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How Irma will affect real estate market

Like it did to everything else in Northeast Florida, Hurricane Irma dealt a significant impact to the residential real estate market.

But, like much else, it will come back, according to real estate professionals who’ve weathered the storms for years.

Bill Watson, founder and chairman of Watson Realty Corp., said the local effects of the hurricane began Sept. 8 for his 1,600 employees in 43 offices in North and Central Florida and South Georgia. That was two days before the storm made landfall in the Florida Keys.

“The first phase is when the hurricane warning comes. When the schools close, that affects your workforce,” he said.

Most Realtors are independent contractors and when schools are closed by an approaching storm, they take care of their children and families, Watson said.

After Irma, it was time to assess the damage on the personal and corporate levels and return to work. For many, that began about 12 hours after the storm left the area.

“We reopened Tuesday at noon. Two agents took clients to see houses and we also closed two contracts on Wednesday,” said Sherry Davidson, co-founder of Davidson Realty, which has offices in Jacksonville Beach and St. Augustine.

Linda Sherrer, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty, said five of her firm’s eight offices opened Tuesday, followed by the other three on Wednesday when power was restored to those locations.

The first step was to determine if properties had been damaged.

“Our agents started calling all of their listings and all of their buyers,” Sherrer said.

The post-storm phase brings its own challenges that involve title companies and lenders.

Unless a contract was executed, lenders won’t fund the loan until the home is inspected to determine whether the property was damaged. That will probably mean adding about a week or 10 days to the process, Davidson said.

Watson said damage to a property that’s under contract doesn’t necessarily void a sale, provided repairs can be completed within a set time.

“You have 10 days to determine whether the damage is minor and if so, the seller has to notify the buyer,” he said. “If the damage is minor, the seller has 30 days to repair it.”

If the damage is more than what’s considered minor — about 3 percent of the value — the buyer has the option to continue to closing or walk away from the contract, Watson said.

After the initial disruption, the market will return to its previous level, said Sherrer, who has been selling real estate in Northeast Florida through good weather and bad since 1979.

“We’ve got low inventory and low interest rates and demand is very strong. That points to a strong rebound,” she said.

The number of that were damaged will make the untouched properties increase in value.

“If you have an undamaged house that’s ready to move in, you’ll be able to bump up the price. There are still plenty of buyers, but not as much inventory,” Watson said.

He also said Hurricane Irma probably will change the market for the next several months.

“We’ll never get the September business back. And it probably won’t be really back in October, but November and December will be better than they should have been.”

Here Are 2017’s Best and Worst Cities to Retire

We work hard during our careers to enjoy a comfortable retirement, and for many of us, that means settling down someplace where our nest eggs can go the furthest. But for some folks, finding an affordable place to retire is a matter of basic survival. More than 40% of households aged 56 to 64 have no retirement savings to show for, or so states the Economic Policy Institute. And even among older workers who are saving, confidence about retiring comfortably is declining. With that in mind, WalletHub recently did a review of the top cities to retire in this year, as well as the least desirable cities for retirees. Here’s what they came up with.

What makes for a happy retirement?

Though money isn’t everything when it comes to retirement, it’s a big factor to consider. Even if your tastes are modest, and you’re naturally not such a big spender, you’re bound to encounter certain expenses outside your control. Take healthcare, for example, which, according to recent projections, could cost the average healthy 65-year-old couple today over $400,000 in retirement. It therefore stands to reason that finding a city with a relatively low cost of living can be crucial to your overall happiness as a senior.

But while is one of the metrics WalletHub reviewed in its recent study, it’s not the only one. Factors such as recreation, senior services and population, hospital systems, and even climate were all considered in compiling this list.

So which cities offer the best overall quality of life for retirees? Among the 150 cities reviewed by WalletHub, here are the top 10:

Rank: Best Overall City
1 , FL
2 Tampa, FL
3 Miami, FL
4 Scottsdale, AZ
5 Atlanta, GA
6 Salt Lake City, UT
7 Honolulu, HI
8 Denver, CO
9 Austin, TX
10 Las Vegas, NV

DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.

