“I take every opportunity to gloat”: Francis Suarez talks Miami’s growth, challenges at The Real Deal’s New York Forum 

He again hinted at drone travel, underground tunnels to solve traffic issues 

Francis Suarez Touts Miami’s Growth, Issues at The Real Deal
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (Photos by Alive Coverage)

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez challenged New York City Mayor Eric Adams to a showdown at The Real Deal’s New York Real Estate Forum. 

Adams didn’t appear, but Suarez took the stage to promote Miami’s growth, publicly proclaim its support of Israel, and offer potential solutions to traffic and infrastructure concerns. 

Suarez spoke with TRD Founder and Publisher Amir Korangy, who jokingly asked the mayor if he had been robbed on the way to the event, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. Suarez was not. 

Francis Suarez Touts Miami’s Growth, Issues at The Real Deal
TRD’s Amir Korangy and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (Photos by Alive Coverage)

More than 1,000 people were in the standing-room-only space to hear the mayor speak. 

Suarez, whose relationship with disgraced developer Rishi Kapoor is under multiple investigations, touted Miami’s low taxes, a drop in homicides, and the growth in property values and office rents.  

“I take every opportunity to gloat,” he said.

When asked about how Miami is handling protests over Israel’s war on Gaza, Suarez said he has been “very morally clear.” 

“The minute the attacks happened on Oct. 7 we flew the Israeli flag at half mast at City Hall, ” he said, which drew applause from the crowd. 

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

He said that at a protest of about 70 people, seven were arrested for blocking traffic. “We have a zero tolerance policy,” he said, again drawing praise from attendees. 

Francis Suarez Touts Miami’s Growth, Issues at The Real Deal
TRD’s Amir Korangy and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (Photos by Alive Coverage)

Korangy asked Suarez about the effects of climate change and property insurance woes that the region faces. Suarez said that the history of deadly storms, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992, prepared Miami. 

“We’ve reduced our flood risk profile based on investments” in infrastructure for flood risk mitigation, he said. “We’ve suffered less hurricane damage than New York City since [Hurricane] Sandy.” 

When asked about traffic, Suarez said he is looking at working with urban air mobility companies, or passenger drones, as well as at what Elon Musk’s Boring Company is doing in Las Vegas, suggesting that the city could embrace the idea of underground tunnels. 

On the potential for oversupply of residential units, he said: “I never worry about oversupply. I worry much more about undersupply.” 

Korangy asked why Avenues The World School pulled out of its plans to build a campus in Miami. He said he had “no idea” why the school did that, given demand. “I know there were corporate issues” with Avenues, he added. 

Suarez didn’t address his relationship with Kapoor, whose former firm was paying Suarez as a consultant before Kapoor’s alleged real estate investment scheme imploded. Suarez recently testified before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, disclosing details about his role as a private consultant for the developer. The SEC is suing Kapoor, alleging that the former Location Ventures CEO defrauded investors who contributed $93 million for his real estate projects. Suarez’s relationship with Kapoor is at the center of probes from both the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics; and the FBI has a public corruption investigation into both of them.

To the crowd at TRD’s event, Suarez offered an invitation as his closing comments. 

“Move to Miami,” he said. “We want you, and we love you.”