Philippe Houdard, who grew up in France, could live and excel anywhere. With his resume and background—from earning a graduate degree from Harvard, to serving as a legislative aide in the U.S. Congress, to his notching successes in investment banking and fintech—the CEO and co-founder of Pipeline Workspaces is a worldly, adaptable guy. But Brickell Key is home, and he launched Pipeline’s flagship nearby.
“Our first location was in Brickell, and we immediately filled up and that was a strong sign to us that there’s a demand for this,” our cover star recalls. “Then we came back and started looking for different neighborhoods that we like, where we saw a lot of activity, where there was either density or where there was something special and unique about the environment.” Coral Gables became Pipeline’s second location.
But Houdard didn’t stop there. “Once [Coral Gables] started going well, we went to Doral—at the time, it was one of fastest growing cities in the state of Florida, with a very entrepreneurial culture. When that filled up, we just continued expanding. We went to Fort Lauderdale, a couple blocks off Las Olas, and we just saw that South Florida, as many people know, is just one of the most vibrant and thriving areas of the country. I think 1,000 people a day move to the state. It’s a testament to the value that people experience here, in South Florida, in particular.”
The success of a region happens one decision at a time, an amassing of positive data points that reaches critical mass. That’s what we’re seeing with Pipeline. And we’re seeing other data points emerge—and we’re logging them in these pages—in gastronomy, real estate, and even, suddenly and spectacularly, in sports. Take the venerable Rosewood hotel brand—it’s planting one flag after another in South Florida, this time in luxury residential real estate. So, within a few years, the Rosewood name will be as visible in Lido Key, Hillsboro Beach and South Beach as it is in New York, Paris and St. Barth. At the same time, Miami’s red-hot culinary scene is brandishing its expertise in the latest craze, omakase (chef’s choice), as demonstrated in our coverage of Coconut Grove’s Sushi by Scratch.
But nothing can compare to the seismic event in local professional sports, as Lionel Messi spurned an offer from Saudi Arabia to come play for David Beckham’s soccer club, Inter Miami. The already iconic player, with his 470 million followers on Instagram (his is the second most followed account in the world behind Cristiano Ronaldo), propelled a StubHub ticket price to his first match (on July 21) to more than $20,000. Now, that’s a data point worth savoring.