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An updated version of Florida’s Live Local Act, a law designed to clear red tape and spur new residential development that helps alleviate the state’s affordability crisis, has arrived on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

DeSantis is expected to review the legislation in the coming days, Julia Friedland, the deputy press secretary for the executive office of the governor, told media outlets. The governor’s office did not immediately respond to email and phone calls from CoStar News.

The original law, passed last year by the state legislature, offers tax incentives and low interest loans for developers who commit 40% of the units in any multifamily or mixed-use project as affordable, a definition the law says is up to 120% of the area’s median income. The law overrode local zoning controls, letting developers build projects on areas designated for commercial, mixed-use or industrial purposes, and allowing projects to rise as tall as the nearest highest structure in a mile radius within that jurisdiction.

The law allows projects that meet its criteria to be administratively approved and not require public hearings, a process that can often drag on for months.

The law encountered almost immediate pushback from local municipalities as new projects were proposed. In South Florida, cities like Doral and Bal Harbour issued development moratoriums in response to mall redevelopments; Miami Beach’s mayor at the time told the Miami Herald a proposed hotel redevelopment was the worst idea he had ever heard; and Pasco County on Florida’s west coast voted at the end of last year to file a lawsuit striking down provisions from the law.

“There isn’t a local government official that doesn’t tell me we have a housing crisis,” said Vicki Lopez, a Florida state legislator and one of the architects of the Live Local Act, during law firm Bilzin Sumberg’s fifth annual development conference on May 7 at the Four Seasons in the Brickell financial district. “I say, ‘we’re going to build [more housing]’ and they say, ‘but not in our backyard,’” said Lopez about her interactions with local officials.

The amended bill was passed earlier this year with little opposition. The clarifications prevent municipalities from restricting projects up to 150% of the currently allowed floor area ratio; provides height protections for single-family neighborhoods; removes parking requirements for transit-oriented developments while reducing parking requirements by 20% for developments within half-a-mile of a transit hub; and added tax exemptions for land and common areas included in developments, not just the residential units. The law now also extends to for-sale condo units, in addition to apartments.

“I know that a lot of times in Tallahassee we’re known for preempting local governments. But my thought is, if you would just help us do it right, we wouldn’t have to,” Lopez said.

The Live Local Act and its recent updates were a key topic of discussion at law firm Bilzin Sumberg’s 5th annual development conference in Miami. (Joshua S. Andino/CoStar News)

The amended law would also provide some restrictions on development near airport flight paths and includes an opt-out clause for counties that have an excess of affordable housing.

Masoud Shojaee, CEO of developer Shoma Group, said there are only two ways to solve the state’s affordable housing crisis — rent control or the Live Local Act. Shojaee, who was also speaking at the law firm’s conference, called the Live Local Act a “strong tool” that allows developers to be part of the solution.

The act allows developers to completely bypass the political approval process, he said, while the tax incentives for added density allow developers to maximize their land use and offset the costs of the dedicated workforce units. Shojaee added that he was surprised more developers hadn’t made use of the law, saying “I can be part of a solution, and at the same time, I’m making money. It feels really good.”

DeSantis has 15 days upon receiving the bill to “veto the bill or sign the bill,” said Lopez. Otherwise, the bill goes into effect “automatically” after the 15-day period.

Lopez added the state wasn’t done trying to combat Florida’s housing crisis, promising to work on “the most comprehensive housing bill Florida’s ever seen” over the course of the summer.


(Orlando Business Journal 4/4/24)

The Orlando Magic’s Sports + Entertainment District is in line for a key city vote this month, according to CEO Alex Martins.

Leadership for the $500 million project — set to be built on roughly 8.43 vacant acres to the north of the city of Orlando-owned Kia Center — wants it to go before Orlando City Council later this month, Martins said after an April 3 Sports Business Journal panel event at the arena. If approved, that would put the development on a path to kick off construction by the end of this year.

