April 3, 2020
2020 EO SE
The expanded convention center will include an upscale, 800-room hotel and a 65,000-sq.-ft. waterfront ballroom. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.
2020 EO SE
The city of Port St. Lucie received funding to divert pollutants away from the St. Lucie River.
2020 EO SE
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino completed its $1.5-billion expansion in the fall. The complex now has three hotel towers -- including the iconic guitar-shaped one -- plus a new lagoon pool, larger gaming floor and entertainment venues.
2020 EO SE
Rendering of Marriott's AC hotel at Sawgrass Mills.

2020 Economic Outlook

Southeast Florida - Workforce, environment, infrastructure

Mike Vogel | 12/26/2019

Expansion

The biggest development in Broward tourism is a closing: The county will shut the Broward Convention Center for 19 months to pull off a $1-billion renovation and expansion. Growth of the meeting business in Fort Lauderdale has been hampered by a lack of space and hotel rooms. The county made a run at a convention center project three times over the years without success, harming its credibility in the meeting market. The latest endeavor will see part of the center reopened in time for the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat show. A new waterfront building should be complete in 2023 with construction of the 800-room hotel finished later that same year. The area Convention and Visitors Bureau says 2020 has a “healthy visitor forecast,” and there are plans to stimulate bookings and meetings for hotels during the center expansion. The expanded center will add 630,000 square feet of meeting space to bring the total to 1.2 million square feet, including a large contiguous hall, water taxi access and other pluses.

Forecast: REAL ESTATE

Julie Fisher Berry, Principal Marina Investment Group Senior Vice President, Stiles Realty, Fort Lauderdale

“I focus on the sales of marinas, boatyards and mega-yacht facilities. I receive numerous inquiries to purchase marine properties. If I had 20 small marinas, I could sell them immediately.

There’s more demand for larger slips and, as new boaters come in, there’s more demand for slips in general. I see it continuing and continuing.

It’s very important for us to protect the marine industry. The economic impact of the marine industry in South Florida is about $12 billion. The economic impact of the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show is greater than the Super Bowl.”

Forecast: MANUFACTURING

Simon Caldecott, President / CEO
Piper Aircraft, Vero Beach

“We’ve seen for the last three years year-over-year growth in double-digit numbers both in terms of sales and also in the percentage increase in our workforce. We have two distinct markets. We have bigger products, which are more for individuals. We have the trainer market for flight schools.

In 2009, we only delivered 90 aircraft. This year, we’ll probably be around 290 aircraft — 220 of the planes will be for flight schools. We’ll see somewhere around 10% growth this year.

Our head count is 1,060. When I came here in 2009, there were 560 employees. We’ve been adding a lot of people. It’s come with its challenges. We’ve got Embraer north of us and Pratt & Whitney south of us. We’ve partnered with Indian River State College on an apprentice program.”

Forecast: PROFESSIONS

Jennifer Bales Drake, Attorney
Becker, Fort Lauderdale

“There are still projects going on, and projects will continue through 2020. I see a bit of a slowdown in the purchasing and closing of the end units.

A lot of the young people still don’t have the money to buy houses.

I see Fort Lauderdale continuing to evolve and develop. Broward County has a lot to offer. We’re attracting new businesses every day. Downtown Fort Lauderdale is a vibrant city.

I have a positive outlook. As a real estate attorney, you’re always cautious. I just don’t think it’s going to be quite as busy in 2020. It’s an interesting underbelly. Everybody’s busy, but everybody’s just cautious.”

Tags: Southeast, Economic Outlook, Feature

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