The Coral Gables Permitting Assistance Program (PAP) is an economic development initiative established in 2012 to assist new-to-market and existing/expanding businesses obtain timely permits that will result in a material positive impact on job retention and creation, as well as capital investment.
Permitting is typically one of the most significant impediments and sources of complaints identified by a regional business community, such as in Coral Gables. The city faces the challenging task of processing numerous permits daily on a timely basis. Unfortunately, permitting can affect the employment base of a regional economy by not allowing employers to move into or remain in the city. This results in the material loss of new and existing jobs due to permitting delays.
It is the business base that generates the most significant portion of the city’s revenues through ad valorem property taxes, parking, and other commercial fees. Specifically, in Coral Gables, the business base pays for nearly 50% of the total tax revenue allowing each citizen to minimize their proportionate share of tax expenses (approximately 35% in ad valorem taxes).
Loss of jobs and employers and no material growth in the employment base can result in higher taxes to the residents and a sizable reduction of services for its citizens. This program addresses and responds to this need directly.
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Who is involved?
The program is a partnership between the City of Coral Gables and The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. The role of the Chamber is to serve as an extension of the City to the Coral Gables business community at large. Specifically, the Chamber helps identify new-to-market and existing companies that may qualify for the Permitting Assistance Program.
The Chamber and the city also host permitting assistance workshops annually to assist the city in educating the business community on the fundamentals of the permitting process and new initiatives and where to seek help when needed. This program component focuses on small business owners that may not have the resources to understand and process permits for their business in the city.
The city’s point of contact for the Chamber concerning project assistance is Belkys Perez of the Office of Economic Development. She coordinates efforts with the city’s Development Services Department.
Appropriate contacts will be made with other key permitting entities from Miami-Dade County as needed.
What companies qualify for the program?
Companies that are:
- Locating new-to-market operations, especially targeted business operations such as a headquarters, regional headquarters, multi-national and tech corporations, and others that bring a significant number of new, high-paying jobs to the city.
- Expanding existing operations.
- Investing in significant job retention and creation.
- Making significant capital investment.
- Representing and investing in targeted industries.
Each project is assessed on a case by case basis based on the level of economic impact and need for permitting assistance. The current criteria to be considered for PAP is the creation and/or retention of a minimum of 25 new jobs and a capital investment of at least $300,000.
Has the program been successful?
Yes. Since the program’s commencement approximately four years ago, it has resulted in the retention and creation of more than 1500 jobs and nearly $30 million in new capital investment in Coral Gables.
The PAP has assisted more than 20 companies since its launch in 2013, resulting in over 1,500 direct jobs. Some of the companies served through this program include Cable & Wireless, HBO Latin America, Cherry Bekaert, Quirch Foods, Infiniti of Coral Gables, AMC Latin America, Cosentino, the University of Florida Coral Gables, Landmark Cinemas, WeWork and Kimley-Horn & Associates.