Tag Archive for: opportunity zones

There is a wave of investors who are currently selling their New York-based properties to invest in the South Florida area. Why?

Mainly because of the recent rent control law and its negative impact on returns on investments. It has been estimated, for example, apartment property values dropped 20%-30% as soon as the laws went into effect. Some investors are now mainly focused on getting their money out of New York and are looking to invest in properties that will produce better yields—specifically in non-regulated rent control markets, such as South Florida.

Why South Florida?

“There is zero incentive for New York multifamily investors to purchase a building and spend money on renovations if they can’t raise rents in these rent-controlled environments. Florida has always been a market with attractive yields. This is why most NY investors are choosing South Florida,” says Rafael Fermoselle, managing partner of Eleventrust Real Estate. “They either have their New York properties under contract to be sold, have already sold them, are in 1031 exchanges, or in some cases looking for diversification.”

Investors are selling their assets in New York and reinvesting in deals that yield more and ideally, are located under one roof. However, since Miami’s inventory is compressed with a lot of smaller multifamily properties and it’s difficult to find buildings with high unit counts under one roof, investors are turning to multifamily portfolios that are comprised of 4 – 8 buildings totaling 50-120 units. Although not all under one roof, investors are finding the 100+ units they are seeking with room to add value.

“Investors are working closely with Eleventrust because we have the inventory other brokerages don’t, plus, many of the deals they are transacting are happening off market, which many investors prefer,” explains Fermoselle.

Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones are another big reason why this new wave of investors are looking to South Florida. Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are among the best places to invest in Opportunity Zones. There are about 123 Opportunity Zones in South Florida, including 67 in Miami-Dade, 30 in Broward and 26 in Palm Beach counties.

“Almost 16% of South Florida’s commercial assets are located in Opportunity Zones, one of the highest rates in the nation,” Fermoselle tells GlobeSt.com.

Tax Savings

New York investors looking to move to Florida also benefits from the state not having an income tax for Florida residents. New York state tax rates range from 4% to 8.82%. Additionally, the effective real estate property tax rate for Florida residents is approximately 0.98%, compared to 1.68% in New York.

New York investors will also save on capital gains tax in Florida where the top marginal tax rate on capital gains in Florida is 25% and top marginal tax rates on capital gains in New York is 33.82%.

“We currently have 4 successful deals with New York investors including multifamily properties with 9-18 units,” says Fermoselle. “We also have properties located in emerging neighborhoods that are garnering interest from east coast investors.”


Source: GlobeSt.

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

Developers are finally putting shovels in the ground and deploying capital in Opportunity Zones in South Florida and across the country.

But with 124 qualified Opportunity Zones in South Florida, developers, brokers and investors at a recent Bisnow panel said they are largely focusing their attention on projects near Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach’s urban core.

Jaime Sturgis of the Fort Lauderdale-based brokerage Native Realty said his company is involved in about 10 Opportunity Zone projects. Most of the projects are around 13th Street and Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale, where interest in the area was already promising and density is high.

“There is a finite amount of land in Flagler Village,” Sturgis said during the Opportunity Zones event held at Sistrunk Market & Brewery in Fort Lauderdale. “That is another reason Opportunity Zone investors are flocking to the area.”

The Opportunity Zones program was part of President Trump’s tax plan, and was designed to encourage investment into low-income and distressed areas. Real estate developers quickly became enamored with the program, and large real estate investment funds such as EJF Capital and RXR Realty sought to raise substantial Opportunity Zone funds.

The benefit for developers and investors in an Opportunity Zone is the ability to defer and potentially forgo paying capital-gains taxes. Yet some owners of property in Opportunity Zones are listing them at prices that are much higher than investors want to pay, panelists said.

“Some folks think that the Opportunity Zone supercharges the value of your land,” said Dale Reed, an executive at Merrimac Ventures. “They are unrealistic on what their land deals are worth.”

Daniel Lebensohn, co-founder of Aventura-based BH3, is planning to build a $100 million mixed-use project in an Opportunity Zone on West Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. He said that high land prices across South Florida will come down in the future once property owners realize that smart investors won’t pay the prices property owners are demanding.

“It’s like the tulip craze” said Lebensohn, referring to tulip mania in the 17th century, when tulips reached ridiculously high prices and then fell sharply.

Panelists also agreed that Opportunity Zone incentives alone would not lead them to invest in a project. Most already had secured the land and had the projects penciled out before the legislation came out in 2017.

“Merrimac Ventures invested in two projects before the regulations were in released,” Reed said. “The two projects we did were because they were in the Community Redevelopment Agency area — that’s really the driving force with those projects initially.”

Nick Rojo with Affiliated Development, who is building SIX13, a 142-unit workforce apartment complex at 13 Northwest Third Avenue near Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village, pointed out that Affiliated’s project is getting $7 million in gap financing from the Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency to complete the project.

