Goldman Sachs Group and Elliott Management are breathing new life into the decades-old idea of converting the Miami-to-West Palm Beach corridor into a southern hub for finance and investing, a notion that would have monumental implications for the area's development.
Long a second-home destination for America's multimillionaire and billionaire class, the region has struggled to convince those same people to bring their companies to the Sunshine State.
Now, Goldman is weighing a new Florida hub for its asset-management arm, while billionaire Paul Singer's $41 billion hedge fund, Elliott Management, plans to move its headquarters to West Palm Beach, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Trailblazing moves by industry giants could open the floodgates for other firms, many of which have been hesitant to leave the center of the financial universe for the promise of better weather and no state income tax. For years, the area has been plowing ahead with the development of high-end office space and private schools, landing incremental wins in the form of smaller hedge funds and family-wealth managers.
"It reminds me of the movie 'Field of Dreams' where they say, 'If you build it they will come,' " Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said in an interview Monday.
A year of working from home to avoid COVID-19 has led many finance and investing companies to conclude that they can cut back on ultra-pricey Manhattan office space without sacrificing revenue. Simultaneously, many executives and top performers have escaped New York for spacious homes in South Florida to wait for the vaccine, with some deciding they'd rather not return to the Northeast permanently.
Goldman has looked at office space in the corridor north of Miami that includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, according to some of the people, who said the firm could yet decide against moving to Florida.
Billionaire Carl Icahn recently decided to relocate his asset-management firm to Florida, and Ken Griffin's Citadel Group plans to open an office in Miami next year, according to a person with knowledge his plans.