ULI Miami Symposium

The ULI Miami Symposium is on of the biggest South Florida real estate events of the year. All South Florida real estate ballers will be in attendance. If you’re a baller or think you’re a baller, then you should attend. Attendee list can be found here.

Join ULI on Wednesday, November 13th for the 2019 Miami Symposium. Click here to register.

South Florida Needs a Real Regional Transportation & Planning Authority

Major thoroughfares like Interstate 95 northbound during rush hour can frustrate commuters, some of whom take 90 minutes to get to work, according to a new report by ApartmentList.com.
Source: WLRN

South Florida is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. Comprised of 3 counties, Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Palm Beach County, the area is home to approximately 6,700,000 people. Miami Dade County is comprised of 34 cities, Broward 30 cities, and Palm Beach County has an additional 39 cities. In total there are 103 cities in South Florida. South Florida also has 3 transit agencies (Miami-Dade Transit, Broward County Transit and Palm Tran), which are controlled by each respective county.

Who controls South Florida’s Roads?
Roads in South Florida are controlled either by the respective county or by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). For the most part, with the exception of the Miami Dade Expressway Authority (MDX), highways and interstates are entirely controlled by FDOT. Non-highways and interstates are controlled by the county or by FDOT. 

Rail in South Florida
Tri-Rail is a commuter rail line that links Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.  Tri-Rail is managed by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) and the rail line is owned by the Florida DOT. The 70.9-mile-long (114.1 km) system has 18 stations along the Southeast Florida coast, and connects directly to Amtrak at numerous stations, and to Metrorail at the Tri-Rail and Metrorail Transfer station and at Miami Airport station.

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority is a tri-county public transit authority operating out of Pompano Beach, serving Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. SFRTA was created by the Florida Legislature and enacted by the Florida Department of Transportation. The goal of  creating SFRTA was to expand cooperation between the Tri-Rail commuter rail service and the existing county public transport authorities: Broward County Transit, Miami-Dade Transit, and Palm Tran. Tri-Rail is solely operated by SFRTA.

Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, is an express inter-city rail system in South Florida. It is currently owned and operated by Fortress Investment Group.  Virgin Trains USA currently operates service between Miami and West Palm Beach with a train station in Fort Lauderdale. Virgin Trains USA is currently the United States’ only privately owned and operated intercity passenger railroad. Virgin Trains recently announced that it has secured funding to extend its current Miami to West Palm Beach route to Orlando. The extension will consist of 40 miles (64 km) of new track allowing for speeds of 125 mph (201 km/h). It will also include upgrading 129 miles (208 km) of existing track to allow for passenger trains to operate at 110 mph (180 km/h). When completed in 2022, it will be the only modern higher-speed passenger rail operated privately in the United States.

Zoning in South Florida
Since there are 103 municipalities in South Florida, that means each city has their own zoning code. In addition, there are areas in each of the 3 counties that are unincorporated (not part of an incorporated city, village or town), which falls under the purview of each respective county.  Effectively, South Florida has 106 unique zoning codes.  

Land-use and Mobility Options
In order for a multi-modal transit system to succeed in South Florida, cities must encourage density and mixed-uses.  Low density zoning, which encourages the separation of uses, only helps to perpetuates the use of the automobile. Cities which embrace density and mixed-use zoning encourage less dependency on the automobile and as a result promote mobility options such as walking, biking, scooter-use and public transit. 

South Florida: A hot mess when it comes to transportation and planning

With 106 zoning codes (103 cities & 3 counties) 3 transit agencies (Miami-Dade Transit, Broward Transit and Palm Tran,) 5 agencies that control South Florida roads (Miami Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, FDOT and MDX), 1 agency that controls Tri-Rail (SFRTA) and a privately owned inter-city rail system (Virgin Trains) it’s no wonder why South Florida is in the transportation and planning conundrum that we’re in.  The truth is there is hardly any coordination between these institutions.

To make matters even worse, several cities in Miami Dade County are now operating “trolleys” (a glorified bus), without coordinating with Miami Dade County Transit’s bus and rail schedules. 

There seems to be no coordinated effort to address South Florida’s future transit needs. If we want to attract an educated population and new businesses, transit needs to be at the top of the list of every elected official’s agenda.  South Florida needs a real Regional Transportation and Planning Authority with the power to make strategic planning and transit decisions on a tri-county level. 

Whatever we’re doing now (which seems like nothing) isn’t working. We can’t continue to piece-meal local and regional transit decisions. Regional planning and transit has been neglected by our elected officials for too long and our growing pains will only worsen if we continue with our current modus-operandi. 