“Still,  the program helps make deals more feasible, especially since rents have gone up in Flagler Village and other areas,” Sturgis said. “The Opportunity Zone is the icing on the cake, its makes the pot that much sweeter.”


Source: The Real Deal

opportunity zones

Most real estate professionals are now aware that the federal Opportunity Zone tax incentive program became effective in 2018 and that Qualified Opportunity Zones are located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

In Southern Florida, in Miami-Dade County, areas such as Coral Gables, South Miami, Hialeah and Wynwood will likely be hot spots for Opportunity Zone investment given their access to road systems and water. In Broward County, parts of Pompano Beach, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood are likely to see investment interest given their access to existing highways and rail systems already in place.

Developers will likely seek to purchase land in these areas in order to build with their own capital and/or equity from Opportunity Zone investment vehicles in order to utilize cheaper sources of capital and, thereby, drive better development returns due to the ability to defer capital gains, reduce those capital gains, and, if the investor stays in the investment within the zone for more than ten years, and thereafter sells at a gain, 100 percent of the appreciated value is federally capital gains tax free!

The program is applicable to developers/owners/investors of all property types including multifamily rental, retail, hotels, industrial, commercial, office, industries, self-storage, assisted living, affordable housing, etc. Moreover, it applies to not only real estate investors but to those whom have sold personal property, including stock.

In order to maximize the “opportunity” of the Opportunity Zone program, developers and investors need to move quickly to take full advantage of the tax benefit as demand increases and the time period of eligibility diminishes. Developers and owners are entitled to rely on the proposed regulations now and need not wait for final implementing rules so long as they follow the regulations as stated. Since the program only lasts until 2026, the seven-year ability to reduce capital gains by 15 percent will disappear if investments in Florida are not made by 2019 and the five-year ability to reduce capital gains by 10 percent will disappear if not made by 2021.

One of the bills that the Florida legislature is considering during its 60-day session this year is a bill introduced by Democratic state Rep. Anika Omphroy from western Broward County. In it, she proposes the creation of development agencies for each opportunity zone in the state. Those agencies would include eight to 13 unpaid members each and they would be appointed by municipalities. The agencies would be responsible for developing strategic plans for each zone and applying for state incentives, including sales tax credits and a 60 percent reduction in property tax assessments for improvements made.

What will these South Florida owners and developers get from leveraging the Opportunity Zone program for their project? Appreciation of value of investments in qualified businesses or real estate within the Opportunity Zones that are held for at least 10 years are not subject to federal capital gains tax if the investment is sold prior to Dec. 31, 2047. Accordingly, the longer an entity has an investment within a Qualified Opportunity Fund within an Opportunity Zone, the more it can reduce its capital gain―either by 10 percent (if five years) or 15 percent (if seven years or longer).

Interested investors are already focusing on deploying capital in Florida and elsewhere in substantially improving various asset classes and in creating funds to deploy in investing in various asset classes.


Source: Commercial Property Executive


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

Miguel Pinto of APEX Capital Realty just signed the first two tenants at their Little River listing, known as an innovative warehouse complex that illustrates some of what he views as the top three trends/predictions for next year.

The Little River project at 300-320 NE 75th Street is an innovative warehouse complex that has been developed into a flexible multi-business space concept offering tailored tenant build-outs in 24 industrial spaces. They can be easily built-out and tailored to meet different space needs of each tenant and their particular individual business.

APEX Capital Realty founded in 2017 as a local boutique brokerage within a year began adding staff and expanding to a national market. Their focus continues to specialize on the urban core of Miami as well as other major cities throughout the US.

What are those three trends that he predicts for GlobeSt.com?

1. Tokenization, a new method of financing real estate deals.

“It will change how commercial real estate is done for the better in 2019,” he says. It makes ownership easier by using cryptocurrency into tokens that are stored on the blockchain. The effect is to allow virtually anyone to invest in a new and unique real estate asset class.

“For real estate investors, tokenization will be a new way to raise equity or debt on deals,” he says. It will also reduce a traditional reliance on banks and financial institutions for capital.

2. Opportunity Zones.

“This versatile program has the potential to stabilize and revitalize distressed neighborhoods and surrounding communities by unlocking private investment capital through a series of tax benefits,” he says.

The provision allows individual and corporate investors to defer capital gains tax until 2026 if those gains are reinvested into new construction or major rehabilitation of projects in economically depressed areas via designated opportunity funds.

“The expectation is that the added tax incentives will make investment in these disadvantaged areas just a little more enticing and add another option to the capital stack,” he says.

3. Industrial development/ecommerce is on the rise.

“The expansion of e-commerce is far from over, and the need for facilities to accommodate a denser distribution network is acute and will only increase over time,” he says.

He sees the redevelopment of infill properties becoming distribution facilities to increasingly meet market needs.

“I see investment in industrial space as a good bet for 2019 in all markets in the region. Last-Mile distribution centers will keep being built and filled as communities grow and expand and delivery time keeps shortening,” he says.


Source:  GlobeSt.