17 predictions for 2017

17 predictions for 2017


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South Florida Business Journal

The resiliency and the strength of the American economy continues to impress and grow. Even with a GDP under 2 percent ... the forecast is strengthening to around 3 percent in 2017. For companies that can dedicate the time and manpower, a whole new world of opportunity exists within the area of supplier diversity. ... If you are an LGBT- owned business enterprise, you are now eligible, along with a short list of minority- owned vendors, to participate in this strategic segment. The opportunity is so great that the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is working with affiliate chambers to identify and certify businesses within our membership. ... 2017 will be dedicated to membership development and training to help take advantage of the opportunities.

Carol Brooks President, CREC
Miami’s evolution as a world-class city will continue as major mixed-use projects like Brickell City Centre and the Brightline come online and mature. Broward will experience steady growth as institutional-grade capital pursues investment opportunities. CREC anticipates office rents in core urban submarkets will resume their upward trend, leading some tenants to gravitate to the suburbs in search of affordability. Experiential retail projects will continue to gain a foothold at places like Downtown Dadeland and the Design District. We also expect more consolidation in the brokerage landscape, leaving fewer independent, full-service firms competing for leasing and property management assignments in Florida.

Luis de la Aguilera
President and CEO, U.S. Century Bank
We have ambitious, yet realistic, plans to grow the bank in a diversified and safe manner. We continue to see banks moving quickly to find the right balance between brick-and-mortar branches and the delivery of services through digital channels. As banks seek greater scale and profitability, the move to leverage technology will become ever more important. But equally important is to understand your clients and their expectations. As demographics shift and a very tech-demanding millennial population grows, banks have to evolve to meet or exceed customer expectation and satisfaction. Our local economy has always been closely tied to the South American market, as tourists and investors have always been key business drivers. So, weakened economic conditions in some countries like Brazil, Argentina and, especially, Venezuela, clearly impact South Florida.

Bob Denison
President, Denison Yacht Sales
I like 2017 already. No election drama. The All-Star game coming to Marlins Park. And lots of new boats hitting the waters of South Florida. In 2016, 22 percent of all boats sold in the U.S. happened in Florida — the highest number in more than seven years. I’m obviously partial to an uptick in boat sales as being a good thing, but I’d make the argument that more boats is a good thing for lots of people. They say the economic impact of a boat to its local waters is 13 percent. That not only means more money being spent at local marinas and shipyards, but also local grocery stores and restaurants.

Peggy Fucci
CEO, OneWorld Properties
Exciting times for 2017. There is an air of motivation for continued business growth, along with a perfect geographical location that South Florida offers, making it a phenomenal environment for our real estate industry. There is so much room to grow. Now, with the election behind us, the real estate market will continue steady for several years to come. There is increased confidence for new buyers, and more and more people continue moving into the U.S., as we offer a safe haven. In addition, millennials, baby boomers and foreigners will dominate the market, as they continue to find value in our real estate market.

Roberto Fusaro
President, MSC Cruises USA
As the travel industry continues to see an uptick in multigenerational travel, there will be increased interest in wellness travel and an increased demand for unique destinations with immersive cultural experiences. In 2017, we can expect to see the
cruise market introduce new ships, programs and itineraries that meet those needs. It will be a banner year for MSC Cruises, as we’ll be launching the first two of our next- generation ships — MSC Meraviglia, launching June 2017 and MSC Seaside, launching December 2017. The arrival of the MSC Seaside is particularly exciting for the U.S. market and is a testament to MSC Cruises’ commitment to better serve North American cruisers with two ships housed at PortMiami: the MSC Divina and MSC Seaside.

Pandwe Gibson
President, EcoTech Visions
The next frontier for South Florida is green tech manufacturers. When we figure out middle-size firm growth, we will become a leading state in the American and global economy, and we are well on our way. South Florida is positioned to become a cluster site, and it will be the first in the entire southern region of the United States. This has garnered attention from the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, Harvard Business School’s Research Department, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sustainability program, in addition to our local institutions.

Matt Haggman
Miami program director, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
South Florida’s tech ecosystem has made substantial progress in the past three years: ongoing growth of South Florida-based startups, the addition of important new resources supporting entrepreneurs in the Miami startup community, and increased venture capital activity. Despite that success, the challenges we confront today are where we need to focus in 2017: inclusion, talent, access to capital and connecting the dots. Because the ecosystem is so new, many people still don’t know what’s available. We need to tell that story.

G. Eric Knowles
President, Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce
2017 will be a year of reality check here in Miami, in particular with the building sector, with so many units online and the talk of a slowdown as it pertains to value and inventory. Will the market sustain itself as we move into 2017 and beyond? Transportation is truly at the forefront of concern for everyone. If we are to become the global community that we say we are, we must take the bull by the horns and not sacrifice our children’s future for the lack of leadership when it comes to transportation. We must tackle One Community One Goal’s seven key industries and, from the Miami- Dade Chamber perspective, how does the black business community, along with women and minorities, play a role in affecting the future of Miami-Dade County? We must become more proficient in private public partnerships (P3s) and look at the opportunity to create more mentor/protégé projects.

