June 30, 2022

Pullman-BLN

Legal With Effect

Tracking Law Firm Migration to South Florida and a CRE Market ‘Going Gangbusters’

As COVID-19 upended office life, people and companies across the U.S. reconsidered their living and working arrangements, and many settled on South Florida for its lack of pandemic restrictions, good weather and low taxes. Law firms quickly followed, announcing new South Florida offices. That presents a host of opportunities and challenges for the region, facing rising rents and a lack of developable land.

Use this page to keep up with the latest news about South Florida migration. It will be updated as conversations continue.


Kirkland & Ellis Announces Miami Office With Chicago and NY Partners

The world’s largest law firm by revenue announced a Miami location by relocating three corporate partners from Chicago and one from New York.

Winston & Strawn Launches Miami Office, Hiring 6 Local Big Law Partners

A former Jones Day Miami administrative partner is now leading the Winston office.

Sidley Austin Doubles Miami Head Count Amid Sports Practice Expansion

Sidley added O’Melveny sports industry group co-chairs Irwin Raij and Charles Baker. Raij is relocating to Miami, where the firm hired three associates to support his industry group.

Migration to South Florida Is Behind Strong Leasing Activity in Miami-Dade

Most recently, four leases were signed at 801 Brickell, a 28-story, 415,000-square-foot office high-rise.

Chicago’s Actuate Law Continues Miami Expansion with Xavier Suarez Hire

The former Miami Mayor has developed a technology-focused legal practice since departing the Miami-Dade Board of Commissioners in November 2020.

Sidley Austin Explores Miami With Local Hires and New York Transplants

While the firm hasn’t yet announced a Miami office, its recent hiring efforts suggest a strong interest in launching there. Sidley would be the second Am Law 100 firm to establish a presence in the Magic City this year, following King & Spalding’s January office launch.

2 South Florida Boutiques to Merge With New York Firm, Following Migrating Clients

The Manhattan-based midsize firm merged with an appellate boutique and a family law firm in Boca Raton, adding 11 attorneys and establishing a beachhead to grow real estate and transactional practices in the region.

Economic Expansion Creates Big Demand for South Florida’s Office Market

“I anticipate activity will stay strong in South Florida as we continue to see strong population growth in all markets. South Florida will continue to do well in the war for talent,” said Greg Martin, principal and managing director of Avison Young’s Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton offices.

Capitalizing on Florida Migration, Greenberg Traurig Adds Tax Shareholder From Chicago

Scott Bakal joined Greenberg’s Fort Lauderdale office as a shareholder in late March after 36 years at Chicago law firm Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, where he co-chaired the firm’s tax practice.

Longtime Akerman IP Partners Join Greenberg Traurig as Tech Clients Migrate to South Florida

The partners service national and global clients in a variety of industries, helping them obtain patents, defend patents, and avoid patent infringement.

Investors Capitalizing on South Florida’s Growth With New Deals

The growing demand for faster delivery and large population growth in South Florida is putting pressure on industrial rental rates.

Major Insurance Company Signs 830 Brickell Lease

About 46% of Miami-Dade County’s registered investment advisors are along a one-mile stretch of Brickell Avenue, in what Ryan Holtzman in Cushman & Wakefield’s Miami office says cement the boulevard’s brand as “Wall Street of the South.”

Tax Controversy and Church Insolvency Brought Another New York Law Firm to Miami

Capell Barnett Matalon & Schoenfeld expanded to Miami as New York State pursues tax revenue from former residents and churches use real estate deals to offset dwindling congregations.

‘South Miami Needs More Density’: This Plot of Land Has Increased in Value by $18 Million Since 2015

“South Miami needs more density since a lot of people are moving to the area,” said Pascal Nicolai, founder and CEO of Sabal Development and Sabal Luxury Builder. “Townhomes and condos are a good alternative to houses in the area which are expensive now.”

These Submarkets Are Catching Developers’ Attention

The sales reflect the continued bullish investment in South Florida by out-of-market buyers.

As Miami Becomes the Least Affordable Market in US, Residential Deals Could Get Tougher

“Miami is a great example in that, as more people are moving there and investors are taking up available properties, housing is going to become less affordable unless the market corrects itself or income growth catches up,” said Shane Lee, data scientist at RealtyHop.

Costs Are a Major Issue for Developers Amid South Florida’s ‘Phenomenal’ Growth, Says Related Cos.’ Stephen Ross

Chairman of Related Companies Stephen Ross. Chairman of Related Companies Stephen Ross.

“This is a different type of growth than from before. Today it’s people fleeing the Northeast, California, and ‘blue states’ with high taxes and political issues,” said Stephen Ross, chairman and founder of Related Cos.

Strong Leasing Activity Will Drive More Development to South Florida

Leasing activity across South Florida remains strong, paving the way for more growth as many new-to-market companies expand their footprint across the office sector.

As South Florida’s Office Market Transforms, Can Other Industries Keep Up?

“We have projects that are working around the clock, which is a very difficult task in this market,” said A.J. Mueller of ORIGIN Construction, who noted the subcontractor market is “really at capacity.”

Housing Is A Crisis: Miami-Dade County Mayor Talks Redevelopment Needs, Solutions for South Florida’s Growth

“Housing affordability is our No. 1 crisis right now,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

What Role Can Attorneys Play in Miami’s Tech Boom? Entrepreneurs Want ‘Thought Partners’

“Some of the attorneys that I’ve dealt with in the Valley and even in New York really don’t know how to wrap their heads around it [cryptocurrency], and so I think there’s a real opportunity for our younger lawyers to distinguish themselves and differentiate themselves and become leaders in this space,” said entrepreneur Felice Gorordo.