Keep in mind that these 10 cities aren’t necessarily the most affordable. In fact, some, like Honolulu and Denver, scored relatively low on affordability alone. If a low cost of living is paramount in your mind, here are the top 10 cities you might consider as a retiree:

Rank: Most Affordable City
1 Laredo, TX
2 Brownsville, TX
3 St. Petersburg, FL
4 Montgomery, AL
5 San Antonio, TX
6 Memphis, TN
7 Tampa, FL
8 Orlando, FL
9 Lubbock, TX
10 Knoxville, TN

DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.

Of course, what you gain in affordability, you might forgo elsewhere. Take Laredo, Texas, the cheapest city for retirees. Though you might snag housing and groceries on the cheap, Laredo scored pretty low with regard to activities and amenities, and it came in nearly last on healthcare.

So which cities might you try to avoid as a senior? Here’s what the list of the 10 worst retiree states looks like:

Rank: Worst Overall City
1 Newark, NJ
2 Providence, RI
3 San Bernardino, CA
4 Worcester, MA
5 Detroit, MI
6 Fresno, CA
7 Stockton, CA
8 Modesto, CA
9 Fontana, CA
10 Rancho Cucamonga, CA

DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.

Most of the cities on this list scored relatively low in terms of affordability, and all landed at the bottom of the heap with regard to healthcare. Interestingly, none of the cities with the highest cost of living, including New York, New York; San Jose, California; and San Francisco, California, came even close to making the bottom 10 overall, which goes to show that money shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when determining where to live as a senior.

Finding the right place for your senior years

Clearly, the place you spend your days in retirement will have an impact on not just your budget but your everyday quality of life. If you’re not sure where to go once you stop working, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • How much do I want to spend on housing, transportation, and essentials? The more you fork over to cover your basic costs, the less cash you’ll have available for leisure. On the other hand, if you choose a city that offers much in the way of free entertainment, it might be worth the higher rent or mortgage. Furthermore, don’t just consider how much you want to spend but also what you can afford to spend. You might dream of retiring in Honolulu, but if your nest egg won’t hold up there, you’ll need to pick someplace with a lower cost of living.
  • How’s my health? Though having good access to healthcare is important for all retirees, if you have a known medical issue, you’ll need to pay even closer attention to how local hospitals and doctors are ranked. The last thing you want as a senior is to have to travel long distances to receive quality medical care.
  • How important is it for me to live near family? Your family might serve as a key social outlet and support system in retirement, so be sure to factor in proximity to children, siblings, and grandkids when deciding where to live. If you’re not willing to relocate to get closer (say, your family lives in an expensive city or someplace whose climate isn’t ideal), consider the cost of traveling from your city of choice to where your loved ones live, because you don’t want to grapple with perpetually pricey air fares when you’re stuck on a fixed income.

Choosing the right place to retire is crucial to your overall happiness. The more thought you put into where you retire, the more content you’re likely to be down the line.

State OKs new 100-bed UCF Lake Nona

The University of Central Florida and HCA Healthcare will start building a new 100-bed teaching hospital adjacent ‘s 50-acre College of Medicine campus in southeast Orlando’s Lake Nona community within 18 months. The campus currently has two facilities for classrooms and research.

The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration this week gave final approval for a hospital that’s expected to open for patients by the end of 2020.

The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s 12 public universities, approved the public/private hospital in March after the state had given the facility preliminary approval. That approval allows UCF to grow the hospital to up to 500 beds without further approval from that board. The planned new hospital will:

  • Train third- and fourth-year medical students from Day One.
  • Allow the UCF medical school to expand its clinical research mission. The university-based teaching hospital is expected to help lure more grants to fund research.
  • Provide more opportunities for medical residency programs.
  • Be a living-learning lab for training medical, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy and social work students in teamwork skills and communication.

Building the new hospital also will bring opportunities for designers, builders and vendors, as well as new permanent, high-wage jobs.

