Mayor Levine on Miami Beach as Tech Hub: "It's the Dumbest Idea in the World"

As far as newly elected Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is concerned, the city will continue to be known more for its silicone implants than silicon start-ups. While attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Levine straight-up told the Washington Post that the idea of turning Miami Beach into some sort of tech hub was, and we quote, "the dumbest idea in the world."

"People cling on to things that are not the highest and best use for their city," he continued. "Miami Beach is never going to be a high tech hub. As much as it sounds great, it's sexy, that's not who we are."

Of course, we're just wondering who thought turning Miami Beach into a tech hub in the first place was a good idea, or why it was even on his mind.

Miami Beach is a residential and tourism-centric town. There are not exactly tons of office space. Big business happens mainly in downtown Miami. The wider South Florida area does have of a tech scene based across the bay, in areas like Wynwood and less-noted business districts.

Levine, however, does see some business-based future for his town.

"It's important for cities to play to their strengths. Don't try to be something you're not," he said. "Miami Beach, our strengths are tourism and travel. We also think there's great opportunity for us to attract hedge funds and private equity groups, because what do they need? They're looking for, number one, quality of life. We have it. Number two, they want beautiful places to live, Miami Beach, we have it. Number three, they want tax savings. You move from New York to Florida, you're going to save probably almost 10 percent on your income. So we're a little bit like the Monaco of America, and that's who we are."

It's not surprising that multi-millionaire Philip Levine would be more concerned with making Miami Beach an even more attractive place for other multi-millionaires. (Coincidentally, he was in New York earlier in the week meeting with former billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's team).

But, yes, we agree the city of Miami Beach itself is probably not the place for tech innovation.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Munzenrieder