Southeast is an exceptional place to live and work because a little piece of everything that makes Florida great is represented across these seven counties: Miles of bright blue ocean and sandy coastal beaches; five deep-water ports; four international airports; easy multi-modal access via rails and roads; a multicultural/multilingual workforce; outstanding educational institutions; world-class health care; and fun things to see and do.
Logistics & Transportation
Companies in need of seamless logistics are finding multiple options in Florida’s Southeast. Consider these developments in St. Lucie County alone:
• Opened in fall 2021: a 245,000-sq.-ft. FedEx Ground sorting center employing 700 package handlers now and 200 more to come;
• Opening in fall 2022: an Amazon fulfillment center employing 500+ full-time workers;
• Coming in 2023: a 427,000-sq.-ft. distribution center and food service warehouse employing 389 from the West Palm Beach-based food distributor Cheney Brothers.
Elsewhere, Florida’s Southeast ports are back to pre-pandemic status and payloads. In FY2021, PortMiami, the closest U.S. East Coast deep-water container port to the Panama Canal, boasted a record 1.254 million TEUs of containerized cargo, and with 1.038 million TEUs, Port Everglades wasn’t far behind.
On the cruising side, PortMiami and Port Everglades remain the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 cruise ports. Miami served 252,000+ passengers in 2021 and opened new terminals for Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival and Virgin Voyages, which launched its first Miami-origin cruise in 2022. Coming soon, MSC Cruises’ $450-million state-of-the-art terminal capable of servicing multiple cruise ships at one time, in 2023, and a new Miami headquarters for Royal Caribbean in 2024.
At Port Everglades, where the world’s largest cruise ship — Royal Caribbean’s “Wonder of the Seas” — embarked on its maiden voyage in March 2022, Disney Cruise Line is adding a homeport, while at the Port of Palm Beach, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines has rebranded as the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise, with 3-day/2-night cruising options to Freeport in Grand Bahama.
Air cargo activity is rebounding too. In 2021, Miami International handled 2.7 million tons of cargo compared to 2.3 million the previous year, thanks in part to major renovations/expansions by DHL Express and FedEx Express at their MIA cargo hubs. Air passenger numbers were even more impressive, doubling from 18.6 million in 2020 to 37.3 million in 2021 and setting MIA on a course to surpass 50 million air passengers in a single year soon.
Elsewhere, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport served 28.1 million passengers in 2021, up from 16.49 million the previous year, while Palm Beach International Airport handled 5.26 million passengers as it added economy flights to London, Oslo, Berlin and other European cities via Norse Atlantic Airways.
KEY PLAYERS: Amazon, Seattle, Wa.; DHL Express, Plantation; FedEx, Memphis, Tenn.
Finance & Technology
Southeast Florida has long been known as a place where wealthy entrepreneurs from the north build lavish second homes in anticipation of one day retiring beside the ocean. That’s not the case so much anymore.
Entrepreneurs are still moving to Southeast Florida, but they’re not waiting until retirement. They’re bringing their businesses — and in many cases their employees — with them. Much of that movement is taking place in the finance and technology sectors and in one case, it is changing the face of Miami quite literally.
When completed by the end of 2022, 830 Brickell will be the first new stand-alone office building to open in Miami’s financial district in more than a decade. Tenants in the 55-story building will include Microsoft with 50,000 square feet of space to house its Latin America regional team; private equity firm Thoma Bravo with 36,500 square feet; and Canadian asset management giant CI Financial, leasing 40,000 square feet for its U.S. headquarters. Standing 725 feet, 830 Brickell will be Miami’s second-tallest office building and the city’s fourth-tallest building over all after the 868-foot Panorama Tower, the Four Seasons Hotel Miami and the Southeast Financial Center.
Among other recent developments in Southeast’s thriving financial and technology sector:
• BlockTower Capital, an investment firm specializing in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, has moved its headquarters to Miami from New York.
• Paysend, a British financial-technology company with more than 6.5 million customers and 330 employees, has opened its Americas headquarters in downtown Miami. Paysend’s app enables businesses and individuals to send money to more than 150 countries.
• Investment firm Starwood Capital Group has opened a new headquarters building to house its 300 Miami-based corporate employees. Overall, the company employs about 4,000 people across 16 offices worldwide.
• As part of a significant expansion that will double its presence in Doral, global cloud technology leader Ingram Micro Cloud is recruiting in Miami to fill more than 200 positions. With operations in 50 countries, Ingram Micro Cloud is one of the world’s largest providers of cloud products and services.
• 1NCE, a German technology company with offices in nine countries, has chosen Miami for its North American headquarters, with plans to hire 100-150 employees over the next three years. 1NCE is an internet of things network carrier offering software and service at flat rates.
• San Francisco-based Okcoin, a cryptocurrency trading platform, has opened a Miami office to serve customers in Latin America.
• Miami has been named the new U.S. headquarters for Grover, a Berlin-based company which enables users to rent tech products by the month.
KEY PLAYERS: CI Financial, Toronto, Ont.; Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.; Thoma Bravo, Chicago, Ill.
Manufacturing continues to be an important business sector in Florida’s Southeast. Among companies that have planted solid roots here are: HEICO Corporation; Lufthansa Technik; Piper Aircraft; and Sintavia, which recently opened a 55,000-sq.-ft. high-tech additive manufacturing facility in Hollywood with plans to quadruple its production capacity of lightweight precision parts for aviation and aeronautics.
