Cuba-U.S. policy change could benefit Miami developers, builders

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

The South Florida economy could benefit from the normalization of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba that President Barack Obama announced this week.

Industries that could — eventually — see an upside thanks to the newly established diplomatic relations between the countries include banking, shipping, trade, travel and real estate.

The head of Miami-based construction firm Coastal Construction Group, Tom Murphy, told the Miami Herald the new policy was “a first step,” and he’d like to see the embargo lifted next. Murphy said that could provide new business opportunities for those in Miami’s real estate industry. “I think a lot of good developers and builders would head to Cuba. The best thing we could do is go in and rebuild the place. And while we’re at it, let’s build a couple of casinos,” he told the paper.

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The new relationship also means U.S. banks can open correspondent accounts in Cuba. “From an initial take this should be a lift for banks in the South Florida area, in the areas of trade finance and remittances,” David Schwartz, president and chief executive of the Florida International Bankers Association in Miami, told the Herald. [Miami Herald] Heather Grossmann