Wednesday, April 30, 2014



The category killer is at it again! This time taking aim at the lucrative cash wiring business that is heavily utilized by low income immigrants to wiring money back to their home countries at extremely high rates of interest. For now the international trade is safe since Walmart is only going to allow customers to do store to store money transfers in the U.S. But do you really think they won’t go international once the program is established? You bet they will especially since they have stores all over the world. Walmart is partnering with a company called Ria Money Transfer, who is a subsidiary of the payment company Euronet Worldwide, on this new venture. Walmart is going to provide money transfers at lower rates than what banks are offering to do this, and also check cashing stores. Banks have got to be quaking in their boots right now as Walmart gets increasingly more involved in financial services. The main competitors of Walmart in the cash transfer business, MoneyGram and Western Union, saw their stock fall 17% and 5% respectively following the announcement. Walmart had already entered this industry with pre-paid debit cards and check cashing so this is not that huge of a leap when you look at that. It is really brilliant because it offers their customers many options that will save them time and money all while keeping them away from competitors. How big is this industry? No figures are given but here are some shocking numbers: 29% of Americans didn’t have a savings account at a bank and 10% didn’t have a checking account in 2011. More stunning numbers on just how Walmart will undercut its rivals: for a $900 transfer at Walmart a customer would be charged $9.50, Western Union $76 and MoneyGram $73. This is going to completely change this industry and customers will benefit. But I am getting increasing uncomfortable with Walmart trying to provide every service under the sun in their stores and destroying all of the other businesses in those industries in the process. While it is capitalism and they are not doing anything wrong per se, I think that communities are much better off without a Walmart in them. What do you think? As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014



OK the wife earned some points this weekend, agreeing to go to one of my favorite restaurants Truluck’s. For some reason she is the only one who doesn’t think it is one of the best restaurants in town. Regardless, this place is truly worth writing about. They are a chain out of Dallas Texas. They specialize in crabs of all sorts, and seafood and steaks. If you think of the most popular seafood place in South Florida, Joe’s Stone Crabs, this is worth noting. First, you have to embrace the local Floridian delicacy of stone crabs. I did long ago and really look forward to eating them whenever possible. Joe’s Stone Crabs gained part of its fame because they have their own fishery and their own fleet of boats to bring them to the restaurant each day ensuring freshness. Truluck’s actually has and does the same thing. They have the best stone crabs I have had and even feature an all you can eat night (on Monday’s) for one set fairly low price. The service is outstanding and they have a very large and covered patio for outside seating that is complete with fans and heat lamps when the weather dictates. There is only one problem with this restaurant, so let’s just go and get it out of the way right now. It is EXPENSIVE. You have to know this before you come in, and once you come to grips with the fact that you will be parting with some coin it is OK and you can relax and enjoy the experience.

They have a very extensive list of wines by the glass, and many of these are reasonably priced. I enjoyed a great glass of Vouvray. I started with some stone crabs of course. The wife had a salad and my daughter the chicken fingers. Stone crabs were outstanding as always and I also enjoyed the chicken fingers. I followed that with a blackened halibut which was very good. Wife has the crab cake, which I was lucky enough to have some of, which is always excellent. Desert is a whole separate meal here. They serve very oversized pieces of cake here, which are brought out on a circular desert tray for all to see. Resisting this is futile, and we went with the carrot (my favorite) and the chocolate. They have a pretty good selection of ports and to a lesser extent desert wines to go with them. Not only do you end up taking these large pieces of cake home, but enjoy them for days afterwards. You end up so happy with the dining experience that it even makes getting the bill less painful. I can’t wait to go back! I would love to hear about your favorite restaurant or a place you have recently tried that you loved. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Monday, April 28, 2014



