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Miami-Dade Economic Assessment

Economic Assessment

Florida International University’s Miami Urban Future Initiative examined metro Miami’s ability to attract and grow major companies after the Amazon HQ2 competition. Its report, “Miami After HQ2: Why and How the Region Must Grow Its Own Amazons,” shared what the researchers believe is the data most relevant to doing so. A few highlights:


  • Clusters: The metro’s employment in legal occupations is 75% above the national average, health care is 8% above the national average. Business and financial management employment is 6% above.
  • No. 2: Miami’s rank in the U.S. for share of foreign-born residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Only San Jose/Silicon Valley ranks higher.
  • 340,000: Number of college students in the metro area (ninth-largest “college town” in the U.S.)
  • 67%: Percent who attend college in metro Miami and stay in the area, No. 16 among 53 large U.S. metros.
  • No. 24: Rank for research spending among large metros.

Venture Capital

  • $850 million: Value of the more than 100 venture capital deals in the metro Miami annually
  • $255 million: Value of the 25 VC deals a decade ago
  • No. 31: Metro Miami’s rank among the world’s 300 global startup cities for deal value

Talent Base

  • No. 41: Miami’s rank among 53 large metros in the percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree — 31% vs. 30.9% nationally
  • No. 49: The city’s “creative class” rank — including high-skill, high-wage workers such as scientists, technologists, professionals, managers, artists, designers and cultural creatives, about a third of the region’s workforce


  • The mega-region that stretches to Orlando and Tampa will include 15 million people and $750 billion in economic output — comparable in size to the Netherlands.


  • Baptist Health South Florida is one of 12 health care systems that are founding members of Civica Rx, a Salt Lake City-based non-profit generic pharmaceutical company that will focus on medications in short supply.
  • Baptist also purchased a 2.8-acre site in Coral Gables for a reported $37 million, although it has not yet decided how it will use the site.
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center finished a $275-million, 350,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its Miami Beach hospital.
  • The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing ranked the Jackson Health System/ UHealth Miami Transplant Institute, which performed 681 transplants in 2018, the second-largest transplant center in the U.S.
  • The FDA approved Opko Health’s finger-stick test for prostate-specific antigen, although the company’s 4Kscore test for determining the risk level for aggressive prostate cancer received a determination that will prevent many public health care systems from covering it. The company is appealing the determination.


  • Airbnb is suing Miami Beach, arguing the city’s ban on short-term rentals (anything less than six months and one day) in single-family homes and most multifamily buildings and its related requirements are an illegal infringement on Airbnb’s rights.
  • MSC Cruises will build and operate two new cruise terminals at PortMiami, where it will homeport several of its new ships; the company projects it will raise its annual passenger count at the port from 1.8 million to 5 million by 2026.
  • An affiliate of London-based real estate firm London + Regional purchased the 281-room Pullman Miami Airport Hotel for $48.7 million.
  • The JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa in Aventura opened Tidal Cove, a water park accessible only to resort guests and country club members. It includes a 60-foot tower with seven water slides, a 4,000-sq.-ft. kids pool, a surf simulation pool and other attractions.


  • Hilarie Bass left her position as co-president of law firm Greenberg Traurig to found the Bass Institute for Diversity and Inclusion, a Miami-based consulting firm focused on helping companies retain and promote more women in senior leadership roles.


  • New York-based Acreage Holdings paid $67 million to acquire licensed medical cannabis cultivator, processor and dispenser Nature’s Way Nursery.


  • Capital Bank hired Roberto R. Muñoz as market president of Miami and commercial bank and wealth executive; he is also this year’s chair of the World Trade Center Miami trade promotion organization.
  • BBVA Compass named Giampaolo Consigliere CEO of the Miami market. He had been the bank’s segment executive for global wealth management.


  • Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón will retire at the end of this summer, becoming president emeritus after 24 years as the head of the nation’s largest campus-based college.


  • Shula’s Restaurant Group hired William “Bill” Freeman, previously CEO of chef Michael Mina’s Mina Group, as CEO, overseeing its 29 locations. His predecessor, Mary Anne Shula (wife of the founder and former Dolphins coach Don Shula), is chairwoman.
  • Commercial laundry company EVI Industries (formerly EnviroStar) paid $12.85 million in cash, stock and debt assumption to acquire Pennsylvania-based PAC Industries. This was EVI’s seventh acquisition in less than two years.


  • Swire Properties’ Brickell City Centre mixed-use project in Miami received approval to add two 927-unit residential buildings, as well as more stores, entertainment venues and parking. Construction will likely start in two or three years.
  • Real estate developers Related Group and Fortune International Group became partners in private bridge lender Vaster Capital when Related bought out Rialto Capital Management’s stake in the Miami-based lender.
  • Lennar promoted Fred Rothman to COO.
  • Berkshire Hathaway company HomeServices of America purchased Lennar’s Florida Berkshire Hathaway real estate brokerage for an undisclosed sum; Lennar wants to focus on home building.
  • Real estate brokerage Collier International South Florida made Ryan Kratz its South Florida market president, based in Miami. Kratz is also president of Colliers’ Southeast region. Former South Florida market leader Ken Krasnow is now the firm’s vice chairman of institutional client services.
  • Luxcom Builders purchased 71 acres of waterfront land in the Village of Palmetto Bay from Florida Power & Light for $33 million.


  • Miami-Dade County and the Brazilian post office launched Compra Fora, aimed at dramatically cutting shipping times for cargo flying to Brazil from Miami International Airport by pre-clearing it in Miami. MIA is the only airport the Brazilian government has such an agreement with.


Rotating X-Ray

Vascular and interventional radiologist Barry Katzen, founder of the Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Baptist Health South Florida, and technology giant Philips debuted an X-ray machine called the Azurion with FlexArm.

Designed for tight spaces, it rotates around an operating table to allow imaging of all parts of a patient’s body without moving the patient.


Read more in our April issue.

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