Introduction to Urban Commercial Real Estate Development for Non-Developers

For anyone looking to elevate their commercial real estate game this course is highly recommended. Dive into Urban Commercial Real Estate Development through The U’s upcoming Intro to RED course on October 12, 2019 (8:30am -2:30pm). Learn the fundamentals to become a successful developer at this all-in-one MRED+U seminar taught by Prof. Steve Nostrand (of One Commercial)

Click here to register

Full disclosure: Steve was my professor while I was enrolled in the University of Miami’s Masters of Real Estate Development + Urbanism program. Steve is a real estate and a great teacher with decades of commercial real estate knowledge.

This seminar offers the keys to the core issues facing real estate developers today such as:

What type of developer do you want to be?
How developers make money
Assessing the real value of land
Understanding land use, zoning and other public policies
The keys to successful development
Managing risk
How to conduct a preliminary financial feasibility
Important financial terms and ratios
Key aspects of developing each property type
The integrated stages of development
The different types of leases
How to borrow money
Details of joint venture structures
Purchasing notes and distressed properties

Who should attend?

Real estate brokers and associates
Mortgage brokers
Financial advisors and planners
Public officials
Real estate owners
Property managers

Steve’s Bio:

As the third generation in his family to specialize in commercial real estate, Stephen has a diverse background in not only executive leadership, but CRE service lines including investments sales and leasing brokerage, development, debt and equity capital markets, project management, strategic planning, asset and property management, receiverships, training and education. Prior to joining ONE Commercial Real Estate, he was CEO/COO of NAI Miami and CEO of the Colliers International South Florida office. Mr. Nostrand is a professor in the Master of Real Estate Development + Urbanism program at the University of Miami.

Hollywood’s Potential: ULI Development & Investment Forum

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  • Click here to view event attendees

Hollywood has so much potential. Founded in 1925 it is now the twelfth-largest city in Florida. The city has an awesome historic downtown “Main Street” and great mid-century modern housing stock which is within walking distance of the CBD.

Source: Wikipedia

Hollywood grew quickly in the 1950’s and 1960’s, however in the last 40 years the city has not grown much. The last ten 10 years development has come to a virtual standstill, but things are starting to pick-up!

Housing units built per year in Hollywood, FL
Source: Gridics

Here are some of the best things about Hollywood:

  • Hollywood Beach boardwalk for biking
  • Well located between Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
  • Served by TriRail Station
  • Will likely benefit from Virgin Trains expansion with a Hollywood train station near the CBD
  • Excellent selection of restaurants to chooses from in the CBD

Open Letter to Governor DeSantis: Time to Reel In FDOT

Dear Governor DeSantis,

Here’s a summary of today’s meeting with FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault and District 6 Secretary Jim Wolfe regarding Biscayne Boulevard.

It became clear that FDOT will not make any safety improvements to Biscayne Boulevard anytime soon, even though there have been over 2,550 crashes in an 8 year period (3.3 mile stretch of Biscayne Boulevard) and there seems to be almost weekly car crashes where motor vehicles end up on the sidewalk and crashing into people, buildings, bus shelters, trees, mid-block crosswalk signals, light posts, fire hydrants, garbage cans, sign posts, etc.   

FDOT insists that the problem on Biscayne Boulevard is an “enforcement issue” and not a ”design issue”. The truth is that we cannot enforce our way out of this problem.  It is simply too expensive (police salary, pension, benefits, etc) and our police officers should be focused on more important things than issuing speeding tickets. FDOT needs to design roads that don’t encourage speeding and that requires as little enforcement as possible. It is possible to design roads that discourage speeding. However FDOT, for some reason, does not want to design roads with the safety of all users as their #1 priority.  This fact became painfully obvious during today’s meeting. 

In addition, in a brief side conversation I had with Secretary Thibault, it was suggested that if we wanted to make design changes to Biscayne Boulevard “the local municipality should take ownership/control of the road.”

Punting the problem to the local municipality, in this case the City of Miami, isn’t the solution. FDOT needs to own this problem (and also the fact that Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians and cyclists). FDOT needs to provide solutions not only to make Biscayne Boulevard safer, but to make all FDOT streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Does FDOT expect that all local municipalities should take over ownership of the thousands of miles of FDOT owned roads throughout the state so that FDOT doesn’t have to design streets with safety as the #1 priority?  

Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the country and most of this growth is happening in our cities. Pedestrian and cyclist deaths will continue to rise in Florida if FDOT is not reeled in. 

We need your help Governor DeSantis.  What can you do to help Floridians?

Felipe Azenha