When Michael K. Silver moved to Miami in 1980, the commercial real-estate business seemed laid back compared to the fierce competition in New Jersey where he started out.
“As the years have gone by, Miami has gotten much more sophisticated,’’ said Silver, a first vice president at CBRE in Miami who over a long career has established himself as one of South Florida’s key experts in industrial real estate.
At CBRE, he is consistently among the top sellers and dealmakers. He also devotes a lot of attention to professional associations like SIOR (the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors) and the Realtors Commercial Alliance, where he is the local president for 2013.
South Florida’s industrial real estate may lack the sex appeal of the residential sector, which boasts spectacular waterfront mansions and the cutting-edge design of condominium projects. But as the meat and potatoes of real estate, the industrial sector provides the stage for much of the region’s economic activity. And with upgrades underway at Port Miami aimed at luring larger ships when the Panama Canal expansion is completed, industrial real estate is hot.
“This is an exciting time for industrial real estate in Miami,’’ said Silver, who sat down in an interview with the Miami Herald and then responded to emailed questions.
Q: What are the key drivers for industrial real estate in South Florida now?
Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have a population of about 5.6 million, and that is expected to exceed 6 million by 2020. The region needs existing warehouse space and additional warehouses in the future to serve the local population and to import and export products worldwide.
International trade is one of the driving forces in the region’s economy. Miami-Dade is supported by world-class connectivity through a growing airport, seaport, and telecommunications infrastructure. Recently, the Port of Miami established Foreign Trade Zone 281, encompassing most of the county. Businesses operating in the zone can defer, reduce or eliminate U.S. Customs duties on products.
A healthcare hub is taking shape in Miami. The University of Miami’s new Life Science & Technology Park opened its doors and has already attracted several tenants.
Foreigners are fueling the Miami housing market, which has generated strong interest to start businesses or purchase commercial properties in South Florida.
Q: You are president of RCA Miami this year. What does the group do?
The Realtor Commercial Alliance is part of the Miami Association of Realtors, the largest local Realtors group in the nation with 29,000 members. Of those, RCA Miami has 1,500 members.
Our 2013 priorities are education, commercial real-estate services, media, government affairs, international real estate and commercial real-estate partnerships.
RCA was one of the founding organizations in creating a commercial real-estate coalition that includes about 15 organizations that offer joint meetings and informs all our members about commercial real-estate issues that affect our industry.
Q: Commercial brokers have been advocating for a reduction or elimination of the Florida sales tax on commercial rents. What is on the horizon for that issue?
Florida is the only state that taxes commercial rents. Legislation that would have phased out the long standing sales tax charged on commercial leases died in committee during the latest session.