Nashville-based HCA’s North Florida Division will contribute $175 million to build and begin operating the hospital, called UCF Lake Nona Medical Center. UCF will provide the land and its academic brand. No state dollars will be used to build the facility. “Together with our partners at HCA, we look forward to strengthening our community’s health, training more doctors and powering economic growth through research,” said UCF President John C. Hitt in a prepared statement.

He has described building the hospital as one of the university’s most important decisions of this decade.

A hospital to advance teaching and clinical research programs has been a UCF priority since the university opened its medical school in 2009. “This hospital and its research mission are part of the economic impact we promised the community when the medical school was built,” said Dr. Deborah German, founding dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs, in a prepared statement. (See the photo gallery for a look inside the medical school.) “In the United States and around the world, the best health systems have an academic component at their heart and the best medical schools have teaching hospitals. UCF Lake Nona Medical Center will help Central Florida become a national, then global health care destination that will benefit all of our partners and our community

New York Real Estate

Tavistock preps plans for 2 new Lake Nona apartment projects

Tavistock Development Co. LLC has plans in the works to bring two new multifamily projects — including one it’s calling “micro apartments” — to southeast ’s booming Lake Nona community.

Early planning is underway for a second multifamily development in the Lake Nona Town Center, temporarily being called The Distillery, which would be 11 stories high and include a mix of uses within it, according to documents.

The most unique part about the project is the residential units themselves, which is something Tavistock plans to experiment with by making them about 10-15 percent smaller than what’s now available in Orlando, Vice President of Development Operations Ralph Ireland told Orlando Business Journal.

The plan is to test out six “truly micro” units, at about 375 square feet each, Ireland said. If that’s successful, Tavistock may try to do some in its next apartment project.

“Because we’re always trying to innovate, we want to do things in Lake Nona that haven’t been done elsewhere in Central Florida,” Ireland told OBJ. “Of course, we can’t just roll out 150 micro units because we don’t know how it’s going to work. But we’re trying to get something more efficient. And they will be well amenitized within the units and in the common areas.”

Tavistock already has secured a foundation permit for this project, and is seeking city staff approval on a final plat. is expected to start in May or June next year.

Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. in Orlando is the civil engineer, the project architects are Silver Springs, Md.-based Torti Gallas & Partners Inc. and Columbus, Ohio-based M+A Architects, and the landscape architect is Dix.Hite + Partners LLC.

GROWN RESTAURANT IS NOW OPEN IN LAKE NONA

Grown is now open for business. Grown Restaurant is own by former NBA Star Ray Allen and his Wife Shannon. Grown is located inside the Lake Nona Walmart in the Lake Nona Landing Shopping Center.

Open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. They’re currently in a Soft Opening phase with a Limited menu.
Grand Opening will be later this Summer.

Grown gives a facelift to fast food. Making it easier to eat healthy in Lake Nona.

Grown has real food, cooked slow, for fast people. When it comes to eating, busy people have been conditioned to accept compromise. At grown, food can finally be convenient, nutritious and affordable all at the same time, under one garden-topped roof, full of freshly grown ingredients.

Grown will be located in the new Lake Nona Walmart in Lake Nona Landings.

4 High-Return Updates for the Home

Exclusive: Construction tees up for $25M Lake Nona golf attraction

It’s official: ’s & Performance District is adding a new golf and entertainment element to the mix.

Franklin, Tenn.-based The Parkes Cos. last week was issued a permit valued at $10 million to begin work on Drive Shack, the new complex at 7675 Lake Nona Blvd., according to city of documents.

The project includes a three-story, 57,000-square-foot driving range entertainment facility that includes a restaurant, lounge, bar, hitting bays and meeting spaces, according to Orange County permitting documents. It will be built on a 15-acre site on the northwest quadrant of State Road 417 and Lake Nona Boulevard, as previously reported by Orlando Business Journal. It will be similar to Topgolf, which plans to open an Orlando site on International Drive this fall.