These are fun articles to blog about!! It is true, Florida’s economy is on fire and now leads the country in the creation of new jobs. How many new jobs were added you might ask and wonder? How about 22,900 jobs? It is still almost hard to believe after the nightmare we endured so recently. These are exciting times to be in Florida right now and the real estate industry is right in the middle of all of this growth. The industries that have posted the most jobs added are construction, retail trade, real estate, rental and leasing, professional and business services, health care and social assistance and finally the government. You see when the recession hit the real estate industry very quickly withered and died. It seemed as if someone just shut off the water running from a sink, and then that was it. Most real estate professionals make their money based on transactions of one kind or another, whether it be leasing, sales, for either residential or commercial. So what happened when the transactions stopped? Many of them left the industry, in search of some other kind of work that could actually provide a living for people accustomed to providing for their families. Many of these people left the state, in search of new beginnings in North Carolina, Tennessee or Georgia. Now that the water is back on people are returning to the industry and there is tremendous growth. Residential development is happening again of all types and the activity in Miami is beginning to spill over to Broward and Palm Beach once again. And banks are beginning to lend again, lowering their standards again, so that they can also make more money. And so we are setting ourselves up for a repeat performance of what just happened right? Maybe so but hopefully we have all learned and will be better prepared this time. Everything comes in cycles, some say 7 year cycles, and this economic recovery cycle is on the upswing and hopefully just getting started. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Thursday, April 24, 2014



I heard about this place from some friends and went there on Friday to try it out. It is a very small place, with just more than 6 tables, I think I counted 8. It is a very intimate, quiet and elegant place just across the street from Mizner Park. There is just the chef and one waitress working there. They do have a corkage fee so you can bring your own wine, which can really save some money depending on your wine drinking. They serve 4 courses which includes desert. They start you out with a glass of sparkling wine, which was a bit too close to champagne for me, the only wine I cannot drink (gives me a stomach ache for some strange reason I cannot fathom). That was followed by a choice of soups, a carrot or a lobster bisque. I went with the carrot, which is something I would never order (but since I don’t eat lobster or stuff with cream it was the only option making it easy). It was excellent and even a bit spicy. One person tried the lobster bisque and said it was excellent. This was followed by a salad of mixed greens with feta cheese, strawberries, apples, cranberries, and it had a balsamic dressing. I do not really like salad, really it is only the lettuce I don’t like. That being said, I ate the entire thing and really enjoyed it. So did everyone else. Then it was entrĂ©e time, and I went with a halibut which was grilled with a creamy sauce that I got on the side. It was OK, but very fresh and the vegetables that came with it were great, a bread crumb topped tomato, and green beans. Everyone else went with steak or salmon and was very happy. The desert was 2 fold, a wine poached pear with cheese was first. I seemed to be the only one enjoying it and it was really great. Then there was a chocolate pudding that was served in a coffee cup topped with strawberries and strawberry compote and whipped cream. It was amazing. This unique, one of a kind place and experience was fantastic, but you need to make sure you come with good company because it is quiet and there is nothing else going on except for the food and your company. I would strongly recommend this place and hope you give it a try. I would love to know about your favorite restaurant or one you recently discovered that it worth trying. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014



More good news for Broward County. Another company has decided to stay and to expand. This time it is SHL Pharma, based in Deerfield Beach. They design and produce drug delivery systems that allow people to inject themselves with medicine. They make the equipment parts in Taiwan and then ship them to Deerfield Beach for final assembly and shipment. Once known only for their rheumatoid arthritis auto injectors, the company has expanded its product line to include pen injectors and pulmonary and nasal auto delivery systems. If one of those got into the hands of a drug addict it sounds like it could be a real problem. Another benefit of a company expansion: added jobs. They had 44 employees before the expansion announcement. Now they plan on hiring 30 more people at average salaries of $55,000. This is higher than the Palm Beach County average and not sure what that is for Broward but I bet it is more than that too. They will be looking to hire engineers, quality assurance specialists and product construction workers for the new positions. This is one of those feel good Florida growth stories, since this company was lured from New Jersey in 2011. They renovated their manufacturing, research and development center to the tune of $6 million dollars and need more space now. SHL qualified for $90,000 in tax refund incentives from the state and city since they are hiring at least 30 people. Finally, there is Bob Swindell, president of the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Alliance seeking some credit for the deal. He said that SHL’s expansion was in part the result of a special program focused on Broward companies with the potential to expand. Seems very top secret, I have never read about such a program. No, I think this expansion is a result of lots of things, certainly lower priced office space in Florida as compared to New Jersey, lower or no taxes and the improving economy played a part I am sure but really who cares? All that matters is that another company, in the healthcare and technology sector, is staying and expanding here. Thank you SNL Pharma! As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014



