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Monthly Archives: February 2013

South Florida Biotech
Posted On February 28, 2013 Posted By: admin

South Florida Biotech

South Florida has several areas of improvement. We recently talked about the improved real estate environment and how we are recovering faster than the national average. Here is some additional news that bauds well for the South Florida economic environment thanks to Biotech.

New data from University of Florida‘s Sid Martin Biotechnology incubator shows that Florida’s life science sector continues to grow at a faster pace than the nation’s.

Biotech deals grew by 27 percent in 2012, to 19 deals from 15 in the previous year, and venture capital dollars rose to $103.5 million, a 19 percent increase over 2011.

Separately, Palm Beach County said Monday it has a contract with Kolter Homes to develop the 800-acre Briger tract in Palm Beach Gardens, adjacent to Scripps Florida research institute in Jupiter. Besides housing, 170 acres is reserved for biotech that could include lab space, biotech companies, a teaching hospital and medical offices, said Shannon LaRocque, assistant county administrator.

“This is a milestone,” she said, saying the county’s vision was to build a cluster of development around Scripps.

Biotech investment in Florida still pales in comparison to other states in actual dollars, BioFlorida’s report says, but the percentage growth of funding is outpacing the national average. In 2012, there was a 13 percent decline in life science funding, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

 

In the analysis by the incubator and BioFlorida, the industry has grown more than 60 percent during the past five years — bringing the total number of biotechnology companies to 219. The nation’s biotechnology sector grew 5 percent over the same period, according to Ernst & Young and Nature Biotechnology.

The goal of venture capitalists is generally to sell a company or take it public to provide a return for investors. But that success also can mean a loss of jobs, as in the case of Envoy Therapeutics. Envoy originally moved to Jupiter to work with Scripps Florida, which screened compounds for potential drug development for Envoy. The company now is working on improved treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

Last year, Envoy was acquired by San Diego-based Takeda in a $140 million deal that will move the company and its key staff to California.

Still, Envoy’s success has brought new business to Scripps, said Peter Hodder, who leads Scripps’ commercialization efforts. “It says ‘South Florida is a place where you can be successful.’”

In South Florida, the report notes Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, which opened its new $64 million center in Jupiter last fall, and Palm Beach State College’s biotechnology program have successfully placed most of its graduates into full-time employment.

Although South Florida is better known for its real estate and hospitality industries, it now can also count biotech as one of its fastest growing industries.

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South Florida Outpacing Its Regional Neighbors in Economic Recovery
Posted On February 20, 2013 Posted By: admin

South Florida is outpacing its regional peers in its economic recovery. Although we are far from having fully recovered, the trends and pace of recovery are very promising.

A new study shows South Florida is still distressed economically after the Great Recession hit five years ago, but the region is still better off than Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg.

In fact, Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg continue to have the most financially distressed households among the 30 largest metro areas in the nation, but South Florida, while the sixth most distressed, has shown almost as much economic improvement as the national average, according to the latest CredAbility Consumer Distress Index. The nonprofit credit counseling agency conducts the index nationally to survey how categories such as housing, employment and families’ savings rate are doing.

 

One of the biggest improvements for South Florida: The unemployment had dropped from 9.5 percent to 8.1 for Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties as a whole,  by the end of 2012, said Broc Rosser, Florida president for CredAbility, a nonprofit counseling agency.

“That’s a huge improvement,” he said.

South Floridians are also helping themselves by saving more, Rosser added. South Floridians are saving on average nearly 5 percent of their income, he said.

The main thorn in South Florida’s recovery is the three counties are still trying to emerge from the housing bust and the massive number of foreclosures that hit the region, Rosser said.

“Housing problems are the main cause of financial distress for households” in South Florida, said Scott Scredon, a spokesman for CredAbility. “While mortgage delinquency rates are coming down, they remain the highest in the nation.”

About 17 percent of South Florida homeowners were delinquent on mortgage payments from July to October of last year, Scredon said. Still, that’s a better rate than it was a year ago, he added.

All these positive signs will reinforce each other and result in an exponential improvement of the overall South Florida economy, including Weston. Let’s just keep on doing what we are doing South Florida and we’ll ultimately not only outpace our regional neighbors, but lead the way for the rest of the country.

