are reconfiguring our buildings to provide tenants with space that matches their needs by providing flex suites, which allow tenants to expand and contract within our buildings during the term of their leases, Crocker-managed co-working spaces and turnkey incubator suites. Our current transformation of the Boca Raton Innovation Campus exemplifies this. We acquired the 1.7 million-sq.-ft. office campus that was once home of IBM and the invention of the personal computer with the intention of bringing that historical foundation and innovation back to campus through amenities. In addition to implementing cosmetic renovations, we are adding an incubator space, wellness center, tenant lounges, food hall, presentation hall and STEAM (STEM plus art) lab.”

Forecast | TOURISM

SUSAN ADAMS

Manager, Marsh Landing Restaurant
Commissioner, Indian River County
Chair, Tourist Development Council, Fellsmere

“We employ between 20 to 30 people. We are starting to see a lot more year-round business. Our seasonal business is definitely more robust than in years past. If I had to project, definitely 10% to 15% (growth). That would probably be safe to say. We’re seeing a lot of our seasonal residents become year-round residents. Hoteliers and restaurants, especially in our more tourism-specific areas, are seeing a lot of growth. We are seeing our local and small businesses expanding and adding employees. We’re seeing our manufacturing and business sectors doing a lot of onboarding of new employees. Of course, the construction trade industry is huge down here. Those industries are really ramping up. There’s a lack of employees for some of those industries just because there’s so much growth going on. That’s a good problem to have.”

Tags: Southeast, Economic Outlook

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