This is a strange story about the North Palm Beach County airport. For those of you that don’t know, this airport is in Palm Beach Gardens, next to the Loxahatchee Slough and the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. It has 3 runways and services light aircraft. It seems like the filling in of 55 acres of wetlands near the runway could be problematic. The proposed $5,600,000 project involves filling the existing wetlands with 130,000 cubic yards of soil, which will take over 2 years. The real concern and reason for the project is the possibility of aircraft hitting birds. Despite not having had a bird incident since 2008, which involved a turkey vulture, there is added reason for the fill in. It will allow the North county runway to be extended 1,700 more feet, from 4,300 to 6,000 feet. This would allow larger planes but not commercial traffic. Here is the strange part. There are no current plans to extend the runway, although the possibility of doing so is provided for in the airport’s master plan. This filling in is about safety only at this point, so they claim. But the land being cleared has stirred up residents who fear the negative impact of airport growth. Then there is this: there is no need to expand the runway, no increase in demand at this point. But there are 3 large scale projects under consideration in the North County now, the Briger tract, Callery-Judge Grove, and Avenir. Those projects will bring at least 10,000 more homes to the area in the coming years. It is also expected to make the area more attractive for companies to relocate their corporate headquarters to. If that happens the leaders of those companies prefer to travel by private plane. These are a lot of hypotheticals and these homes won’t be built for at least 3 -4 years. So why is $5.6 million being spent to clear away wetlands? For safety?? The detective in me senses that something is not right here, and that usually means that someone’s company is benefitting from a decision like this. Doesn’t it seem like there are many better uses for $5.6 million dollars in Palm Beach County than this right now? But mysterious things like this happen all the time and no one really cares or notices unless it directly affects them. I just happened to see this one or I would fall into that boat myself. As always, thanks for reading and have a great day. 

Friday, April 18, 2014


This is really interesting. In West Palm Beach’s never ending quest to become a thriving city, they have come up with a plan for the long dilapidated North end of the City. It should be noted that after years of failing to come up with viable plans to improve the City, West Palm Beach finally outsourced their own Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to a Broward County firm called Redevelopment Management Associates. The newest plan has a grand idea of allowing buildings to be built to 15 stories from the current 4 stories allowed with some proposed zoning changes in the area surrounding Currie Park. Despite the fact that residential developers have struggled with residential projects in the Downtown area near City Place and have not applied for a permit in this area for years, Jon Ward, the new leader of the CRA, insisted that, “We don’t have to worry about would developers be interested in it, the developers are interested in it, jumping up and down to build something now.” He also claimed that national food chains have expressed interest in coming into the Northwood area. He neglected to name a single developer or national retailer to back up his suspect and even laughable claims. If you have ever been to this area, you would understand. It is not only dilapidated, but there is really no reason to go there. There are no supermarkets in the area, which really discourage homeowners from coming there. There is high crime, narrow dirty streets and a general sense of apathy that pervades the entire area it seems. The idea that a simple zoning change to allow larger developments is just not going to open the flood gates of development there I think. Why would they build here when they can build somewhere else that is in better shape with more infrastructure in place? While some of these ideas have promise, they really need to get the City in order before they can move forward with large scale projects. Since I moved to Florida in 2001 I have seen the City steadily deteriorate, despite the residential growth Downtown. I remember back then that my company was hired to do a study on how to create a downtown area in West Palm Beach. When a city has to hire a company to do this I think they are in real trouble. I hope that someday West Palm Beach can figure out how to get out of its hole and start to thrive like all the cities surrounding it. It has very stubbornly gone the other direction so hopefully its time is near. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


