2017 ULI Florida Summit: Navigating Florida’s Changing Landscape 

By: Jenae Valentine – Economic Develpment Coordinator  

Jenae Valentine and Kevin Crowder of RMA attended the ULI Florida Summit: Navigating Florida’s Changing Landscape in Tampa. The summit took place May 25 and 26 at Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. Florida’s leading city representatives and development professionals were in attendance.  Panelist included public officials, developers, real estate analyst, and banking professionals. Panel discussions addressed public sector leadership and vison, infill development, project financing, and private sector innovation. As a working professional in economic development, I gained a wealth of knowledge on how government and the development community approach growth and opportunity.

Finding Sources of Capital to fund development projects is always a hot topic. The Financing Florida panel discussed how insurance companies, financial institutions, and high net worth individuals are financing development projects in south Florida. Life insurance companies are financing multifamily, industrial, and grocery anchored projects between $2M- $250M with Loan to Value ratios between 65%-70%. Financial institutions are financing short-term stable multifamily, retail, industrial, and office projects. The new political climate has created a conservative lending cycle but transactions are starting to pick up. High net worth individuals are financing more urban infill residential projects between $150K-$15M. These projects are small scale (<30 units) townhomes in areas directly outside of the urban core. If the panel was given 50 Million to invest, their top sector investments would be in multifamily (specifically Class B and small scale), industrial, and grocery anchored retail.

Joseph P. Riley, former Mayor of Charleston, spoke about the importance of public gathering spaces. He encouraged the public sector to designate parks where people can enjoy open space without events and retail. Spencer Levy, Head of Research for CBRE, shared the importance of labor, data quality, and analysis. He stated that following the jobs will lead you to opportunity within cities. One way cities can create a long term competitive advantage is by finding ways to attract and retain the labor force overtime through quality of life, affordability, and upward professional growth. John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, discussed the importance of understanding demographics and how they affect your business. Every development should have a target audience and understand the differences between consumers. Each decade has a consumer type and contributes to society differently. Studying your consumer and projecting long-term opportunity should position cities for vibrancy and developers with successful projects.

I found all the panels to be educational and the walking tour of Tampa’s Riverwalk to be exciting. The Riverwalk is a great example of waterfront resurgence and creating place through art, entertainment, and open space. I had a wonderful time meeting and learning from industry professionals. The ULI Summit was very informative and I look forward to attending more conferences.


June Farrell, S & ME- Talked about Tampa’s downtown transformation from the 70s to now.

Juan Rodriguez, City of Fort Lauderdale- Discussed housing affordability in downtown Tampa vs. downtown Fort Lauderdale for the millennial professional.

Diana Alarcon, City of Fort Lauderdale- Discussed the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk and possible opportunities.

Don Patterson, REVA Development- Caught up on development projects and new opportunities.

Stacy Watson, Holland & Knight- Discussed Jacksonville and the downtown revitalization happening on the riverfront.

Vivien Monaco, Burr + Forman- Discussed adaptive reuse of parking garages by using flight decks with ramps.

Jarvis Funderburk, Nova Southeastern University MSRED student- Discussed the program and gave him tips on networking.

Commissioner Dennis C Moss, Miami Dade Board of County Commissioners- Talked to him about RMA and what services we provide for cities.