Commercial Observer’s Future Forward conference was a love letter to Miami. The one-day event, which took place last week at South West Beach, featured a range of speakers, many of whom have recently moved from New York, who sang the praises of the Magic City.
Miami is booming, they said, offering a wonderful quality of life and where business and real estate transactions are abundant. New York City – or any major city for that matter – should be careful.
“I fell in love with Miami,” said Jacques Abraham, founder and managing partner of a venture capital firm Atomic, which was one of the first large Silicon Valley companies to relocate this year. “Miami at its heart has some of the best elements of New York and Los Angeles,” Abraham said. It offers a culinary scene and a diversity of people that rival New York City, while also providing a warm climate and ocean found in Los Angeles, Abraham added.
Unlike New York City, politicians aren’t a problem, the developers noted. “You are welcome here if you come to do business. It’s really healthy, ”the developer said. Steven witkoff. “New York is resting on its laurels and must go out of its own way.”
Florida’s “healthy” politics are in part due to its politically purple, developer Don Peebles underline. The Sunshine State “pulls to the left, but there is strong and even pull to the right. So you almost always find yourself at the center: a pro-business and socially progressive environment, ”he said.
While Miami has a time now, its rebirth has taken a long time, and in large part thanks to – wait – New Yorkers. It depends Ivan Kaufman, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Arbor Realty. “New Yorkers came down to the ’90s. They built the infrastructure; they built the hotels; they built the restaurants; they built the culture, ”he said.
One of those New Yorkers who make the most of the Miami moment is Jeff Zalaznick, co-founder and managing partner of Large food group. The company has opened an outpost of its New York institution Carbon in Miami Beach with great fanfare earlier this year. He plans to open between seven and 10 restaurants in South Florida during the year, the restaurateur told the crowd.
What better place to grow than Florida? As the world has locked itself down due to COVD-19, the region has remained wide open for business, allowing restaurants and clubs to operate at full capacity. “It was like a Super Bowl all year round”, Barry sternlicht, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, said of the Miami hotel industry.
But obstacles remain for Miami. The city lacks the infrastructure required to become a full-fledged business center, said We work CEO Sandeep Mathrani. “It takes a decade of investment to really make it a hub. At present, there is an abundance of office space in the world. But there aren’t many in Miami. There’s a new building coming, 830 Brickell. ”
And as the rich move south, it deepens the gap between the haves and have-nots. “This is the story of two Miamis, for the moment”, warned Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, President and CEO of Miami Foundation. “Half of Miami aren’t sure what food they’re going to eat for dinner. The other half is booming. If you do and enjoy this place make sure it’s good for everyone.
Beyond Miami, an issue facing the commercial real estate industry is attracting diverse talent. Look no further than the crowd attending the conference, which was mostly white men, even in a city as diverse as Miami.
The industry is failing by being so homogeneous, said Bryan McDonnell, the general manager of PGIM Real Estate. “I want the best talent,” he said. “If I don’t have a wide enough opening to get the best talent, then I’m holding back.”
A sales pitch for young graduates is for them to participate in change, said Cedric Bobo, CEO of Intended project, which partners with commercial real estate companies to offer an eight-week internship program. “A child may not understand real estate, but he sees his neighborhood change. They want to be part of it. We sell you: “You don’t want to have the skills to be a part of the progress, not to be a victim of it? “”
While developers are experts at reinventing neighborhoods – just ask Craig robin, who single-handedly created Miami’s Design District, one of the most popular places in the city today. They are slow to embrace new technology and recognize the future before it arrives. Brad Greiwe, co-founder and managing partner of the venture capital firm Fifth wall, has a message for those still on the sidelines. “Over $ 30 billion has been spent on proptech R&D,” he said. “The VC community will fund your innovation projects. It is increasingly important to have a culture that is not only open to change, but also able to manage it.
If this conference is any guide, the future is Miami, inclusion and technology.