Stephen O’Hara
President, New World Angels
There are a few areas of technology and innovation at inflection points that will really materialize in 2017. The first is medical science — DNA sequence, immunotherapy, and a combination of old-school medical technologies and those creating a wealth of new treatments set to hit the clinical studies stage. It will be an exciting year to see how those
things play out. The second is not a new area, but an area finally gaining momentum: the Internet of Things. People are just starting to grasp how broad the possibilities are. Artificial intelligence could create a whole new industrial revolution. And that gets me to me third thing: Has anybody thought about what that might cause for taxi drivers? The construction industry? Our agriculture industry? It will be perhaps the single greatest disruption of our working class since the outsourcing of our manufacturing.

Mike Reininger President, Brightline
Continued growth in South Florida is dependent on new and more transportation alternatives. We can’t continue to pave the way to prosperity with more cars on congested roads. Taking people out of their cars and into comfortable and convenient trains is an important step in 2017. Ultimately, multimodal connectivity is vital. Therefore, we must look to create one network of options that provide an alternative to the car. We are optimistic that the multimodal integration at our Brightline stations will be important evidence to leverage the power that transportation system integration will deliver to the region.

Rachel Sapoznik
Founder, president and CEO, Sapoznik Insurance
2017 is our 30-year anniversary, and we are looking forward to continued growth through new client acquisition, as well as organically. This growth, in large part, will be due to our continued emphasis on wellness – educating on the importance of having a corporate wellness program. I believe [the health care industry] will continue to see the proliferation of telemedicine. More people will embrace the concept, which provides many benefits, including saving time, being more convenient and less costly. Telemedicine will be important for providing follow-up care, non-emergency care and care in remote locations. In South Florida, we have also seen a significant number of primary care physicians retiring. This will cause a shortage of doctors. However, it is another area where telemedicine can be helpful.
Jim Repp
President and COO, AvMed
The new [presidential] administration will bring change to our industry, but as we await greater clarity, we are keenly focused on what we can truly control. We expect to build on the 7 percent growth we experienced this year by leveraging our industry-leading customer retention rates. We will drive new customer acquisition by offering unique products that deliver a more engaging member experience, one designed to help our members live healthier. Further, we are committed to helping our members across Florida celebrate a life rich in the things that truly matter: health and happiness of the mind, body and soul. To achieve this lofty goal, we will continue to offer programs, incentives and information to help AvMed members find a mindset that few others can reach.

Rajinder P. Singh
Incoming president and CEO, BankUnited
BankUnited expects to continue organic expansion with a balanced mix of loan and deposit growth. BankUnited operates in two of the most robust markets in the country. As such, we compete against some of the best banks in the country. Additionally, we are always cautious regarding the economy and any changes it may face in 2017. However, we remain optimistic about the economic outlook. We have enjoyed a healthy economy in South Florida, which is likely to continue into the new year. However, we are vigilant to keep an eye out for a possible decline in the national business cycle in the coming years.

Jacqueline Soffer
Co-Chair and CEO, Turnberry Associates
South Florida has been transformed into a true global destination with an expanding luxury presence. Every month, an array of globally recognized retail, restaurant and hotel brands enter South Florida for the first time and exceed expectations. I believe that trend will continue into 2017 and beyond, enabling our residents and visitors to enjoy unique experiences. At Aventura Mall, we’re set for an even more successful year with the debut of our new three-level expansion wing.

Kelly Smallridge
President and CEO, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County
Florida is expected to outpace the nation’s growth for the next four years, becoming a $1 trillion economy. ... The BDB sees a healthy pace of companies interested in relocating or expanding to Palm Beach County .... We are hopeful that new office space will be under construction, which will allow us to land more Class A office users since there is minimal vacancy. As the population continues to grow, Palm Beach County remains a hot spot for residential construction, which is bringing in national investors seeking to repurpose several properties in our urban redevelopment areas. We are very positive about 2017. Wages, consumer confidence and population will all grow. Young startups are very interested in plugging into Palm Beach County, and universities and colleges are serving as great support systems to guide their growth.

Peter Zalewski
Principal, CraneSpotters.com
We are extremely bearish on coastal Miami-Dade County east of Interstate 95. We are neutral on Broward, and bullish on Palm Beach. In Broward, we are bullish on the airport north because Fannie Mae could pull the lever on more financing. I would be concerned if I have inventory hanging around south of the airport. North of airport tends to be more domestic, including Canadians. A lot of brokers, developers and sellers will look back at this winter season as their last chance to unload before the music stops [for foreign buyers].