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South Florida’s Real Estate Market is Making a Comeback
Posted On February 13, 2013 Posted By: admin

The real estate market has been a deciding factor in the recession that the entire nation just experienced a few years ago. It is refreshing to see that the latest statistics are clearly showing that this market, one that is so important to South Florida, is making a strong comeback.

Closed sales, pending sales and median prices all rose in Florida in 2012, while the inventory of homes for sale shrank compared to the year prior, according to Florida Realtors data.

“Throughout 2012, we’ve seen increasingly strong signs that the state’s housing market is in solid recovery,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher in a statement.

Asher, broker and owner of Don Asher & Associates in Orlando, said several factors are spurring the recovery forward, including strong job creation and low-interest rates on mortgages.

“These positive fundamentals in the housing sector continue to attract potential homeowners and investors, however, they’re facing a limited inventory of available for-sale homes in many areas,” he said in a statement.

Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 204,414 in 2012, up 8.5 percent compared to the prior year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department in partnership with local realtor boards and associations.

In the fourth quarter, closed sales of single-family existing homes totaled 52,624, up 21.2 percent from the same time a year ago. Closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Pending sales, contracts that are signed but not closed, for existing single-family homes rose 17.6 percent in 2012 compared to 2011’s figure. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in 2012 was $145,000, up 9 percent from the previous year. Looking at the fourth quarter of 2012, the statewide single-family, existing-home median price was $150,000, up 11.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

The data jibes with developers of single-family residences like Sunrise-based GL Homes, which had $600 million in sales 2012, production that harkens back to 2005.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the preliminary national median sales price for existing single-family homes for all of 2012 was $176,600, up 6.3 percent from 2011, which was the strongest annual price gain since 2005.

These strong fundamentals are attracting foreign investors who are interested in setting a foothold and residency in the United States. These investors are incentivized to invest in the United States by the prospect of obtaining permanent residency (green card) if they meet certain requirements. One such strategy is to create a business in the United States by either procuring some office space or setting up a virtual office from which they can run their new U.S.-based company.

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Fort Lauderdale Economy
Posted On February 5, 2013 Posted By: admin

Fort Lauderdale Economy

The Fort Lauderdale economy and Weston’s business environment have been more resilient to the past economic downturn compared to its regional neighbors such as Miami and its surrounding communities. Although Fort Lauderdale and Weston count Hospitality among their top industries, International commerce and technology are becoming the fastest growing ones. According to the City of Fort Lauderdale…

Fort Lauderdale has emerged as one of the fastest growing markets for global trade, with more than 40% of local businesses engaged in or supporting international commerce. The City remains at the forefront of South Florida’s emerging “Internet Coast,” a region that is home to more than 6,000 high technology firms.

A growing list of nationally-recognized corporations have established business operations in Fort Lauderdale with corporate or Latin American headquarters, including: AT&T, AutoNation, BankAtlantic, Citicorp, Citrix Systems, Galaxy Latin America, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft Latin America, Motorola Latin America, Republic Industries, South African Airways, Spherion Corporation, SportsLine.com, and Voicestream Wireless.

Ranking Fort Lauderdale as one of the “100 Best Places to Live
and Launch” a business, CNN/Money reported:

“. . . Fort Lauderdale has felt less impact (from the real estate market) thanthe regions in and around Miami. The hottest businesses here are a reflectionof the subtropical climate and locale. Pleasure boat construction and services are a major sector, while the tourism industry, in general, stays strong, thanks in large part to the Canadians and Europeans attracted to the weak dollar. What’s more, a 600,000-square-foot convention center plays host to trade shows that bring a variety of industrial leaders from all over the country in contact with local businesses. Besides the usual pleasures to be expected from a city by the sea (sun, surf, sailing and swimming), Fort Lauderdale offers a lively downtown, with museums, galleries, live music, theater and fine restaurants. And for sports-crazed fans, there are no less than seven pro teams to root for in the surrounding area.”

With no lack of reasons to start up a business in the Weston/Fort Lauderdale area, an Executive Suite is the perfect office space setting for a new business. Call us for more details.

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