Barry Sternlicht moved Starwood Capital to Miami.

More companies would move to Miami if there were more private schools, said Barry Sternlicht.Miami’s business-friendly environment and tax savings have attracted companies like Citadel.However, the city faces a private school shortage due to the recent population boom.

One hiccup prevents Miami from attracting more money and talent, according to billionaire real estate fund manager and Miami transplant Barry Sternlicht.

The city doesn’t have enough private schools, he said in an interview on Thursday with Bloomberg Television.

“There are a lot of companies that would move down if they could get their employees’ kids into schools, which is impossible,” said Sternlicht, the CEO of Starwood Capital Group.

Sternlicht announced in 2018 that he would move Starwood from Connecticut to Miami, and the firm relocated during the pandemic. The company managed $115 billion of assets and has 5,000 employees globally, according to its website.

While he expected better weather and tax savings, Sternlicht was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming Florida is to business, he said in the interview.

Sternlicht is one of several real estate moguls and billionaires who moved their company from the northeast to Miami in recent years.

In 2022, Citadel and Citadel Securities founder Ken Griffin moved the headquarters of both of his companies from Chicago to Miami after complaining about Illinois taxes and politics. Late last year, former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced he was relocating from Seattle to Miami, a move that could save him $600 million in taxes.

Florida is one of only nine US states with no state income tax, and high-earners moving to the state are often called “tax refugees.

The shortage of private schools in the area is due to a recent population boom in Miami and the state overall.

Florida’s population jumped by 1.9% from 2021 to 2022, with a net gain of 417,000 new residents, more than any other state in the country. Miami saw the number of millionaires rise 78% in the last decade, to 35,300, per a report released Tuesday by immigration consultancy Henley & Partners.

The spike is in part due to employees of Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, D1 Capital Partners, and other firms that have moved in. High-earning employees want to send their children to elite schools that match the quality of New York area’s schools, BI previously reported.

Newcomers to the city face long waitlists to get into elite schools because of the small number of such schools in the city and developers dropping plans to build new ones.

Despite the school challenge, Sternlicht said that Miami’s growth story is not over.

“I don’t think Miami has peaked. I think Miami and Florida have cycles because they get overbuilt, but they’re ever-higher cycles,” he told Bloomberg. “You just have to have stamina to stay with it.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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