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Amazon is opening a 250,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Coral Springs to serve as a “last-mile” distribution center for the city and surrounding communities, according to Coral Springs officials.

The new center will provide 200 full-time jobs. It will be in the city’s Commerce Park, leasing space in the Exeter Property Group facility.

Amazon also purchased $3.5 million property in the south end of the corporate park to be used for truck parking and employee parking.

“Business expansion and job creation are essential to the growth and vibrancy of the City of Coral Springs and the reason we are excited to welcome Amazon to our Commerce Park,” Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook said in a statement. “The creation of 200 full-time, diverse jobs in a post-pandemic climate is the boost we needed to jump start a stronger economy long term.”

Amazon has been expanding operations across South Florida as part of its efforts to get products faster to customers. In Tamarac, the global e-commerce giant is opening a same-day fulfillment center in the city’s industrial zone with the goal of delivering items to customers within about five hours, city officials said.

Brook added: “Their move to the newly built 250,000 square foot warehouse facility, is a strong signal to other large employers and industry leaders the benefits of our city’s location to the Sawgrass Expressway and connectivity to neighboring communities.”

Brook credited Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance in working with city staff to help bring Amazon to Coral Springs.

It’s not clear yet when the new facility will open. Amazon could not be reached for comment.

Source: TapInto

With two well-situated Opportunity Zones, zoning changes and a robust street improvement program, the City of Hollywood is attracting major commercial real estate developers and investors.

“Our strategic location and public investments – coupled with the tax benefits of the federal Opportunity Zone program – have set the stage for new developments that benefit our community,” said Herb Conde-Parlato, economic development manager, City of Hollywood. “We are now reviewing three new projects that could add vitality to our local economy by creating new jobs, while offering a wider array of housing, dining and shopping options to our residents.”

Those Opportunity Zone projects include:

  • Parc Place, the former “Bread Building” at 1745 Van Buren Street just south of Young Circle Park. Redevelopment stalled about a decade ago, but has been revived by developer BTI, said Conde-Parlato. Plans call for a 25-story tower mixed-use luxury apartment complex development in one phase. The project consists of 433 new apartments, 560 parking spaces and 17,000 square feet of commercial retail space. “This development would bring residential and retail vitality to our city and contribute to the walkability of our downtown core.”
  • Soleste, a residential-retail project at 2001 Hollywood Boulevard in the downtown area. Miami-based Estate Investment Group is planning the development, which would include 350 apartments, 30,000 square feet of retail space and 497 parking spaces.
  • A new hotel and restaurant at 2801 Greene Street in the South Florida Design and Commerce Center, a 150-acre mixed-use business park along Interstate 95. This $35 million investment would include 242 rooms and 162 parking spaces.

“We have many other new retail, office, multifamily and industrial real estate projects in the pipeline, but not all are seeking tax benefits under the Opportunity Zone program,” said Conde-Parlato.

Established by the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic growth by reducing capital gains taxes on qualifying investments in designated geographic areas. The City of Hollywood moved quickly to capitalize on two large-scale Opportunity Zone designations, one in the downtown that includes all of Young Circle and the area between two major corridors, Federal Highway and Dixie Highway, and another on both sides of I-95 between Sheridan Street and Stirling Road.

By creating Opportunity Zone funds, investors can acquire and improve properties in these areas, while deferring any taxes on capital gains until Dec. 31, 2026. If the investment is held for five years, the original capital gains taxes are reduced by 10 percent; after seven years that deduction increases to 15 percent.

“Those opportunity fund investments must be entitled before year-end 2019 in order to take advantage of the 15 percent deduction,” said Raelin Storey, director of communications, marketing and economic development for the City of Hollywood. “That’s one reason why our city is seeing an upswing in development activity in the past few months. The City of Hollywood was ahead of the curve in marketing its Opportunity Zones, drawing a wave of interest among property owners, developers and investors. The tax advantages have helped make new projects more feasible, since the funds can be included in the development team’s capital structure. It’s an innovative approach to creating new business and real estate opportunities. Now, the city is working with the real estate investment community to bring forward well-designed projects that meet the standards of the city’s commercial and mixed-use zoning codes.”

