The two faces of the Doral economy.

| August 29, 2011

By Ettore Sabatella.

In macroeconomic perspective, Doral’s economy has not been hit as hard as other cities in the United States. Doral has both sides of the coin. The first side comes from the masses of immigrants who come every year with fresh money and were forced to leave their country for some reason and the other side comes from those individuals who have resided in the city for various years or have a permanent stake.

The first one gives us fresh airs of investment as we in general it allows for the construction of new shopping centers and residential communities as well as pushing through the cycle of businesses closing and/or changing strategies for various reasons. The amount of immigrants that arrive at the city are far larger than predicted and as a result there is a high demand for services.

This demand has demonstrated positive signs of local growth, such as the construction of a new private K-8 educational center and two nurseries, signs that indicate a growth in population, as well as the construction of new homes and the low devaluation of property compared to neighboring cities.

We conducted interviews in different strategic locations to various businessmen and residents.

The responses obliged us to conduct an analytical study of the economic condition in Doral with special interest in its economic development.

We had to split the city in two to be able to determine the equilibrium point, discovering that two types of economic engines move totally different.

The first, from 97th avenue to the Palmetto expressway has an economic drive that is totally dependent on commercial and industrial activity and the second is from 97th avenue to the Turnpike and has a drive that is both commercial and residential.

Doral is one of the cities that has reserves of approx. $14M and no budget deficit. The pride of successful management! But neither of these sides are exempt from the economic downtimes.

The most affected part is  79th ave.  The reasons for this are determined by the following: The entire area depends on a high percentage on the more than 120,000 individuals who come from nearby cities to work. These local businesses have experiences reduced shifts and layoffs due to the economic adjustments. Resulting in fewer clienteles to visit these businesses, especially during lunchtime, directly affecting restaurants & cafeterias, those being the area’s most abundant enterprises. The contrary of the residential zone.

In the west side of 97th avenue, it was observed that the majority of commercial entities were occupied and thus are also those with the least cases of closures and bankruptcies. Its potential is in the large number of businesses and residents who live and work into a cycle of economic self-sustainability, that is, they live and consume in their own area. During times of crisis, supermarkets are the highest sellers, demonstrating that during a bad economy, individual’s food is prepared well for home or for work, demonstrating the self-sustainability of services. There are also less restaurants and cafeterias, but their competition is more aggressive as prices, service, quality and ambient are factors that more greatly affect one’s decisions in residential and family areas.

Our elected officials, together with the economic development department of the city of Doral, are concerned about it’s welfare, and are looking for solutions, some immediately and some long term for the area of 79 Avenue and its vicinity. One is to redesign strategies and commercial trade routes in the areas with the sole purpose of attracting more public and commerce for this area, which has been affected by the economic crisis. This is an area of businesses dependent in construction whose trade is mostly the selling of floors, kitchens, and bathrooms. Part of these solutions was to declare that avenue as a district. Its official name is the Doral Design District (DDD).

“We are trying for merchants and business owners in that area to form an alliance so that they themselves dictate the requirements, so that they can later develop a BID (Business Improvement District). Much like that implemented in the Miracle Mile area for programs marketing, sewers, etc., ” said Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, Coordinator of the Doral Economic Department.

She also told us that the mayor announced an advisory council (volunteer) for the DDD, comprised of business owners, lawyers and activists who are helping to carry out projects. “Also in consideration is having art festivals on the streets of 97th and banners to put in light posts as well as the proposal for four 20 to 30 feet pillars, two in the entrance on 79th avenue and 25th street and two in the entrance on 79th avenue and 36th street. We are only missing for the developers and investors to make not of this and the incentives that are available for them. It is the only area in Doral where they are available.” said Rodriguez Aguilera.
These are the adjustments to the various clouds for the goal of sunlight at the end of the day.

INTERVIEWS

Pete de la Torre: Doral’s economy is generally well, but there are many sectors and industries going through tough times, especially small businesses. Doral is maintaining it self somewhat more than the rest of the cities and markets in South Florida. While things are not moving very fast, businesses are having lots of difficulties in receiving loans, things that happen due to the constant effort to protect those loans and investments, but at the same time the people are surviving and doing the impossible to move forward those businesses. I believe we should work as a city, for new ideas and to have the courage to implement programs and new ideas.

Roberto Milan: The majority’s view is that the economy is a little weak, from my point of view and personally things have not been going very well, every day I am having people, everyday I am meeting with investors, etc.… The only thing I see in a financial and real estate level is that banks are a little bit pressed. In Doral, one of the few problems I find is in the permitting, where the city should make efforts (although this is a problem of all municipalities) to streamline the permitting for the opening of entities and remodeling.

 

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