ECONOMY

New Miami-Dade website allows deep dive into business data

 
 
An image from Miami-Dade County's new economic data website, miamidadesites.com
An image from Miami-Dade County's new economic data website, miamidadesites.com

dhanks@MiamiHerald.com

Want to find a 10,000-square-foot office for rent within a 3-minute drive to a Starbucks in a neighborhood where the average household spends at least $5,000 on clothing gifts every year? Or how about a large warehouse that’s within 15 miles of Miami International Airport and where nearby residents tend to be high school graduates?

Miami-Dade now has a free website for the job.

The county and its tax-funded economic development agency on Tuesday officially unveiled miamidadesites.com, a site that combines about 750 different data sets into one mapping program. The data is aimed at site selectors that companies hire to find new office and industrial locations, but the online portal offers perhaps the richest and slickest look at Miami-Dade demographics available.

Presented as a digital map of Miami-Dade, the site lets users choose from hundreds of filters as they search for available retail, office and industrial space. Among the options: view income data for the surrounding neighborhood, overlay spending habits from apparel to utilities, map out nearby hospitals, county parks and schools, view housing prices or identify specific businesses or industry categories. The searches can be narrowed by distance or driving time, and exported to a spreadsheet or printable chart.

“Today, economic development is really driven by data,’’ said Larry Williams, the new president of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s economic development organization, which is charged with recruiting new business to the area. “This is bringing us into this century.”

Miami-Dade and the Beacon Council split the $25,000 cost for the site, which officials said took only 90 days to create. San Francisco-based contractor GIS Planning created the site, which will be upgraded for mobile use in January. GIS created a similar statewide site, poweringflorida.com, for FPL’s economic-development arm.

Most of the data came from the county’s digital library, and was available in some form on miamidade.gov, said Mary Fuentes, a top IT official with the county. But miamidadesites.com also combines private-sector data, including housing information from Zillow, business listings from Info USA, and commercial real estate sales information from Miami-Dade’s Multiple Listing Service. The site does not include residential listings.

Miami-Dade began developing the site at the urging of Commissioner Lynda Bell, who sponsored a resolution urging County Hall and the Beacon Council to create it. “Think of it as Google Maps for business,’’ Bell said at the unveiling, “but with far more comprehensive information.”

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