Looking ahead, the city’s Opportunity Zones hold a potentially even bigger benefit for long-term investors – a permanent tax break.

“If you sell your investment after holding it for 10 years or longer, you would not have to pay any capital gains on the increased value of the property,” said Storey. “That’s really the ultimate advantage to investing in our Opportunity Zones.”

 

Source: SFBJ

cash

The Miami Herald CEO Roundtable, a weekly feature in the Miami Herald Business Monday, ask South Florida CEOs a question each week.

This week’s question is: Should the State of Florida and local governments be offering tax breaks and incentives to lure businesses?

Here are answers from some prominent South Florida CEOs:

  • Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

Because these incentives are offered by other states and local governments, we will need to do so as well. It will be important, however, to ensure that the incentives offered are appropriate and that the true economic benefits of the business being located here are clear and compelling.

  • Jim Angleton, CEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

Absolutely, and more: Tax Opportunity Zones, Empowerment Zones, CRA, and play up LatAm Hub. We need to focus upon technology, cyber, AI tax incentives, real community services and favorable talent pool.

  • Wael Barsoum, M.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

Florida is a relatively low tax state, but we tend to have higher local taxes. Tax incentives are one way to help level the playing field.

  • Agostinho Alfonso Macedo, president and CEO of Ocean Bank

Tax incentives to lure new business have become part and parcel of the arsenal that economic development agencies such as the Beacon Council use to attract new businesses. They are needed and should be maintained.

  • Bill Diggs, president, The Mourning Family Foundation

Of course we should. It is more a matter of what those incentives should include. One area that we must do a better job with is our film and motion picture industry opportunities. With the attraction of Florida and Miami weather, we should have a more robust film industry.

  • Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

I am a believer in offering reasonable incentives including tax breaks to attract new businesses and/or entice the expansion of current operations in South Florida for several reasons. First, although South Florida does have a thriving small business and start-up community, we don’t have many large corporations that employ thousands upon thousands of people. Second, and as a defensive measure, in order for us to keep the few large businesses we have and those that are growing rapidly and making decisions on where to locate, we need to be competitive. And third, we want to entice and encourage growth of our current businesses that might not have invested otherwise. All three of these constituencies will add employees that will live and work in South Florida. They will pay property and sales taxes, more jobs will be created, and we will be able to improve our long-term infrastructure. That said, we have to negotiate long-term and rock-solid agreements that guarantee those benefits will actually happen in exchange for the incentives that we provide.

  • Chelsea Wilkerson, CEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

Yes, the state of Florida and local governments should be able to offer tax breaks and incentives to lure business when those benefits are thoughtfully and clearly measured. These types of incentives have become a standard recruitment and negotiation tool. If we do not use them, we are less competitive and will miss opportunities. However, tax breaks should be used among a mix of incentives — each with its own return on investment and parameters for use.

  • Dorcas L. Wilcox, CEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

As a state that is dependent on tourism, Florida should offer all it can to recruit legitimate, profitable businesses that will provide jobs and promote traditional family values.

  • Gregory Adam Haile, president of Broward College

A 2017 report from the Pew Charitable Trust estimates that state and local governments spend at least $45 billion a year on tax breaks and other incentives to lure or keep job-producing businesses and plants in their jurisdictions, but that this does not always yield the necessary returns. Careful evaluation and monitoring are needed to ensure that the incentives are achieving their intended goals. While incentives have their benefits, it takes more to attract businesses. The state must also invest in other necessary resources and services critical not only for business establishment but their competitiveness and profitability. These include ensuring it can offer an educated and diverse pool of labor, affordable housing, and services such as transportation access that will attract residents.

  • Jorge Gonzalez, president and CEO, City National Bank

Yes. We need to drive investment that creates employment in sectors that will solidify our future.

  • Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO, of Black Dragon Capital

Tax breaks and incentives are instrumental for state and local economic developers to lure jobs to a region. The benefits will outweigh spending, but the burden should be on the governments to ensure costly incentives aren’t a waste of taxpayer dollars. Florida’s lack of a personal income tax and a relatively low corporate income tax rate help to create an exceptional business climate.