The category killer is at it again! That is the affectionate moniker that retail real estate brokers have bestowed on Walmart long ago. It comes from the fact that whenever they open a store somewhere they put entire industries out of business there, effectively eliminating that category from the retail landscape. You can see who their next target is: the lucrative and rapidly growing organic food market and the retailers who have been dominating that industry. That means Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc. better tighten their belts and quickly if they want to survive this invasion to their organic turf. They have always positioned the organic market and products to be sold at premium prices, so that were only affordable to affluent customers. The good news is that consumers will be the big winners here. The increased competition will lower prices quickly, and will also speed up the production of organic materials to meet the growing demand. The lower and middle classes will now be able to afford to buy these things at their favorite big box grocer, widening the appeal and market for organic products. Walmart will sell their organic products under the Wild Oats label. Organic products will be sold at the same prices as non-organic products. Due to supplier concerns, Walmart is going to roll out the organic goods in the coming months to half of their stores (2,000), and then the rest at a later date. Target also announced plans to enter into the organic market but there is nothing in the article at all regarding their plans or the timing. This could be another huge blow to the already damaged retailer, putting them at a further disadvantage to Walmart. The only problem with this added organic competition is that it is straining the resources, so prices rise because there is not enough product.  Ultimately this increased competition is expected to bring prices down once everything settles down. Having more organic food out there and available to all people is a very good thing, and it really does taste better. Case in point, I got some organic bananas at Costco (my favorite place and just about the only place I like to shop) last weekend. The prices were less than a dollar difference from the non-organic bananas. I think it was $1.03 as compared to $1.79 per pound but I could be wrong. Anyway, riding on the recent success of Rosenfeld Realty Advisors, I decided to go for the organic bananas. I can honestly say that they were some of the best I have ever eaten and my 4 year old agreed. I will be looking for them going forward for sure. As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


It seems like Nick Mastroianni, the develeper of Harbourside in Jupiter, is at it again. Fresh off the EB – 5 Visa program success in getting the Jupiter project built, Mastroianni is using the same formula for this proposed project on PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens. IN fact, he planning almost the exact same thing. Both projects would feature hotel, office and retail space, marina slips and waterfront dining. The only difference is that the PGA plan would have residences (condos) while the Jupiter project does not. This type of huge mixed use project threatens the character and attitude of a city, and there are many people who do not want this to happen. If you have ever been to Panama Hattie’s it is a great mellow place that has fire pits, lounge chairs and great people watching. It is a very unique Florida place that has been there forever and to replace it with something like this would certainly be a stark change. Many people move to the PGA and Jupiter areas for the laid back lifestyle there. There had been little to draw tourists to places like this in the past, and that is what the residents enjoyed. These types of projects threaten that atmosphere and the real question is whether or not they are needed. That is where the EB 5 Visa plan comes in. This program was created in 1990 to facilitate foreign investment in the US. The program allows for foreign investors to invest $50,000 in US businesses and in exchange the investor and his family get visas, apply for green cards and become permanent US residents. Who exactly is investing in this and from where? They are from China, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, Brazil, Sweden, among other countries. They raised $40,000,0000 for the Jupiter project this way. Groundbreaking for the PGA project, assuming it gets all the necessary approvals, would break ground in January 2015. Let’s see what happens but I would say that this is a done deal. So goodbye Panama Hattie’s and hello to another EB – 5 deal that is coming whether you want it to or not. As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.

Monday, April 14, 2014


OK sure we have talked a lot about one of Florida’s biggest industries, tourism, but never before have we put some hard numbers up to show exactly how gangbusters it has been lately. In February Florida reaped $5,100,000 in bed taxes, that is a 27.5% increase over last year’s numbers. Hotels are reporting 90% occupancy. It is amazing considering that last March and April these same collections were over $4 million dollars which is the first time that has happened twice in a year. This year we are expected to break every tourism record there is. Check out the upward trend in the bed tax numbers by month for the past 2 years: in February 2012 the taxes collected were $3.3 million, 2013 $3.4 and in 2014 $3.6. In March 2012 $3.7 million, 2013 $4 million and 2014 $5.1 million. For April 2012 $4 million, 2013 $4.7 million and people are eagerly awaiting the numbers for 2014 which are not yet available. Tourism is Palm Beach County’s number 1 industry and provides jobs for 1,000,000 people across the state. Since I live here seeing these numbers is very surprising although it shouldn’t be. Where else were the people in the Northeast and Midwest to go for vacation that wouldn’t break the bank? Where you can always go for some sun and beach time no matter the time of year? That would hold true this year for sure but note the steadily rising numbers for the past 2 years. And think about what is on the way for Florida – expanded and improved airports that will enable more traffic to come here, expanded and improved ports, which will allow more passengers and cargo to come to and from the area and major improvements to big tourist attractions like Disney, Universal, and Sawgrass Mills Mall. So that certainly means even more people will be coming here, and soon they will even have a high speed rail to take them to Northern Florida from the South. It is really coming together for Florida right now and there is no sign of things slowing here. Now if we could just solve that darn insurance problem… As always thanks for reading and have a great day. 

