August 16, 2022
Hey, Miami! It's Tuesday.
☀️ Forecast: Mostly sunny, with a high near 90 and a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm.
🚨 Situational awareness: An officer from Miami-Dade Police Department’s robbery intervention detail was shot in the head overnight during a car chase and shootout in Liberty City. The suspect was killed. (Miami Herald)
Today's newsletter is 948 words, a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Adam Neumann, your landlord?
Adam Neumann — the charismatic and controversial WeWork co-founder who led the co-working company through a spectacular rise and fall — is rethinking the residential housing market, and he's already got stakes in South Florida.
What's happening: Neumann's new real estate company, Flow, has raised a reported $350 million (at a more than $1 billion valuation) from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, the New York Times reported yesterday.
- Details of the business plan haven't been made public, but indicators suggest that Neumann has a vision to do with residential real estate what he did with offices: bring a sense of community to properties and develop a widely recognizable brand.
Zoom in: Back in January, the Wall Street Journal revealed that since Neumann was forced out on the heels of WeWork's implosion, Neumann-controlled entities have purchased thousands of apartment units in South Florida, Atlanta and Nashville, including:
- Society Las Olas: a 34-story, 639-unit building in Fort Lauderdale
- Caoba: a 43-story, 444-unit in downtown Miami
- Yard 8: a 387-unit building in Midtown Miami
Between the lines: Earlier this year, Tim Peterson of Boca Raton-based Altman Cos., which had been hired to manage some of those Miami properties, suggested to Bisnow that Neumann's vision was to create a communal vibe.
- Peterson said that could be potentially nurtured through programming such as fitness events, a speaker series, or volunteer events.
Whatever the vibe at the properties, owning apartment buildings seems sure to be a profitable venture as homeownership gets increasingly out of reach for more Americans.
- Rents in South Florida have risen 39.5% in a year and RentCafe ranked Miami as the most competitive rental market of 2022.
2. Your 1-minute primary election guide
We're exactly a week away from Florida's primary election, where voters will decide which Democrats will face off in November against Ron DeSantis for governor and Marco Rubio for U.S. senator.
- Also on the ballot: candidates for the U.S. House, the state Legislature, local referendums and more.
Zoom in: Miami-Dade voters will elect judges, county commissioners and school board members.
- Voters in Miami will also decide whether to lease city land for a vast development along the Miami River. Miami Beach has six ballot questions (more on that next).
- In Miami Gardens, three City Council seats are on the ballot. And in Key Biscayne, voters will elect the next mayor.
The backdrop: Following the 2020 census, borders of voting districts were redrawn to account for population changes.
- According to FiveThirtyEight's analysis, new maps introduced by Gov. DeSantis will give Republicans "six more seats in Congress this year than they would get under a perfectly fair map."
- Critics are challenging the maps, but the Florida Supreme Court won't hear the case until after the elections.
3. Say goodbye to some city-funded voter guides
Miami Beach voters facing complex referendums in next week's election won't be able to rely on their city government for help understanding the ballot questions.
Driving the news: A new Florida law restricts how local governments can inform their voters about the issues in upcoming elections.
- House Bill 921, which took effect July 1, includes a provision that prohibits cities from spending public funds to send communications to voters about upcoming referendums.
The city of Miami Beach, which for years has mailed out multilingual voter guides explaining referendums to residents, did not publish one for the Aug. 23 election and won't send any going forward.
- Instead, the city sent voters a list of the ballot questions — without explanations — in a monthly magazine mailed to residents.
Yes, but: City attorney Rafael Paz said the city will post referendum explanations on its website for the November election.
- In the meantime, Miami Beach voters can read the Miami Herald's referendum explanations or visit the city's website for more election information.
What they're saying: "Limiting the ability to inform voters on what they're going to review is really just wrong," Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber tells Axios.
Miami Beach resident Jo Manning tells Axios she relies on the city's mailed voter guides to help her understand wonky policy issues.
- This year, she says she's leaning on resident-advocacy groups like Miami Beach United for help.
4. Cafecito: Sip on these headlines
🚌 A new school bus-tracking app for parents and students in Broward County Public Schools will launch on Sept. 15. The app has cost taxpayers about $1.8 million since it was purchased in 2019. (Sun-Sentinel)
⛽️ Florida regular gas prices are about $1.24 per gallon cheaper on average than they were in mid-June, according to AAA. (WPLG Local 10)
😷 The firing of a Broward County teacher for refusing to wear a mask last year was upheld yesterday by an administrative judge. The judge's ruling will go to the school board for a final decision. (News Service of Florida)
New jobs to check out
5. Cookies expands cannabis empire to Florida
Cookies, the popular California-based marijuana company, opened its first Florida outpost in Westchester over the weekend.
Driving the news: The dispensary, at 8303 Bird Road, started selling medical marijuana Saturday.
State of play: Rapper and entrepreneur Berner (aka Gilbert Milam Jr.) founded Cookies 10 years ago and has since grown it into a billion-dollar company with 49 dispensaries.
Between the lines: A web of federal, state and local laws governing marijuana sales can make it challenging for cannabis companies to find suitable retail locations, The Real Deal explained.
- A cannabis holding and operating company called TRP, which is behind the Westchester store, is partnering with marijuana brands like Cookies to cut through red tape and open locations.
What's ahead: The companies have plans to open 10 Cookies stores in Florida in the coming year.
While you're at it, tell your favorite doctor to subscribe to Axios Miami.