FYI Miami: November 28, 2013
DEVELOPMENT AT SEAPORT: A county code change to create a new Port Miami zoning district that would allow the seaport to permit developers to build multi-family housing projects, convention halls and showrooms, mixed-use projects and undefined civic projects, among others, at the port cleared a first reading by the Miami-Dade County Commission last week. For such non-maritime projects by third-party developers, approvals of zoning and plans would be by the director of the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources and would have to be issued “within 15 days of application. The measure, sponsored by Jose “Pepe” Diaz, passed 8-0 without discussion. It must pass a second reading to become part of the county code.
BUILDING PIPELINE FILLS: Soaring South Florida residential construction contracts in October pushed the total dollar value of construction contracts for the month up 83% from October 2012, McGraw Hill Construction reported this week. The more than $516 million in residential contracts for the month were well more than double the 2012 level. For the year as a whole, total future construction contracts for the region of more than $5.6 billion have risen 11%, propelled by a 27% gain in residential contracts.
PRICES BOB UP: Consumer prices in South Florida rose six-tenths of a percentage point from the start of September to the end of October, driven by higher prices for shelter, clothing and medical care, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. The big decline in prices during the period was a 5.2% drop in gasoline prices. The price of electricity also fell a half percentage point in the two months. Food prices rose 1%, led by a 1.6% increase in costs of food at home. In the year ended Oct. 31, the area’s consumer prices rose nine-tenths of a percentage point, driven by a 1.8% jump in shelter prices, the bureau reported.
NATURAL GAS GULF: Piped natural gas costs South Floridians more this year than last, and very far more than the national average. Prices as of September averaged $1.489 per therm in South Florida whereas in September 2012 the average here was $1.374. Nationally, September prices averaged $1 per therm, so we were paying 48.9% more, the bureau said. For the past five years, in fact, the bureau found that Miamians were paying at every moment at least 33% more than the national average for natural gas.