Real Estate Leaders Discuss Best Practices in Addressing Rising Seas and Aging Infrastructure
ULI’s Southeast Florida/Caribbean chapter and its Young Leaders of Broward and Palm Beach counties advanced the conversation about one of the most important issues facing the entire region – resilience against rising seas – on Monday, February 26 at the ULI office in Fort Lauderdale.
Members Alec Bogdanoff, president and co-founder of Fort Lauderdale-based consulting firm Brizaga, Inc. and Chris Capellini, associate in the Boca Raton office of Bohler Engineering, organized the “Returns on Resilience” in conjunction with ULI’s Southeast chapter. Broward County Mayor Beam Furr kicked things off with an overview of the measures county officials are implementing and plan to take in anticipation of rising sea levels. Calling it “possibly the biggest challenge” policy makers will face in their careers, Furr said Broward is focusing on a 15-year timetable that accounts for a projected eight inches of sea level rise during that span.
A spirited panel discussion about resiliency, sustainability and other key issues facing the real state and development sectors followed, with Lantana-based environmental and land-use attorney Erin Deady of Erin Deady Law moderating the discussions. Deady represents Monroe County and noted that the Florida Keys lost more than 4,100 units to damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
Developer Jean François Roy, founder and president of Ocean Land Investments; Bill Worrall, vice president of property management firm FirstService Residential; and Nicole Shiman, vice president – investments of retail developer and investor EDENS served as panelists. Key takeaways from the discussion included:
- Demonstrate returns. Worrall cited communities FirstService manages in Bal Harbour and Brickell as examples of condo associations that bought into investing in resiliency measures after being shown the substantial return on investment generated from utility cost and insurance premium savings. Shiman added that EDENS recently started a Sustainability Task Force and has produced significant common area energy cost savings at its retail centers by participating in the Energy Star® program.
- Collaboration is key. Roy, who has developed numerous waterfront condo buildings in Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Isles and is planning the Riverwalk Residences of Las Olas senior living project in the city, emphasized that strong dialogue and cooperation between the public and private sectors are paramount when tackling issues like raising streets and individual properties.
- Preservation vs. Historic Preservation boards are going to have to weigh the need to preserve our region’s landmarks against necessary upgrades to ensure the survival of structures in high-risk areas.