Recent developments include:
• Central Florida-based design-builder and manufacturer Finfrock has begun pouring concrete for a South Florida-based parking project at its new 140,000-sq.-ft. precast concrete manufacturing facility in Belle Glade, which is expected to have a $242 million economic impact on the region.
• And soon to join this busy Southeast sector is Accel International Holdings, which broke ground in Port St. Lucie in December 2021 on a new $55-million, 150,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility that is expected to employ 125 workers.
KEY PLAYERS: Automated Manufacturing Systems, West Palm Beach; Lufthansa Technik, Miami; Techtronic Industries, Fort Lauderdale
Seventeen Southeast Florida high schools were named among the top 250 nationwide in U.S. News & World Report’s “2022 Best U.S. High Schools” rankings. One of them — School for Advanced Studies in Miami — moved up a notch this year to claim fourth place overall. And for the third year in a row Miami-Dade Public Schools received an “A” rating from the Florida Department of Education.
This region is also home to 16 institutions of higher education, including:
• Florida International University, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022 and launching the world’s first master’s degree specializing in cruise line operations.
• Florida Memorial University, partnering with Slip-N-Slide Records CEO Ted Lucas to launch a Cyber Innovation Hub that helps students at this historically black university land high-paying technology jobs or start their own companies in cryptocurrency, cyber security, renewable energy and other tech fields.
• Indian River State College, winner of 47 men’s and 39 women’s consecutive NJCAA swimming and diving titles, welcoming the executive offices of USA Diving to its main campus in Fort Pierce.
• Miami Dade College, designated a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency for its cybersecurity curriculum.
• Nova Southeastern University, partnering with the Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center of Innovation and TD Bank Group to build a 200-job “technology hub” in South Florida.
• The University of Miami, entering the non-fungible token (NFT) market with its launch of Canes Vault, a platform for selling digital Hurricanes football collectibles.
• Broward College, recognized as one of the nation’s top community colleges as a “finalist with distinction” in the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
Florida’s Southeast has good reason to crow about its health care capabilities starting with its 19th consecutive No. 1 position in ophthalmology awarded by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals 2022-23” to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami. Also achieving top 50 marks at UM were neurology and neurosurgery (No. 25) and cancer (No. 48). Elsewhere in the region, Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston earned the No. 37 in gastroenterology & GI surgery, while Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach came in at No. 49 in geriatrics.
Pediatric facilities in Southeast Florida fared well too. On U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals 2022-23,” Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, took honors in five pediatric specialties: neurology and neurosurgery (No. 25); pulmonology and lung surgery (No. 34); orthopedics (No. 39); neonatology (No. 41); and cardiology and heart surgery (No. 49). Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami was also recognized in five specialties: pediatric neurology and neurosurgery (No. 25); pediatric pulmonology and lung surgery (No. 34); neonatology (No. 41); pediatric orthopedics (No. 44); and pediatric cardiology and heart surgery (No. 47). And weighing in with just one specialty was Holtz Children’s Hospital at UM-Jackson with the No. 40 in pediatric diabetes and endocrinology.
In other news, a flurry of new health care facilities are either recently completed or on the way:
• Jackson Memorial, Miami-Dade’s publicly funded health system, has opened a hospital in Doral to serve one of the region’s fastest-growing neighborhoods.
• In Broward County, HCA has opened its new Florida University Hospital next to the Nova Southeastern University campus in Davie.
• Baptist Health South Florida is on target to complete a $110-million expansion of its West Kendall hospital by the end of 2022.
• Also scheduled for completion in 2022: the expansion of Memorial Healthcare Systems’ Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to 300,000 square feet. and eight stories.
Life & Leisure
Natural Adventures Galore
If you’re a fan of sand and saltwater, this is your paradise. No land-locked counties here, and it’s the only place where, in a single day, you can watch a sunrise over the Atlantic, drive “overseas” and arrive in time to catch a sunset over the gulf. In between, there’s plenty more to see and do including three national parks: Biscayne, within reach of the Miami skyline; Everglades, a river of grass just outside the city; and Dry Tortugas, 70 miles off the coast of Key West accessible only by boat or seaplane.
An Aging Beauty … Revived!
The Boca Raton, an iconic hotel first opened in 1926 along the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach, is looking way younger than her age these days! Thanks to a well-deserved makeover, she’s grown from 100 rooms to more than 1,000 and has added a boatload of amenities, including two 18-hole golf courses; a 50,000-sq.-ft. spa; seven swimming pools; 30 tennis courts; 13 restaurants and bars; and 200,000-sq.-ft. of meeting space.
Calling all soccer fans: The World Cup is coming to South Florida! Word arrived in June 2022 that FIFA has selected Miami Gardens’ Hard Rock Stadium as one of 16 sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to host matches for its 2026 World Cup competition.
Meanwhile, David Beckham’s dream to build a stadium for his soccer team in Miami cleared another hurdle in September 2022 when he and his co-owners Jorge and Jose Mas won the final zoning vote that will allow construction to begin on their Miami Freedom Park project. In addition to a soccer stadium, the development will include space for shops, offices, integrated bike paths and a park.