What Changes in Cuba Might Mean to the Florida Real Estate & Construction Markets

President Obama’s latest trip to Cuba marked a continuing effort of goodwill towards the island, furthering hopes of mending relationships with the island. As Cuba-U.S. relations continue to move in a more positive direction, commercial real estate investors and developers are looking towards the promise of financial opportunity given that the embargo is dismantled.

In Florida, investors and developers are vying for a front-spot in Cuban real estate and many are networking with Cuban nationals and foreign investors to establish lines of contact and investment interest. Tampa, home to a large Cuban and Cuban-American population, is poised to become one of the prime centers for commerce and travel to Cuba, along with Miami. Tampa International Airport, in the midst of its own multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project, will become a major center for commercial flights to and from the island.

Some have expressed concerns over Cuba’s inevitable boom, however. With Florida already scarce in construction availability, investors wonder if the state will be bled of its remaining construction and development resources in favor of Cuba once the embargo falls. Though no project has broken ground yet, several commercial developments in Cuba’s Varedero Beach area are in various stages of entitlement to construct hotels and retail spaces. In other parts of the island, Cuba has expressed its interest in rejuvenating its golf-resort industry, with one proposed $380 million 5-star golf course and resort project in the Holguin province. With Cuba set to become one of the largest hotel and resort markets in the Caribbean, investors in Florida worry if it will mean increased construction prices and development delays for projects in the state. Florida will remain the gateway to Cuba for U.S. travelers, but many wonder whether remaining construction forces in the state will be focused towards prime transit hubs like Tampa and Miami and how much construction related resources will be further thinned engaging in potentially large scale projects on the Island.

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