Friday, April 11, 2014


It has been a while so I am sure there are large numbers of you who have been wondering when the ever popular 2 for 1 blog will return. That day is today my friends, and these 2 articles are a perfect match. We have talked a lot about technology, and how is it continually impacting the economy and our lives. These articles focus on how restaurants are using or planning to use technology to improve their sales and service. Darden Restaurants, owners of concepts like Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille, is rolling out online ordering in all of their Olive Garden restaurants nationwide by August. All of these concepts are traditional restaurants in that people sit down at tables and order their food from wait staff, unlike Panera which is what we call a fast casual restaurant. At those you order at a counter then either pick up your food or they have someone bring it to you. Darden is experimenting with web based reservations at LongHorn in June, similar to what Open Table does. Once a customer checks in with the host they get a text when their table is ready. They are also experimenting with having tablets on the tables, which will be used by wait staff and allow them to charge credit cards with them. It seems like the big technology push is actually in response to competitor Chili’s, who is already doing this and more. There customers can look at the menu and photos of the dishes, order desert and drink refills, play games and pay their bill. The customers like the tablets with 80% choosing them when given a choice. Strangely, the use of them has also resulted in a 15% increase in tips. The reason given was that customers no longer get mad while waiting for the check. Even more surprisingly, the use of the tablets has resulted in higher sales; 20% more in appetizer sales and 30% more in desert sales, supposedly due to customers being able to see photos of the foods. Whatever you may think of all this “progress”, it is clearly working. On the other hand, Panera is looking to do online ordering from mobile phones and tablets that will enable their customers to quickly stop in and pick up their already waiting order at set times. People will be able to order as long as 5 days in advance. Panera realized that their cumbersome ordering process was hurting their sales and are trying to solve that problem through technology. They are calling the process Panera 2.0, which sounds pretty corny. The initial problem with this is that it is going to take “several years” to roll this out to all of their stores. By then who knows what their competition will be doing, it seems like a very long time, especially considering that they have been testing this since 2010. As we know, technology results in less jobs, and Panera envisions less employees once the digital ordering reaches 30%, and I am sure that is just a start. If these large chains are doing this you better believe others will follow their lead. So this is the restaurant of the future? Not sure how I feel about it. I like talking with people and there is a very dehumanizing element to all of this. Like all people care about are their personal needs and convenience and nothing else. Of course they do but do they really need that sandwich or coffee a couple of minutes faster? Is this true progress? We will find out soon enough I am sure. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014