Prices Are Surging in South Florida as Developers Grapple With Land Constraints

“Demand in the investor market continues to be competitive and shows no sign of slowing down,” said Kleiner. “South Florida’s attractive but limited inventory and demand for newcomers continues to make for a robust rental market.”

Aviation Company Signs 830 Brickell Lease, Joining Microsoft, CI Financial as Capital Migration Soars

“Over time, we will begin to see larger tenant requirements and that will lead to leases in the neighborhood of 100,000-200,000 square feet. Tenants that size will fuel investor confidence that spurs new development,” said Ryan Holtzman of Cushman & Wakefield.

Rendering of eighteen sunset, new mixed-use project set to rise in the popular Sunset Harbour district in Miami Beach. Courtesy rendering Rendering of Eighteen Sunset, new mixed-use project set to rise in the popular Sunset Harbour district in Miami Beach.

$60 Million Loan Approved for Miami Beach Mixed-Use Building

“We’ve seen significant interest from some of the most desirable and prosperous buyers and tenants in the country, who are looking at Eighteen Sunset from both a residential perspective and as a ‘live-work’ opportunity in the heart of one of South Florida’s most desirable districts,” said Deco Capital Group founder Bradley Colmer.

Miami Warehouse Sells as ‘Final Mile’ Space Becomes Increasingly Coveted

“Our network of well-located final mile warehouses in strong markets, like the Miami region, are what set us apart from the competition and enable us to deliver value and continually meet the needs of both our customers and suppliers,” said Stephen Panos, Realterm senior vice president and fund manager.

Wall Street Lawyers and New York Asset Managers Want to Be in Miami—What About Their Law Firms?

Long before King & Spalding relocated 37 attorneys to Miami, partners at Wall Street firms have worked out of their South Florida homes. But despite a recent influx of Northeastern talent and clients, recruiters say the nation’s most profitable law firms may hold off on launching a Miami office until a direct competitor moves in.

City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez speaks to downtown Miami’s metamorphosis at Okan Tower. Credit: Courtesy of Okan Tower City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez speaks to downtown Miami’s metamorphosis at Okan Tower.

‘The Capital of Capital?’ How Miami Mayor Francis Suarez Is Influencing Downtown’s Development

Miami is now No. 1 in the country for tech job growth and migration, according to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who said, “Whether we like it or not, our economy is becoming more tech based.”

South Florida Real Estate Transactions Like ‘Adult Game of Monopoly,’ But the Economy Is Giving Investors Pause

“Supply interruptions are causing everything to go up,” said Terranova Corp. chairman Stephen Bittel.

Why Miami’s Tech Scene Has Room to Run in 2022

Recent moves have brought a significant amount of investment capital and financial services into the metropolitan area. In the first three quarters of 2021, $2.4 billion in venture capital investments has flowed into South Florida startups, according to PitchBook Data. That’s about twice as much invested as in all of 2020.

South Florida’s 2022 Multifamily Vacancies Predicted to Be Among Lowest in the Country

Miami was the ideal destination for renters avoiding strict lockdowns in the Northeast and West Coast, which caused the city’s vacancy rate to decline 270 basis points, according to Marcus and Millichap’s 2022 U.S. Multifamily Investment Forecast Report. By the end of 2022, the vacancy rate is predicted to be at 2.3%, which will be one of the lowest levels in the country.

King & Spalding Isn’t the Only Atlanta Firm Eyeing South Florida’s Booming Economy

“Law firms really have to pay attention to what their employees are saying, what the market is saying, and they have to make the necessary changes to retain their talent. I think that is more important than acquisition at this point,” one South Florida attorney headhunter said.

South Florida Is Setting Records For Condo, Home Sales as Tech and Finance Companies Migrate

“The sustained home sales growth speaks to domestic and global companies relocating to Miami to launch headquarters in tech and finance and bringing high-paying jobs; increased and continued migration to Miami from high-tax, high-density cities; and how this new-normal-work-from-anywhere ability boosts the allure of South Florida,” said MIAMI I Association of Realtors chairman Fernando Arencibia Jr.

$13.5 Million Sale Is the Latest Example of a Multifamily Surge in This South Florida County

“We expect 2022 will be very similar to this year with continued strong sale activity fueled by positive market fundamentals,” said Calum Weaver, executive managing director at Cushman & Wakefield.

A rendering of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences Miami. The project was designed by Sieger Suarez Architects as a stack of glass cubes. A rendering of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences Miami. The project was designed by Sieger Suarez Architects as a stack of glass cubes.

The Tallest Residential Building South of NY Is Filling Up Amid South Florida’s International Buyers Boom

Although 55% of the buyers are from the Northeast, California and South Florida, 45% are from outside of the country, including Mexico, Russia, Colombia and Turkey.

New Lease Agreements Signed in Coral Gables Class A Office Tower Amid Rising Office Market Demand

“Residential submarkets with a strong business presence, like Coral Gables, are a sought-after alternative to dense urban cores,” said CBRE executive vice president Gordon Messinger.

King & Spalding Opens Miami Office with 37 Lawyers

Atlanta’s biggest law firm will open its first Florida office in early February, moving 12 partners and 25 associates and counsels from offices across the country to Miami’s Southeast Financial Center.

‘Its Own Version of Wynwood’: Hialeah Is a Hotspot For Developers

Fueled by a population increase due to migration, and due to Hialeah being centrally located, the city is attracting both mom-and-pop stores and national chains. And chains that were once were afraid to invest in Hialeah are now giving it a second chance, according to J.C. de Ona, president of Centennial Bank’s Southeast Florida Division.

South Florida CRE Transactions Are Going ‘Gangbusters’ Despite Rise in Omicron Infections

“Anywhere where there’s land, they are building there,” said Bill Kramer of Brinkley Morgan in Fort Lauderdale.