Stiletto heels, designer suits, and more Rolexes than one could count. These weren’t sights seen at a Hollywood movie premier or a celebrity chef’s latest opening but at this year’s Real Deal South Florida ShowcaseNow going into its ninth year, this trade show has always been a chance for Miami’s aspiring real estate pros to rub shoulders with the industry elite, but the 2023 edition was something else entirely. 

From the moment the Antenna team set foot in Wynwood – Miami’s most colorful neighborhood and the long-time venue for this event – we could feel the energy. Even from several blocks away, we started to run into former colleagues, past and current clients, and various journalists – everyone headed in the same direction. It wasn’t until we reached the venue, however, that we truly grasped what we were walking into. 

The registration area could’ve been mistaken for the entryway into the hottest nightclub or most exclusive restaurant, with hundreds of brokers, agents, bankers, and lawyers doing their best impersonation of canned sardines as they lined up to pick up name tags. Tensions were high as everyone jostled to get through the tight entryway. “This is worse than LIV,” said one broker to our right, referencing Miami’s most famous nightclub. To our left, someone hissed into their cell, “What do you mean you didn’t get us VIP passes?” 

Ultimately, the fire marshal had no option but to throw open the doors and watch silently as the perfectly manicured mass flooded the show floor, many with no name tags or tickets. To be honest, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of pride despite the chaos. Everyone BELIEVED in Miami and was willing to fight tooth and nail to be a part of the magic. 

This sense of Miami’s arrival continued to grow as we walked into the fray of booths and handshakes. Everyone I’d ever worked with was here and looking to mingle. Hell, even my childhood jiu-jitsu instructor (yes, I do BJJ) was among the attendees.

By the time I took off my badge and called my Uber home, I was thoroughly impressed. Not only by the Real Deal team’s ability to draw the who’s who of Miami real estate, but the community as a whole – mostly by its unquenchable desire to keep charging forward when so many other markets have frozen over.

As I said in my previous column, South Florida real estate is far from perfect. We’ve got surging inequality and housing affordability is an ever-growing concern. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Homegrown organizations like Related Group are partnering with Miami-Dade County to deliver thousands of new homes built specifically for Miami’s broader community. New arrivals are also beginning to do their part, donating millions to local causes and pouring billions into the local economy. 

To wrap things up, yes, we’ve got more work to do, but with such a fervent base of support, the hardest part is out of the way. Miami has a metaphorical jet engine at its back – now, we’ve got to make sure it’s pointed in the right direction. In the meantime, kudos once again to The Real Deal South Florida Showcase for becoming the hottest ticket in town. It’s been a real pleasure seeing the event grow from a small gathering to a highlight of Miami’s highly competitive real estate calendar. 

Can’t wait to be back in the chaos again next year! 

Jorge Mendez
Jorge Mendez serves as Vice President of our real estate ecosystem.

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