  • Paul Singerman, co-chair of Berger Singerman

I think that the state of Florida and local governments should be smart about tax breaks and incentives to lure business. To be sure, I do not think that Florida or local governments should adopt a per se rule against tax breaks and incentives to lure business. Florida and local governments should take these opportunities up whenever possible and evaluate each on its own merits. Relevant questions include: Is this business good for our citizens? Is this an industry that enhances our communities? Are there significant environmental issues that would be implicated by the business of a prospective new entrant to our markets? If tax breaks and incentives are offered, is there a sound return on investment thatthe state and local governments could enjoy?

  • James “Jimmy” Tate, co-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital; co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

I do believe in incentive programs as long as they are properly monitored and the people responsible for making these determinations follow a strict formula which eliminates biases or the possibility of personal gain. There should be a cost/benefit analysis performed on all such proposals and if the analysis shows the transaction is accretive to the city, county or state, then you do the deal. If it is not accretive, then you walk.

  • Rashad D. Thomas, vice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

In order to compete with the other leading cities in the nation, it is necessary. Miami-Dade currently offers several tax credits and business incentives to attract new businesses, such as the Urban Jobs Tax Credit. This program provides up to $1,000 tax credit per job for new businesses with a minimum of 20 new jobs and for existing businesses with a minimum of 10 new jobs, which are regular and full-time (36 hours or more per week). The State of Florida has lost several projects because of its inability to create a film tax break. It has been reported that the $296 million allocated in state tax incentives, intended to last until 2016, had been spent by 2014, with “Ballers” and “Bloodline.” They were the last two major projects that received state funds. Two years later, the program was shut down. Florida is now currently the only Southeastern state without a program to attract film and television productions. While neighboring states like Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama continue to benefit from the expanding industry.

  • Manny Angelo Varas, president and CEO of MV Construction Group

I believe the city should create tax incentives to lure businesses based on employment and taxable revenue generated.

 

Source: Miami Herald

South Florida officials have a message for Amazon and Jeff Bezos: Baby come back.

The Washington Post just reported that Amazon is reconsidering its decision to award New York City part of its HQ2 project, which the company has said would come with 25,000 jobs and billions in local investment. Amazon is facing what the Post calls a wave of opposition from local elected officials about the prospect of giving financial subsidies to the world’s most valuable company. Amazon has not yet leased any land there, the Post reported.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says he hasn’t heard from Amazon since the e-commerce giant broke the news to him and other South Florida officials that the region came up short in its bid to land HQ2. Miami’s bid, jointly submitted with Broward and Palm Beach counties, did land the region on a short-list of 20 finalists.

In a statement, Gimenez said he is ready to start things up again whenever Amazon is.

“If Amazon is reconsidering getting out of its plan to open a headquarters in New York, as has been reported by the Washington Post, we welcome the opportunity to talk further with the e-commerce giant,” Mayor Gimenez said.

A spokesperson for Miami WorldCenter, which had been considered as a potential landing spot for a hypothetical Miami HQ2, said Amazon has not gotten back in touch about any new projects.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In November, the company announced the other half of the HQ2 project would be located in Northern Virginia. It also announced it planned to open an additional, 5,000-person office in Nashville, Tennessee.

The details of the package South Florida pitched to Amazon have still not been revealed. A spokesman for the Miami-Dade Beacon Council said a freedom of information request filed by the Miami Herald for the information is still being processed.

At a recent panel discussion about lessons learned from the process, Mike Finney, president and CEO of the Beacon Council, did not mention any specific feedback he’d received from Amazon officials about South Florida’s bid. The event was sponsored by the Miami Herald.

In a statement, Finney said the fact that the HQ2 project has been split into two now makes Miami even better positioned for it.

“The change in scope — given jobs and investment were ultimately divided among multiple communities — further enhances Miami’s opportunity to successfully deliver on the kind of partnership we know Amazon is looking for,” Finney said.

He confirmed that he has not engaged in conversations revisiting Amazon bringing any part of HQ2 to South Florida since Amazon’s final announcement was made.

Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board, said she too would welcome Amazon back.

“We’re open for any new opportunities,” Smallridge said.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he planned to reach out directly to Bezos to pitch the Magic City.

We are the only global city in America with the talent, tax favorable environment and tactical position to fit a global logistics company like Amazon,” Mayor Suarez said in a statement.

And Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer tweeted, “Hey , heard many NYS leaders oppose deal for your 2nd HQ. We have 0% income tax & lower property taxes in , so you can come to  for a lot less cost, stress & cold. Be happy in  like many HQs. See recent  reports & !”

A spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether he had reached out to Amazon officials. Following the Washington Post report, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker had already reached out to Amazon officials asking them to reconsider Chicago as an HQ2 location.

 

Source: Miami Herald

One lesson learned from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance‘s past two annual trips: a city’s brand matters.

About 80 members of the Fort Lauderdale business community returned from a four-day trip to Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday. The trip was led by Broward County‘s economic development partnership, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. The group met with city officials and leaders in the Nashville business community to discuss common challenges and best practices impacting the two areas.

The trip follows a similar trip to Austin, Texas last year to gain a better understanding of how other cities are attracting companies and fostering economic growth.

In an interview with the Business Journal, Bob Swindell said that one key insight he learned was how Nashville’s Music City brand has helped the city attract talent and create a camaraderie among residents.

“Their brand music is a brand that everyone can relate to,” said Swindell. “They own their brand.”

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance had a similar takeaway on the importance of branding when the group visited Austin last year, which has worked to create a reputation as a technology hub.

“We learned to recognize Greater Fort Lauderdale’s and South Florida’s many strengths, and that perhaps we need to take a page from the Texas playbook and brag a bit more,” Swindell said. “Another lesson learned from the Nashville trip was just how much the two cities have in common.”

In addition to both being named finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters, the two cities face similar major challenges pertaining to workforce housing, homelessness and transportation.

Swindell said transportation, in particular, has been a big focus of Nashville Mayor Megan Berry, who has been communicating the need for action with the city’s business community.

“She says that today will be your best transportation day,” said Swindell, meaning that the problem is getting worse everyday and the need for action is imperative.

Other highlights of the trip included discussions on:

  • How to better align educational programs with target industries with Nashville’s Labor Educational Alignment Committee
  • Innovations in health care at Nashville’s DNA bank
  • Research collaborations and how to take that tech to market with the Vanderbilt Innovation Center
  • How to attract and develop more high-tech companies with the Nashville Technology Council

The trip was funded through several sponsors including JetBlue, the Florida Panthers, the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Executive Airport and Signature Grand.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance recently released its 2017 fiscal year results, which showed that the organization assisted more than 300 companies and surpassed its original goals for job creation and retention. For the 2017 fiscal year, the economic development partnership brought in 1,978 new jobs, exceeding initial expectations by 24 percent.

 

Source: SFBJ

A new marine industry foreign trade zone has gotten the green light to take off in Fort Lauderdale.

Trade group Marine Industry Association of South Florida said this week it’s won approval from the Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Board and Fort Lauderdale’s FTZ No. 241, to create a 16-site foreign trade subzone.

“This is a first of its kind in the United States,” said Phil Purcell, MIASF executive director, in a statement. “Fort Lauderdale is already known as the yachting capital of the world and will now be known for introducing the first FTZ subzone dedicated to the recreational boating industry.”

FTZ restricted-access sites are shielded from the immediate imposition of duties by U.S. Customs, and are empowered to defer, reduce, or eliminate them on foreign products.

“The 16 businesses that will be included in the subzone operate as either a commercial marina, marine parts and components business or a yacht repair facility,” MIASF spokeswoman Kelly Skidmore said.

“Now that the initial filing for FTZ status has been approved, we are excited to begin working with each marina or marine distributor site to activate in compliance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations,” said Gary Goldfarb, chief strategy officer of Interport Logistics of Miami, an FTZ operator and advisor. “There are so many more options for the industry under a FTZ and, as a result, we expect this will be a very active sector for jobs for years to come.”

Others agree.

“Strengthening our marine industry by creating an environment that will encourage more business is the key reason to pursue Foreign Trade Zone activity,” said Karen Reese, administrator for the city’s FTZ No. 241, based at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

“Providing economic incentives through our Foreign Trade Zone program will enable marine industry businesses to free up important resources that can be used to expand operations, increase revenue, and create additional jobs and career opportunities for our community, while also serving as a valuable tool for future business attraction and retention,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said.

 

Source: SunSentinel