This is pretty interesting. Ft. Lauderdale is known for its discount airlines that dominate the traffic there and they are just starting to ramp up the international travel now. Miami International Airport on the other hand, gets plenty of international traffic and some very high rollers. SO much in fact that American Express has decided open a Centurion Lounge there for their highest spending clients. For those of you that don’t know (like me), Centurion is the official name for what we layman have always called the Black Card. However, people with Platinum cards are also welcome for no fee. Other American Express card holders can come but they are going to have to pay $50 to get in. This is going to be one pimp lounge! It will be 8,500 SF, and offer all kinds of stuff from free massages, manicures and “bites” to family rooms stuffed with electronics and a restaurant with a James Beard award winning chef. It will be a Latin inspired menu, of course, and will feature locally “sourced” ingredients. You will even be able to get a “spa like shower with upscale toiletries,” whatever that means, but it sounds pretty nice. Having one of these lounges is putting Miami in pretty exclusive company. It has already been on a ridiculously hot streak so it is not a surprise. There are only 2 of these lounges now, in Las Vegas and Dallas/Fort Worth. They have announced plans for them at LaGuardia (NY) and San Francisco (CA) later this year. American Express is going to employ 40 to 50 people there and there will be 30 to 40 construction jobs during the construction of the lounge. It will cost between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000 to build. They expect to cater to 300,000 cardholders annually. The location of the lounge will be the North Terminal in the former British Airways lounge. It has been vacant since 2007. Details of the lease were even revealed, American Express will agree to pay $1,000,000 per year on a 10 year lease and have a couple of 5 year options. Not bad money and an amazing amenity for the Airport to boot. If I am ever in Miami Airport, which I avoid like the plague, I might just check it out. I could see stopping in there a few hours before a flight and having a great meal, massage, some cocktails, etc. then head to Europe or something like that. Now if only I was planning any trips there… As always thanks for reading and have a great day. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


OK there is some news, and that is important since there is approximately one month left for them to get a deal done. The important stuff here is that they reported that the 2 interested teams, The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, have been in direct discussions with the City of West Palm Beach regarding the site on 45th St. between Haverhill and Military Trail. The rough plan is for the County to take over the 160 acre site from the City of West Palm Beach and then pay for the stadium. The City of West Palm currently owns the site. Since it is publicly owned this site would be much less complicated than the other sites which are owned privately. A scenario has been discussed where West Palm would lease the land to the County for a small fee and then allow the County to operate it. This is exactly what they did at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter so there is some history and precedence here. The only issue now seems to be the cleaning up of the current landfill on the site and the teams selecting the site. Once they do they could go full speed ahead with a deal. Other than that they announced that the John Prince Park site in Lake Worth is not in consideration at this time. There is no mention as to whether the other site that had been mentioned in Lake Worth is still a contender. The clock is ticking and this could be the news we have all been waiting for. Palm Beach County please take the easiest deal, which has good access from I-95 just like Roger Dean, and do it just like you did for Roger Dean. Simple and clean, now it just has to get done. Stay tuned for another update, which must be coming soon since we are almost at May 3rd! My fingers are crossed here for sure. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


It sure seems that way lately doesn’t it? Everything Florida is coming up roses it seems these days and there is more growth on the way. Specifically, at the port, Ft. Lauderdale Airport and with tourism of course. The article says that the seaport and hospitality sector, along with the airport are experiencing amazing growth. On Sept. 18th the new runway will open at the airport, which will allow for more crucial international traffic and reduce delays. As is typical for development in South Florida, it runs from the South to the North so when Dade County is full all of that traffic spills over into Broward and Palm Beach Counties. We are well into that time now it seems. The airport growth is critical because the domestic traffic has been flat but the international traffic is growing quickly especially with South America and Europe. The port (that is Port Everglades) will be installing this July a new $73 million dollar ship to rail cargo transfer terminal. It will be the first on port rail yard in the US to process both domestic and international cargo. They are also spending $24 million dollars to renovate Terminal 4, which is dedicated to cruise ships. The ships account for 42% of the port’s revenues. As for tourism, what do we really need to say? We have broken every record this year, with an assist from the terrible weather elsewhere. There are concrete plans in place to start a medical tourism campaign which is all but assured of success. All of the major tourist attractions, Sawgrass Mills Mall, Disney, Universal, and more have expanded and upgraded their facilities. The upcoming rail system will further assist tourists coming from the South to the North. It is really amazing when it seemed like just a few years ago things couldn’t be any worse. We are almost at the point where it can’t get much better! Almost, not quite there yet, but picking up speed. Good times for Florida indeed. As always thanks for reading and have a great day. 

