Business Monday

CEOs are asked: South Florida moving upward, but for how long?

ADES
ADES

The question: How long do you think South Florida’s current upward trajectory will last, and why?

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Miami is becoming one of the world’s pre-eminent cities, with a vibrant cultural and modern life. Coupling that with weather and low taxes, it should provide for a sustainable upward trajectory for many more years to come. This may not mean forever rising real estate prices (inevitably there will be booms and busts in high growth cities), but a constant influx of skilled residents and capital.

Daniel Ades, managing partner, Kawa Capital Management

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I’m bullish on South Florida for the long term. While we may have some fluctuations, South Florida is firmly on the map as a global city and the energy and enthusiasm to continue its business and cultural development should propel us forward for many years to come.

Christine Barney, CEO, RBB Communications

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South Florida’s current upward trajectory should have consistent growth success for years to come. South Florida has become a world-class destination for the international affluent due to its climate, beaches, nightlife, and excellent shopping. After the local real estate market collapsed, it rebounded much sooner than expected largely due to buyers from Latin America and Europe.

Richard Behar, founder and president, Capital Clothing Corp

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I do not see an end in sight. Of course we will have adjustments, however Miami as a top ten global city will continue to see growth in all sectors.

Alice Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner, Cervera Real Estate

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Our business climate is growing and getting better. We have no state tax, and that definitely contributes to a good environment for commerce. We also seem to be growing at a consistent pace - not too robust too soon. That is also a definite positive. But if we really wish to ensure South Florida’s future, we need to wholly concentrate on improving our educational system. A steady, incremental growth and an educated population is South Florida’s best opportunity for continued prosperity.

Jonathan Chariff, executive vice president, South Motors/Vista Motors

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Miami is poised to lead the nation in arts, tech, tourism, product development and distribution. Due to the port of Miami dredging, the expansion of the Panama Canal leading to increased trade opportunities, the growing high tech movement, the growing green manufacturing product based movement, and the arts movement, Miami has an amazing foothold and the world’s attention. Real estate has historically been the focus of growth in Miami, but I can say from my experience with my incubator growing to 20 companies in less than 2 months that Miami has only begun to see the beginnings of growth. We have always had a diverse ethnic population and now with the diversification of our marketplace we will continue to grow.

Pandwe Gibson, executive director, EcoTech Visions

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I think South Florida is just at the beginning of its upward trajectory. The world has just begun to discover Miami’s potential as a global city. In real estate it’s all about Location, Location, Location and South Florida has this in spades. Hang on for the ride, it’s going to be a long one.

Julie Grimes, managing partner, Hilton Bentley Hotel

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I’m a very optimistic person! So I feel South Florida will continue on this path, there is a big commitment to innovation and technology, that as long as we remain somewhat patient and allow for something to grow organically, that will be positioning Miami as a city to watch globally.

Felecia Hatcher, co-founder of Feverish Gourmet Pops

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Decades, although it won’t be a linear progression and it will be punctuated with downturns. Our meteorological and geographic gifts, coupled with our entrepreneurial underpinnings, our international population and our cultural offerings make South Florida one of the planet’s most attractive locations.

Victor Mendelson, co-president, HEICO

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Brutal winters in the Northeast, geopolitical volatility and Miami’s appeal as a tourist destination have positioned us well for the long-term. Our international gateway status creates more stability but also means macroeconomic issues on the other side of the world can affect us, both on the upside and the downside. There’s no imminent concern on the horizon, but something will inevitably come up down the road.

Nitin Motwani, managing principal, Miami Worldcenter Associates

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The economic numbers are encouraging and in some cases very strong. Developers and lenders seem more thoughtful and careful during this current frothy cycle, so it sure feels encouraging in the next 18-24 months. Much of the strength seems to be in the luxury market. To keep this party going, investment in “affordable” housing and medical care are important as well as quality education at the primary, secondary and college/university levels. These pillars will help cement our region to retain and attract the best talent both domestically and internationally.

Abe Ng, founder and CEO of Sushi Maki

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Macroeconomic shifts and the global political environment make the United States an extremely attractive place to invest and live with no end in sight. Within the United States, Miami is evolving into a much more sophisticated and truly international city with an unparalleled quality of life. As technology continues to evolve and improve, employees have more mobility and companies can operate with small teams located anywhere, and they will continue to choose areas with a higher quality of life.

Todd Orestsky, co-founder, Pipeline Brickell

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I am confident we have a few more years of growth ahead of us. However, the key is how to ensure sustainable growth. That will only happen if we provide opportunities for a larger segment of our population in which to fully participate.

Eduardo Padrón, president, Miami Dade College

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I’m confident we’ll enjoy this forward progress for years to come. We’ve fallen victim to booms and busts in the past, but we’ve learned a lot of lessons as we’ve transitioned into a truly global city. The current momentum is driven by more substantial, organic growth than we’ve seen in the past — I think it will stick.

Joanna Schwartz, CEO and co-founder, EarlyShares

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I think we have a long runway largely because migration to South Florida will continue both because of lower taxes (domestic) and international because of the perceived safety of the U.S. Also, there is not nearly as much leverage in the market place. Over half of new homes being purchased are for cash and banks are being much more conservative in their lending practices. This somewhat mitigates the potential for a bubble in real estate.

Dave Seleski, president and CEO, Stonegate Bank

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I believe we will continue an incremental upward trajectory for the foreseeable future because of what we offer a global market. We have longtime been considered a natural partner to Latin America — but today, with our emerging industries such as biotech, healthcare and technology, coupled with our international airports and expanded sea ports, this is extending to other parts of the globe as well.

Darryl K. Sharpton, president and CEO, The Sharpton Group

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While the momentum may soften in time, South Florida will continue to rise as a world-class business center and top investment destination. Why? Favorable tax structure, great weather, interesting people, crossroads location.

Andrew Smulian, chairman and CEO, Akerman LLP

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I think it has some real strength and will last; it’s turning the corner and becoming a place that people want to be for more than climate and vacations. The city’s cultural institutions are one component of that, the emerging technology sector another, but its greatest asset is its people. Our rich diversity brings talent and opportunity, and has a global view — essential for success.

Gillian Thomas, president and CEO, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science

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I’m not at all qualified to answer this question; however, if prices for real estate, goods and services continue to rise, they will price a lot of individuals out of making purchases, which could cause a significant reduction in local sales and taxes.

Paco Velez, CEO, Feeding South Florida

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I think it’s unstoppable. Our community is so vibrant, dynamic and electric. We are seasonal and cyclical — what’s strong today may not be strong tomorrow, but we will always have areas of growth.

Alina Villasante, founder, Peace Love World clothing

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Our current upward trajectory will continue for the next 10-15 years, as many of these developments, such as our push to become a tech hub or the urban revitalization of areas including Wynwood and Liberty City, haven’t reached maturity.

Marlon Williams, founder and CEO, Fenero

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I feel that it will continue for at least a few more years to come. Miami is just starting to realize its own potential as a truly world class city, which will continue to attract investment from European and South American markets.

John Wood, president, Amicon Construction

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