A project manager at The Parkes Cos. wasn’t available for comment and it appears Drive Shack Orlando’s Facebook page hasn’t been updated since September, as of the morning of May 22.

However, New York-based Drive Shack Inc. (NYSE: DS) is a new global golf entertainment company as announced last November by New York-based real estate investment trust Newcastle Investment Corp., which is managed by an affiliate of real estate firm Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE: FIG).

The Lake Nona site is the parent company’s first Drive Shack location and another one is in the works, Drive Shack CEO and President Sarah Watterson said during the company’s May 5 first-quarter earnings call. Here’s more on what Watterson had to say about the project during that call:

“On the entertainment golf business, we continue to be very excited and make strides in developing our global network of Drive Shack venues. In Orlando, we’re in the midst of constructing our first venue, with the goal being open in first-quarter 2018. We’re also very excited to announce that our second Drive Shack venue will be developed in Richmond, Va. … Our venues feature multiple stories of hitting suites, whether friends, family, coworkers or complete strangers are able to compete in various technologically-enhanced golf games while using TaylorMade clubs. Consumers who are seeking a good time, but maybe not looking to participate in the game, are able to enjoy food and beverage options from one of our many entertainment, restaurant or lounge areas.”

Each Drive Shack site is expected to cost $15 million-$25 million to build, and would generate about $3 million-$6 million of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a December 2016 investor presentation showed.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous is the project architect; Walter P. Moore is the structural engineer; ME Engineers is handling mechanical, electrical and plumbing; and Howe Engineers is the code engineer.

Meanwhile, Drive Shack in Lake Nona is the next piece of the 300-acre Sports & Performance District, which boasts the now operating $100 million U.S. Tennis Association National Campus; the soon-to-debut $1.4 million USTA Florida headquarters and U.S. Professional Tennis Association complex; and the $20 million Orlando City Soccer Club training facility.

Elsewhere in Lake Nona, global audit giant KPMG LLP is hosting a May 22 groundbreaking on its new $430 million Lake Nona training center and Lake Nona developer Tavistock Development Co. LLC expects big things for the next $300 million phase of its Lake Nona Town Center.

Tavistock takes steps forward on Lake Nona Town Center’s next big phase

Developer Tavistock Development Co. LLC on March 9 is expected to go before the city of Orlando’s Southeast town design review committee with a specific parcel master plan for what’s being called Phase 2A — a significant piece of the $780 million, 3.8 million-square-foot open-air lifestyle and entertainment center planned for Lake Nona.

has submitted plans that include:

  • 1.2 million square feet of mixed-use development, including a brewery, bowling alley and medical fitness facility
  • About 200 hotel rooms
  • 3,200 parking spaces, including surface spaces and garage spacesLos Angeles Real Estate

The Lake Nona Town Center’s $70 million first phase included two office buildings — one completed and one now in the works— plus restaurants, a dual-branded Marriott hotel and structured parking, as previously reported by Orlando Business Journal.

The request to expand the second office building to six stories also is on the March 9 review committee agenda, as OBJ previously reported .

Meanwhile, the Lake Nona Town Center is a long-awaited project meant to serve local residents, students and workers in the 11,000-acre southeast Orlando community, but likely also will attract some tourists, as previously reported by OBJ.

Hemisphere Restaurant Now Open at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport

A new defining dining experience offers unparalleled views and seasonal chef’s recommended culinary flights

, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following a successful $3 million re-design and soft opening, the newly re-imagined Hemisphere restaurant is open daily for breakfast and dinner, serving up neo-contemporary world cuisine alongside unmatched views from the ninth floor of Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. The recently re-designed 3,000 square-foot restaurant seats 164 guests and playfully combines the adventure of flight with international flavors.

“Hemisphere was created for travelers and locals in search of an unforgettable dining experience offering fascinating runway views, thoughtful service, and an elevated level of cuisine and cocktails,” said Bruce McDonald, general manager, Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. “We have embraced our unique location, with unrivaled, panoramic views of one of the most active international airports as the focal point of Hemisphere. Guests satisfy their inner curiosity with air and space travel among an upscale dining atmosphere.”