Monday, April 7, 2014


A very interesting April Fool’s Day joke was played on the public by a blog web site called These guys put out a press release that said that Publix was going into the sub business with free standing stores allowing them to go head to head with Subway. This announcement was done on social media and then you saw the power of the internet take over. The news just blew up, and people were talking about it everywhere and on every kind of medium. Eventually Publix caught wind of it and dashed the hopes of excited customers. While this seems like a silly prank, I think it is very interesting. This story was picked up by almost every major news outlet, the newspapers, news web sites, etc. For no money, these clever bloggers got an amazing amount of attention. Some could and do probably spend thousands of dollars in advertising and cannot achieve half the publicity they got here. My first thought was why didn’t I think of something like this?? If I did or anyone else did it would instantly put your company, cause, etc. on the map. There is also something else interesting here from a real estate perspective. Publix is the dominant grocer in the Southeast and developers are constantly pursuing them to take new sites. In the past they were happy to coexist with many types of tenants, including dollar stores, gyms, and sub shops among other uses. As they grew and other rivals crumbled, they began to take a more aggressive approach to competitors of all shapes and sizes. Today when Publix does a new lease they prohibit dollar stores, gyms and yes, sub shops. This makes it very difficult for the shopping center owner to lease the rest of the center, which he does at much higher rental rates than what Publix pays. The owner makes all their money on these smaller deals. So Publix wins and everyone else loses. That doesn’t really seem fair now does it? But that is how the big dogs roll in retail, probably taking their cue from Wal-Mart who really takes no prisoners. As always thanks for reading and have a great day. 

Friday, April 4, 2014


It sure seems that way, with this announcement coming about a month after Honda’s. This is extremely exciting news as it signals both the revival of American manufacturing and a strong economy. BMW will be investing $1,000,000,000 over the next 2 years in their factory in Spartanburg South Carolina. It will become their largest production site in the US and the world. That says a lot since they have 28 production facilities around the world and still produce more than half of its cars in Germany. Spartanburg is a real winner too, since 800 more jobs will be added. That is an increase of 10% and brings the total workforce there to 8,000. This expansion is also expected to create jobs for suppliers and local businesses. The plant’s capacity is expected to double by 2016, to 450,000 cars, and will also produce a new vehicle. It will be a “large crossover vehicle” called the X7. Like Honda, BMW is doing this because the US is one of its largest markets. In fact it is their 2nd largest market, totaling sales of 377,000 cars last year which represented 19% of all BMW sales. The largest market is China, and production numbers or market share numbers were not provided for this market but I would love to know what they are. There is a great quote here from Norbert Reithofer, the Chief Executive of BMW, “At the BMW Group, we have a golden rule: Production follows the market.” There is another benefit here as well, exporting. The cars that are made in S. Carolina are shipped abroad, 70% of them. If the economy continues the way it is going now expect more announcements like this from other automobile companies, and other businesses as well. I think manufacturing is one of the best indicators of a strong economy since it always includes job creation. Thank you BMW and let’s step up the creation of more hybrid and electric cars please. As always thank you for reading and have a great day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


This one really seems hard to believe! Especially for those of us in the real estate business, where we so recently saw some horrific times. I have seen some increases in activity out there and things are improved for sure but Florida’s economy leading the nation? But it is true, Florida now leads the US is both job growth and “overall recovery” according to Sean Snaith, the director of the University of Central Florida Institute for Economic Competitiveness. He is also a member of some serious national forecaster panels such as The Wall Street Journal's Economic Forecasting Survey and the Associated Press' Economic Survey. Other issues cited for this lofty perch atop the economic mountain are a declining unemployment rate, payroll increases and “overall economic activity.” It is strange, but for some reason the enormous effect of tourism is not mentioned anywhere in the article, despite the fact that we have broken many records this year. That has aided our economy in a huge way and certainly deserves more than a casual mention. All that is alluded to is that tax revenues are up 7 percent this year (as compared to 6.5% last year) due to tourism and “a boost in consumer confidence.” I have to believe that tourism was the number one economic driver in Florida, followed closely by construction now as the developers chase the rental (and increasingly more condo projects) residential boom. Wages and hiring are up, the real estate market is recovering, we have good weather and companies are expanding and moving here from other parts of the US and the world. Is there any place better than us right now? It doesn’t seem like it so be thankful for another day in paradise here and try and get outside and enjoy yourself. At least for a little while. You deserve it! Think about it, you could be in Chicago freezing your butt off right now! As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

State's robust recovery outpaces nation, aids workers