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Wanted: Blockchain Companies for Fledgling Miami Tech Hub

Investor Moishe Mana Offers Space in Downtown Office Condo
October 10, 2018
Billionaire investor Moishe Mana plans to build a fledgling technology hub in this section of downtown Miami, tapping pent-up demand for this type of space.Courtesy of Property Markets Group.

Billionaire investor Moishe Mana plans to build a technology hub in downtown Miami, making him just the latest real estate owner across the United States building centers to house blockchain systems for increasingly popular cryptocurrency investments.

The so-called Block Building in downtown Miami will serve as an incubator for tech companies, which analysts say the city lacks compared to other major urban areas across the country. Brokers say some startups don’t have the capital to afford traditional office space in the high-priced Miami market.

Nationally, the San Jose metropolitan area has the largest tech hub, with 28 percent of the workforce in technology employment, according to Moody’s. Other top markets include San Francisco-Redwood City; Boulder, Colorado; Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco-Oakland; and Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Information technology is the fastest-growing sector driving U.S. office demand, according to Adrian Ponsen, an economist with CoStar Market Analytics.

“In order for office absorption to really take off for the long term, it needs to have exposure to that sector,” Ponsen said.

The system for the cryptocurrency is known as blockchain, which is the shared technology that allows transactions to occur between two parties without the need for an intermediary, such as a bank, lawyer or a real estate broker.

All the information about the transaction is stored in blocks linked by computers around the world, and the technology is considered tamper-proof. Proponents say blockchain could revolutionize real estate deals, while critics cast doubt on how secure it actually is.

Studies by global research and advisory firm Gartner show that the business value of blockchain is expected to hit $176 billion by 2025 and could grow to $3.1 trillion by 2030.

Courtesy: Colliers Int'l.

Investor Moishe Mana wants to lease space to blockchain companies on six floors at 100 E. Flagler St. in downtown Miami.

In a 2017 report on blockchain and commercial real estate, accounting firm Deloitte said the technology has “significant potential to drive transparency, efficiency and cost savings for CRE owners by removing many of the existing inefficiencies in key processes.”

But the report also pointed out it may not be possible to automate all transactions and that implementing the process incorrectly could increase costs.

In Miami, Mana is leasing six floors he owns at 100 E. Flagler St., a 51,674-square-foot office condominium, and has hired Colliers International broker Mika Mattingly to market the available space in the 10-story building.

Rents will range from $20 to $24 per square foot and will offer flexibility to tenants on an individual basis, Mattingly said.

“There really isn’t any tech specifically located in Miami,” she said. “We are getting a lot of interest.”

Mattingly said Mana is a big believer in blockchain. In the past four years, he has spent roughly $350 million assembling nearly 40 properties in downtown Miami.

Mana told the Miami Herald last year that, “Miami has all the ingredients to become a global tech hub.” But he has so far been short on specifics.

Mattingly said that Mana is not immediately available for an interview. Still, she insists the Block Building is the beginning of an ambitious plan.

“He wants to create a community downtown for tech and the arts,” she said. “Tech and the educational platforms for tech are what he believes will feed industry and commerce in Miami.”

With reporting by Rob Smith, retail market reporter with CoStar Group.

Paul Owers, South Florida Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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