Hemisphere guests are transported into a world of travel-rich sights, sounds and tastes. The restaurant’s new design features floor-to-ceiling glass walls facing airport runways, inviting guests to gaze at planes etching through the starlit sky and rockets launching into space, McDonald continued.

Food & Beverage

Led by Executive Chef Jeffery Powell, Hemisphere’s culinary team has designed a menu that infuses robust international flavors and seasonal local ingredients. Dinner highlights include Chef Powell’s signature pork belly with slow pickled blueberries, candied jalapeños and savory sunchoke purée.

Additionally, guests will enjoy a seasonal Chef’s Recommended Flight, a menu of signature dishes that will change with every new season. Avocado toast, kalbi short rib sliders, grilled fennel and apple and pork tamales are available now as part of the featured Chef’s Recommended Flight on the restaurant’s new dinner menu.

“We designed the Hemisphere menu with dishes that are designed for sharing among friends and brought out to the table on a flow throughout the meal,” said Executive Chef Powell. “This way, diners can experience more dishes, rather than sticking to an individual starter and main course.”

The Hemisphere beverage menu complements the world kitchen concept with a carefully curated collection of wines and cocktails from each hemisphere, like the Very Long Layover featuring Lillet rosé, mineral water, lemon juice, grapefruit bitters, and lavender simple syrup. Wine cuvees are filled with 16 wine varietals from different regions around the globe. Wine Flights rotate daily and guests may simply select a direction to travel: Up North and Down South.

Restaurant guests enjoy an easy and grand sense of arrival to Hemisphere with direct access into the Orlando International Airport and the Hyatt Regency hotel valet, followed by a brief elevator ride to the ninth floor and entry into Hemisphere. Complimentary valet parking is available for all Hemisphere guests.

Hemisphere offers flexible seating to accommodate groups, as well as, small parties and single diners in its signature setting. Custom wine cuvees and lounge-style seating highlight the center of the restaurant and large custom aviation-inspired murals adorn the walls. The Upper Deck presents a unique setting for private dining and receptions with an eagle-eye view.

Paper Planes: A Local Art Installation

Following a local artist search, Damon Dewitt was hand-selected to craft the signature entryway art installation at the re-designed Hemisphere restaurant. Dewitt’s work, Paper Planes, is physically and metaphorically light and reflective evoking a nostalgic flight experience and embracing the sense of wonder and travel from the early years of commercial aviation. The art installation is showcased in the new entry of Hemisphere and follows the curvature of the signature spiral staircase to the Upper Deck. The handcrafted “paper” airplanes float on 15 rows of vertical, stainless steel wiring for a sleek yet simple display.

Hemisphere is open daily for breakfast from 5:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. (12:00 p.m. on weekends) and for dinner Monday – Saturday from 5:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. For more information and reservations, visit www.HemisphereRestaurant.com or call (407) 825-1234. Stay social on Instagram: @HemisphereRestaurant and Facebook: /Hemisphere Restaurant COM

 

About Hemisphere

With an active, upbeat environment, Hemisphere restaurant engages guests’ senses with seasonal menus featuring hand-crafted dishes that infuse local ingredients with modern world flavors. The restaurant is open for breakfast daily and dinner Monday – Saturday, with private event space available daily. It is located on the ninth floor of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport with convenient access to downtown Orlando, the Interstate 4 business and tourism corridor, as well as the neighboring community. For more information, visit www.HemisphereRestaurant.com.

Sanford Burnham’s shortfall

dry cleaners, day cares, and real estate offices are among businesses that would have benefited from a $4.8 million economic boost if Sanford Burnham had met job goals, according to a new analysis.

Lured to Orlando a decade ago with more than $350 million in incentives, the California-based medical-research institute fell short of its goal to create 303 relatively high-paying jobs. The institute’s shortfall of 64 relatively high-paying jobs takes a multi-million-dollar toll on the local economy annually, according to regional economic analysis by economist Sean Snaith, of the University of Central Florida.

