New Yorkers will continue to migrate to Florida because of the “ease of living” in the Sunshine State compared to the high-tax, crime-ridden Big Apple, according to a billionaire real estate developer.
Stephen Ross, the 82-year-old founder of Related Cos., the company that built the Hudson Yards project on Manhattan’s West Side, told Bloomberg News on Wednesday that he plans to develop even more commercial real estate in Florida outside of the traditional markets of West Palm Beach and Miami.
“People are looking from the Northeast and relocating for jobs — not retirement — and companies are looking” for offices, Ross said.
“It’s tax issues, and there’s the security issues.”
Ross added: “There’s just the ease of living.”
Ross, whose portfolio includes the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and the Equinox chain of gyms, said his push into Florida is aimed at keeping up with soaring demand for office space in the state, which has seen an influx of residents from New York in the last 24 months or so.
Ross, whose net worth was valued by Bloomberg Billionaires Index at $8.39 billion as of Thursday, said that Florida is no longer just a retirement destination for older people seeking to flee the frigid Northeast.
Instead, the Sunshine State is attracting younger, wealthier, career-oriented folks who are looking to escape the comparatively burdensome reality of New York.
Despite Florida’s moment in the sun, Ross said he isn’t giving up on New York just yet. His company is bidding to build a casino resort in Manhattan as part of the second phase of its $25 billion Hudson Yards plan — a portion of which remains undeveloped.
“New York will continue to grow, but it has its challenges, and a lot of people who don’t have to be there are looking not to be there,” Ross said.
“It’s changing, it’s getting younger, the older people are moving out, the wealthier people are moving out.”
Ross said that New York City still remains attractive to young people, which will keep the business community engaged.
“We have huge investments, we’re still doing tremendous developments in New York,” he said.
“But I think Florida is going to capture an awful lot of people.”
Related Cos. has either built or is building mixed-use residential and commercial projects in West Palm Beach and Miami that have attracted blue-chip tenants including Goldman Sachs and Mets owner Steve Cohen’s hedge fund, Point72 Asset Management.
Ross’s company teamed up last year with Swire Properties to build one of the tallest skyscrapers in Miami — a massive office tower in the trendy Brickell section of the city.
Ross isn’t the only billionaire who has fixed his gaze upon the Southeast in search of greener pastures.
Ken Griffin, the hedge fund billionaire who runs Citadel, announced last year that his company would be relocating its headquarters from Chicago to Miami.
The pull of Florida has been reflected in official data from the federal government. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida’s nonfarm employment surpassed that of New York for the first time in four decades last year.
Last year alone, more than 64,500 former residents of New York State moved to Florida — more than any year in history, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which tracks driver license statistics.
Last year’s record-shattering number comfortably eclipsed the prior mark of 61,728 New Yorkers who made the Florida switch in 2021, according to the data.