Billionaire: ‘Wealth Exodus’ to S. Fla. Will Continue
Developer Stephen Ross says New Yorkers are moving to Fla. for jobs, not just retirement, due to tax issues, security concerns and Fla.’s “ease of living.”
NEW YORK – Billionaire Stephen Ross, founder of the firm that developed Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, is pushing deeper into South Florida in a bet that wealth will continue migrating from the Northeast. Related Cos. is seeking opportunities for real estate projects outside of West Palm Beach and Miami, where the firm has already established a presence, Ross said in an interview.
“People are looking from the Northeast and relocating for jobs – not retirement – and companies are looking” for offices, Ross said. “It’s tax issues, and there’s the security issues. There’s just the ease of living.”
In the past two years, major technology, finance and law firms have moved or expanded to South Florida, drawn by the lower taxes and warmer weather. Ken Griffin’s Citadel is relocating its headquarters to Miami from Chicago, while companies including Apollo Global Management Inc. and Blackstone Inc. have taken space in the region.
One of Related’s mixed-use projects in West Palm Beach, dubbed The Square, has attracted the likes of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management. Other financial companies have signed leases at One Flagler, also in West Palm and set to be ready in 2024. Last year, Related unveiled plans to build one of the tallest skyscrapers in Miami.
Meanwhile, cities such as New York and San Francisco are struggling with vacancies and dwindling demand for offices. In Manhattan, Related is pitching a casino resort for the second phase of its $25 billion Hudson Yards project, on a site once slated for offices and housing.
“New York will continue to grow, but it has its challenges, and a lot of people who don’t have to be there are looking not to be there,” Ross said. “It’s changing, it’s getting younger, the older people are moving out, the wealthier people are moving out.”
Still, Ross acknowledged that younger workers are still largely attracted to big cities like New York.
“We have huge investments, we’re still doing tremendous developments in New York,” he said. “But I think Florida is going to capture an awful lot of people.”
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