Lamborghinis, Cliff Richard and very expensive steaks by Valerie Austin

Date: 16 Jan 2009


US investment opportunities rising

The economic collapse has exposed some shaky businesses that were riding high but with little substance while compromising others that were solid but finding it hard to sustain themselves. This in turn creates business opportunities for those who are willing, and able, to invest in businesses that are struggling and cannot wait it out. It will need a good deal of patience to get a return but could be worth it.

My attorney Inger Garcia, known as the “condo lawyer”,is running for County Commissioner and I am helping her with her campaign which istiring but fun and a good way of networking. I asked one of the commissioners attending one of the many campaign meetings what business opportunities he would recommend in Florida. His immediate reply was real estate. “You are seeing house prices falling rapidly some as low as fifty percent so there’s some good deals to be had” he explained. “When the Madoff scandal hit the papers immediately several mansions in Palm Beach were put on the market to liquidate their assets . He recommended houses rather than condo’s (flats or apartments). You can get caught out in the condo concrete reconstruction problems which are besetting the area as large bills are being landed on tenants for new balconies.

Another area that may be worth a look at is the $10 billion marine industry. South Florida is know as the Venice of America for its many canals with homes on the water with their own dockage so its not surprising that it is one of the worlds largest boating centres. Many companies that are part of this industry are struggling to hold on. It’s a waiting game but may be worth a log term investment in an old solid company.

The social scene: Lamborghinis, Cliff Richard and very expensive steaks

One thing about Fort Lauderdale is you find really talented live entertainment. On the famous street Las Olas you can ‘go cheap’ and cheerful or at the other end of the scale cocktails and Lamborghinis all within a few yards of each other. When I was dining out at Jacksons the well known and extremely expensive steak house, Cliff Richard was at the next table looking very youthful and as gentlemanly as ever.

Some of the elite private clubs are sadly closing simply because the members are just dying off. We sang around a grand piano in one of these delightful old clubs to such classics as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole knowing that the clubs days could be numbered.

Miami – where is everyone?

A trip to Ocean Drive in South Beach Miami was quite an eye opener to the seriousness of the economy here – it was deserted. Usually it’s so crowded you can hardly walk because of the crowded pavements and driving is reduced to a snails pace. Parking is generally impossible but now the place was quiet.

Perhaps wait a bit longer before investing though…
So if you are intending to invest here be careful as I think it has quite a way to go yet before it bottoms. But there are always bargains to be had as shops and businesses are forced to close down.

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