W. Allen Morris says Miami is not immune from another “boom and bust” cycle nor can it see valuations of property sustained but developers should feel positive about the future if they maintain memory, remain balanced and strive for adaptability.

Giving the keynote address for the fifth annual South Florida Real Estate Achiever and Leaders awards March 27 at Jungle Island, the chairman and CEO of the Allen Morris Co. said the real estate market is much like the stock market, where the only constant is change. Mr. Morris referenced a recent report about the condo market that indicates Miami is overbuilding.

“This was disturbing to a lot of people,” he said. “I think it’s a positive thing to say.”

Mr. Morris said only one-third of announced condo projects were built in the last cycle. “As developers with less experience pause for the condos to be absorbed, the more profitable the market will be,” he said. “We’ve laid a great foundation for positive change and growth in Miami and we’re looking at that in the residential market.”

Also positive is the condition of the retail market with a 3.5% vacancy and more projects coming online, Mr. Morris said, along with the office market, where he characterized the numbers as ones “we never thought we’d see” with 100 million square feet represented and 11.6% vacancies.

“I think about real estate as long-term and it’s very exciting in every sector long-term,” Mr. Morris said. What’s most important for Miami going forward, he said, is that its developers keep a memory of past cycles and “not get sucked in by the hype;” maintain a sense of balance, which will discourage gross overbuilding; and search for adaptability by continuing to learn as a community and as individuals.

“We must challenge our brand and adapt to a changing world,” Mr. Morris said.
Leadership awards were given to:

• Tere Blanca, founder, president and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate Inc., for individual commercial real estate broker, with special recognition for Rodney C. Langer, president of Investors CRE Inc., in the same category.

• Robert Given’s CBRE South Florida multifamily brokers for commercial real estate broker team.

• Chad Carroll, executive vice president for Douglas Elliman, for residential real estate broker.

• Avra Jain, who has developed 26 boutique projects, for commercial developer.

• Edgardo DeFortuna, president and founder of Fortune International Group, for residential developer.

• Steven Cohen, executive vice president of commercial real estate at Sabadell United Bank, for real estate finance.

The chamber also recognized Stephen Owens, president of Swire Properties Inc., with a lifetime achievement award.

Finalists for the other awards were Christian Lee, CBRE Inc.; Jack Lowell and Adriana Rosillo, Pointe Group Advisors; Ike Ojala, Jorge Portela and Hermen Rodriguez, HFF LP; Anthony Askowitz, RE/MAX Advance Realty; Nancy Batchelor, EWM Realty International; Stiles Construction; The Plaza Group/The DevStar Group; The Related Group; Jim Dockerty, HFF LP; and Charles J. Foschini, CBRE Inc.