Prime Location: Miami
Miami's office market gains top status among investors.
“Miami has arrived as a gateway primary market,” says New York-based Lauren Hochfelder, co-CEO of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing and its $55-billion portfolio. Speaking at the Urban Land Institute’s Florida Summit in Miami in December, she also said Miami’s Class A trophy office buildings are drawing interest because office utilization — an indication of how many people have returned to their pre-COVID workplaces and a reflection of office market health — is about 80% to 86% in Miami but only half that in New York and San Francisco.
Status as a primary/gateway market means more than bragging rights. Some major investors have internal rules about what types of markets they invest in. Primary/gateway markets attract greater investor interest with their reputations for being among the nation’s economic leaders, their large population bases, amenities and oversized contribution to GDP and for innovative and educated workforces and expensive housing — as in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. Whether a market is gateway/primary or secondary influences what investors expect in prices and returns.
While economic conditions are leading investors and lenders to be more cautious, Florida is well positioned, real estate leaders told the summit audience. Jonathan Pollack, a senior managing director for Blackstone in New York, said the investing world is well aware that Miami has “critical mass” and that Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state and local leaders are “playing to win” when it comes to Florida recruiting companies and growing its economy. — By Mike Vogel
- Jared McCluskey, founder and CEO/CTO of the Mirror, a real-time gaming and metaverse building platform, announced that the startup raised $2.3 million, led by Founders Fund, with participation by Konvoy Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Florida Funders, Palm Tree Crew VC and angel investors.
- Miami-based Numatec is expanding its subsidiary EKN to Spain, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia. EKN provides access to digital advertising services. The company will establish a leadership team and physical presence in each new market.
- Miami is No. 23 of the 50 best U.S. cities for tech workers, according to EdWize, an online education and e-learning site. Miami ranked 10th best in broadband internet speed and 13th for tech jobs per person, but 39th for salary and 11th highest for rent.
- Avison Young’s Florida Capital Markets Group was selected to sell Malaysian gambling operator Genting Group’s 15.5 acres of Biscayne Bay frontage — most of which is the Miami Herald’s former site — as a development opportunity. The property is described as the most desirable development site ever offered in Miami and one of the largest waterfront land assemblages available at the time in the nation.
- Altman Cos. is building an apartment community in Kendall after securing the land and a $75-million construction loan. The development firm, led by Joel Altman and Seth Wise, paid $14.3 million for nearly 12 acres formerly owned by Baptist Hospital of Miami. The 342-unit project is scheduled for completion in 2024.
- Aspen Ideas: Climate returns to Miami Beach March 6-9 to engage global policymakers, scientists, corporate leaders, inventors and others in addressing climate change.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted Florida International University $3.2 million to research 3-D printing of ultra-high-performance concrete. The research is aimed at helping military personnel and industry professionals create extra-strong, customized structures on demand. The material is designed to be more durable than traditional concrete and less vulnerable to corrosion by saltwater, says Atorod Azizinamini, director of FIU’s Moss School of Construction, Infrastructure and Sustainability.
- Keith Grossman, immediate- past president of Time magazine, has joined Miami crypto payments infrastructure startup MoonPay as president of its enterprise division. During Grossman’s tenure at Time, the magazine incorporated digital assets into its operations, accepting crypto for payment and launching a collection of NFTs of original art.
- Miami fintech company Novo, which has developed a platform for small businesses, has secured $35 million from venture capital firm GGV, bringing its total raised to $125 million. GGV principal Robin Li is joining Novo’s board.