San Francisco-based JMA Ventures LLC and Houston-based Machete Group are working with the Magic’s SED Development LLC on what will be a 900,000-square-foot, mixed-use project. Included in the first phase of development will be:

  • A 261-guest room “lifestyle hotel” with an outdoor lounge and pool deck, 16,000 square feet of meeting space and a “chef-driven” restaurant concept
  • Above the hotel will be 273 apartments, including 119 studios, 90 one-bedroom, 59 two-bedroom and five penthouse units.
  • A 3,500-capacity music venue
  • More than 200,000 square feet of Class A office space
  • Roughly 100,000 square feet of retail space
  • A 1.5-acre “urban living room” that would serve as flexible green space for events
  • 1,140 spaces of on-site parking

The goal would be to finish the initial phase by the end of 2026. Proposed future phases bring the potential for more apartment development on the site.

Martins added that the development could help the city’s efforts to draw the NBA All-Star Game to the region. Orlando last hosted in 2012, and the earliest it could be named host again is 2028.

The project would add to the hotels and conference space the region already has, which is important with all the activities tied to the game, such as fan fests, sponsor events and more.

“It’s become a much bigger event than what it was in 2012,” Martins said during the panel event. “It was a $100 million economic impact to our community back then. This year in Indianapolis it was a $300 million economic impact, so it’s become a much bigger event than it was before.”

Including the district, the Downtown Orlando Community Redevelopment Agency/Downtown Development said that as of March, there are 20 proposed projects worth over $1.45 billion in the pipeline, including:

  • 4,258 residential units
  • 556 hotel rooms
  • 136,162 square feet of retail space
  • 321,045 square feet of office space


By Lisa McNatt

Florida has done it again. If writing about rent growth in the Sunshine State could be set to music, it would be a case of the same song, second verse. An examination of all markets in the country with a total industrial inventory of at least 100 million square feet shows that Orlando was the top market in the nation for the third consecutive quarter.

Furthermore, four of the top 10 U.S. markets are in Florida.

Additionally, eight of the top 10 markets are still in the Sun Belt. That’s quite a feat given that an increasing percentage of industrial demand has been shifting to markets in the North and Mid-West, but it is a testament to the impact of population growth into warmer climates since the beginning of the pandemic.

Nowhere has that growth been more apparent than in Florida and Texas, which are the leaders for in-migration, and yet none of the Texas markets made the list for the first quarter of 2024.

Even with demand down sharply in Tampa in the last year by more than 70%, it still ranked as the second leading market in the U.S. for the pace of annual rent growth. That’s not surprising, however, considering that vacancy remains under 5%, nearly half of the vacancy rate in Phoenix, which is ranked third.

The vacancy rate in Orlando is higher at 5.7%, however, there was twice as much demand in the past 12 months as there was in Tampa. In both markets, vacancy is very tight in buildings under 25,000 square feet, which is where an outsized share of tenant demand is taking place.

The Jacksonville market rounds out the final Florida market in the top five. Its accelerated pace of demand is tied to its deep-water port and its proximity to a major industrial hub in Atlanta. It is also the only Florida market in the ranking that has seen an increase in demand in the last year, with absorption, or the change in the number of occupied squared feet, up nearly 25% in that time. The only market in the list with a lower vacancy rate was Fort Lauderdale, which trails the pace of rent growth in Jacksonville by less than 150 basis points.

It is also worth noting that these 10 markets represent nearly 40% of all U.S. industrial demand in the last year. But perhaps most notable of all is that of all the top markets for the pace of annual rent growth as of the first quarter of 2024, only the four Florida markets are also in the top 10 for projected rent growth over the next four years.


I loved working with Lloyd Commercial Advisors, and specifically Scott Lloyd. Scott’s extensive knowledge of the Orlando market was instrumental in helping us find a perfect warehouse in a challenging location. His expertise and understanding of the local market was spot-on and his determination and attention to detail were impressive. He left no stone unturned in the search process and even approached owners that had not listed their property.

Skip Perkins, Avante Group, Inc.

Scott’s command of the Central Florida market and expert utilization of demographic data allowed my company to make two highly-informed site selection decisions. I could not recommend Lloyd Commercial Advisors more. Their expertise and utilization of expert demographic data made the site selection process seamless and efficient. He also negotiated excellent leases for both of our Florida locations and I am extremely grateful. 

Lauren K., Premier Med-spa