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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

South Florida Is Gearing Up For A Star Studded 2011

Now that the holidays are behind us, most of us are looking forward to a new year filled with opportunity and a renewed sense of purpose and direction. Many of us have developed agendas, plans and strategies focused on self-improvement in all areas of our lives, ranging from the professional to the financial to the personal. As South Floridians, our economy probably tops the list of critical items in need of development. Americans are renowned for their dynamism and resilience, and nowhere is that amazing quality more prevalent than in South Florida.
Our local media, however, seems unshakable in their profound obsession with pessimism over our economic future. Just this morning, I read a two page article in the local paper that chronologically rehashed the events of the last five years in the Florida real estate market. As if any of us need to be reminded at this point! If ever there was an industry that could be diagnosed with clinical depression and OCD, the media would be it. Unlike the traditional variety of bipolar disease and related maladies, however, this strain is potentially contagious through continued exposure! Unless they undergo treatment and soon, newspapers and other news sources may soon be required to come with a Surgeon General warning.
Fortunately, many of us have had our fill of the media’s attacks on our communities and our market. The incessant onslaught of negative coverage has served to inoculate us, and I believe that residents, businesses and local government are beginning to develop a mindset determined to categorically prove them wrong. Business and government leaders in our area seem to be coalescing in a way that has not happened at any time in recent memory.
On January 11th, JP Morgan Chase in conjunction with The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2011 South Florida Economic Summit at the Jungle Island in Miami. The goal is to provide knowledge, insight and a clear outlook for opportunity and business prospects in South Florida throughout 2011. Governor Rick Scott and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan headline the list of prominent speakers and distinguished guests from the South Florida business community and political arena. The Summit will feature no less than 20 leaders and visionaries from all key business sectors including commercial and residential real estate, healthcare and technology, banking, travel and tourism, retail and automotive sales, and international trade.
The film and entertainment industry is also alive and well in the Sunshine State, and South Florida is leading the way. Last year, the state approved a $242M incentive program to attract the film industry to our shores, and the results have been sensational. No less than four feature films and four television series are currently in production in South Florida alone, with numerous others slated for 2011. There’s even talk of a new Charlie’s Angels series being brought down to Miami. When film crews, production staff and celebrities go on location, the entire local economy gets a shot in the arm. They need transportation, hotels and hospitality services, real estate, professional services, warehousing and just about everything else to support their productions. In addition and as we know from previous experience, the amount of publicity and exposure that comes from being a preferred location for the film industry brings long term investment and drives businesses and individuals to live, invest and spend their vacation dollars as well.

They say the internet has sounded the death knell to print media. That is probably a true statement, for the most part. Beyond that, however, I truly believe the predominant gloom and doom they push has had a debilitating effect on their credibility, impact and business. I’m not saying they need to start believing in the tooth fairy again. I am saying they need to start believing in South Florida, and in the USA.