Much of that is money that would have flowed through businesses in the burgeoning area.

“The impact here is on the household sector,” said Snaith, who sees incentives as worthwhile in some cases. “The employees who weren’t hired don’t spend on consumer goods, retail, restaurants, day care, doctors, transportation and mortgages.”

The state has demanded $77 million — half of its $150 million contribution to the incentives package — back from Sanford Burnham. But institute officials have said they owe nothing because their agreement only required attempting to create 303 jobs.

Orlando businesses aren’t alone in missing out on new customers, orders and commerce lost when incentivized companies fail to deliver on promised jobs. Eight research companies won $444 million in state innovation incentives from 2006-2008 — three times more than incentives awarded to 440 companies with Florida operations. The eight heavyweights of incentives are in Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Only one met or exceeded job goals, according to data from the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

“They all fail and it’s at a cost to the taxpayers,” said new House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has vowed his chamber will fund no incentives. “It’s the taxpayers’ money and it could easily be going to something that would have a terrific effect on our state, such as world-class education.”

State officials say Gov. Rick Scott has reformed the incentive process by requiring companies to meet job goals and other measures before they get any payments.

Even without Sanford Burnham hitting full stride, Lake Nona is among Orlando’s fastest-selling developments. Where cow pastures had been just a decade ago, Lake Nona now claims a VA Hospital, the University of Central Florida Medical Center, the University of Florida Research Center and Nemours Children’s Hospital. Most had been discussed for various Central Florida locations before Sanford Burnham located in Lake Nona.

In the corner offices of a stone-trimmed shopping center near the entrance to Lake Nona, Keller Williams broker Allyn Maycumber speaks with a walk-in customer about Lake Nona’s vibrance and strong schools. But the broker is so busy he cuts the conversation short to leave for a client meeting.

Maycumber said the unfilled jobs at Sanford Burnham are still important because Lake Nona home prices, combined with Orlando taxes, community development fees and homeowner association fees put purchases out of reach for many buyers. Higher-paying jobs from Sanford Burnham would have brought in more buyers who could afford to purchase there, she added.

“I think it’s important to have that anchor [Sanford Burnham] because the houses are so expensive,” said Maycumber. “Prices are steadily going up to where it’s almost out-priced the first-time buyers. You have young people who have been priced out of the market here.”

In June, Sanford Burnham reported that salaries for its Orlando operations averaged about $64,000. Even though that surpassed Metro Orlando’s most recent median of salary of $51,077, the institute’s average paycheck is still not enough to afford a typical house in the Lake Nona postal zone, mortgage calculators show. Average October sale prices there averaged $375,000, far exceeding the Orange County average of $264,000 for that month, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

Housing would have been one of the biggest local beneficiaries if Sanford Burnham had succeeded with its jobs mission, said Owen Beitsch, senior director of economic and real estate advisory services for Community Solutions Group. But many types of also would have benefited, he said.

“When money has been misallocated, it leads to benefits not realized,” said Beitsch, who also teaches economics at UCF. The “opportunity cost” of jobs not realized “begs the question of how closely we make these evaluations initially, he said.

Situated on a Lake Nona street named for Nobel Laureate Frederick Sanger, Sanford Burnham is credited with forming the Translational Research Institute with Florida Hospital. It also helped cultivate a spin-off company, micro-gRx, which develops a “lab on a chip” for scientists to study live human cells in space.

In response to the state’s demands, the institute’s attorney wrote last week that Sanford Burnham had worked “very, very hard over the years” to live up to its agreement with Florida. And even though the institute worked for months to transfer its Orlando operations to the University of Florida, the letter stated it does not intend to cease operations in Florida in the coming months.

Snaith used modeling used by other universities and government agencies, with Sanford Burnham salaries and job numbers. He said incentives sometimes get compared to the parable of a farmer scattering seed and only some of it germinating while the rest goes to waste.

“I don’t think this is a seed that got trampled,” he said. “I just don’t think it bore as much harvest as expected.’