When civic and business leaders of two of the nation's hottest cities come together to create a catalyst for business between the two, a little friendly competition is sure to develop. After all, Miami has its white sand beaches and beautiful water. Houston boasts the world's largest medical center. Both enjoy prosperous business climates, booming real estate markets and enviable diversity.
Leaders from both Miami and Houston gathered at the Manor House at The Houstonian to participate in the lively conversation, sponsored by Carnan Properties and owner Carmina Zamorano. Videos presenting the best of both cities played in the background as an SRO group numbering more than 150 gathered to witness the sophisticated dog and pony show. The evening began with a cocktail hour that merrily fueled the competitive edge.
"We represent the two most diverse communities in the country both racially and culturally. The rest of the country can learn from us how to have a wonderful city of diversity."
The consensus among the eight speakers was that the greatest common bond between Miami and Houston is the diversity of the populations and cultures. As John Breeding, president and CEO of the Uptown Houston District, remarked, "We represent the two most diverse communities in the country both racially and culturally. The rest of the country can learn from us how to have a wonderful city of diversity."
Echoing that sentiment was Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who noted, "The city of the future in terms of diversity is Miami . . . I am a minority and it's an incredibly fun place to be as a minority."
He also went right to the heart of the gathering saying, "I strongly urge you to consider a vacation home in Miami as an investment opportunity . . . If you want fun in the sun and you want to go in the water (gentle dis on Galveston's brown water) you might consider Miami."
The discussion covered the Texas Medical Center, real estate opportunities and new developments in a booming Miami, cultural emphasis in both cities and the fact that there are 36 flights a day between Miami and Houston.
"We'll give you the Medical Center but we win in water sports," quipped Alicia Cervera, president and CEO of Miami's Cervera Real Estate Group.
That was a gimme after Texas Medical Center president emeritus Dr. Richard Wainerdi recited the TMC numbers: 125,000 employees, 40,000 students, 80,000 patients daily, 55 institutions and nine universities represented.
The panel included Armando Codina, chairman and CEO of Codina Partners; John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts; and David Sawyer, Southwest Regional Director for Sen. Ted Cruz.
Explaining her motivation in bringing the experts together for the exchange, Zamorano said, "When you have a company, you need to build and you need to share and you need to grow within the community where you belong. It's not about selling or just selling. It's about building bridges and I think we did something amazing tonight."