South Florida by the numbers: The politics of real estate

Oct.October 29, 2018 08:45 AM

Renderings of the Miami Freedom Park soccer complex and the Miami Beach Convention Center Hotel

“South Florida by the numbers” is a web feature that catalogs the most notable, quirky and surprising real estate statistics.

Here’s something to think about: by the time you read the next edition of this column, Floridians will have elected a new governor, chosen Bill Nelson or Rick Scott as their US senator, and voted on several critical amendments, not to mention some key congressional races. Exciting, right? Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, and early voting is already underway in one of the most significant mid-term elections of our time. Not surprisingly, real estate plays a big role on the Florida ballot, whether it is a major asset owned by powerful backers of candidates (or the candidates themselves), the root of a potential (but avoidable) tax crisis, or the basis of an inter-family disagreement. However things shake out, we certainly appreciate the opportunity to vote in free and fair elections. Let’s examine Florida’s real estate-politics nexus in this edition of “South Florida by the numbers.”

$5,000: Maximum amount one person can donate to a Florida candidate’s political action committee, but donors often make additional contributions through political parties and campaign committees, and via family members. This report from The Real Deal outlines every major Florida candidate’s biggest real estate donors, and their positions on key real estate issues.

#2: Florida amendment on the 2018 ballot that would permanently adopt an already-existing cap that limits property-tax assessment increases to 10 percent annually for “non-homestead” property, such as commercial or rental properties. (The purpose of the amendment is to prevent the repeal of the cap, which is scheduled to expire in 2019.) The Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, and Palm Beach Post have all endorsed a “yes” vote for the amendment, as have the property appraisers from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach county.

Nearly 1,000: Number of people who move to Florida per day, making real estate development a major statewide concern for voters. This report from August 2018 outlines the real estate holdings of all of Florida’s primary gubernatorial candidates at that time, and is remarkable for the modest assets of final nominees, Republican Ron DeSantis, whose reported net worth is $301K, and Democrat Andrew Gillum, who has a $377K mortgage on his home. These stand in sharp contrast to well-known millionaire and billionaire developers who were ultimately rejected by Florida voters.

3: Number of major real estate projects Miami and Miami Beach voters must consider on their 2018 ballots: the $1 billion Miami Freedom Park complex that would result in a 25,000-seat soccer stadium on the current site of the Melreese Country Club; an 800-room hotel next to the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center; and a four-tower, mixed-use project (with public amenities) along the Miami River.

60: Percentage of Miami Beach voters needed to approve the aforementioned Convention Center hotel; an effort led by Turnberry partner Jackie Soffer (along with husband Craig Robins and developer David Martin). This report outlines their campaign to have the project approved by voters; the efforts of her brother and fellow Turnberry partner Jeffrey Soffer (who owns the Mardi Gras casino, independent of the family business) to oppose Amendment #3, which would make it harder to expand gambling in Florida; and what can happen when the interests of powerful family members don’t align.

This column is produced by the Master Brokers Forum, a network of South Florida’s elite real estate professionals where membership is by invitation only and based on outstanding production, as well as ethical and professional behavior.

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