By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Opening up. Back to work. Miami business leaders are feeling it’s the beginning of the post-pandemic comeback.

“The great news for Miami is you have such an incredible buzz going on around the country, and the globe, about this incredible place that used to be known for fun in the sun,” said Alfred Sanchez, the president and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. “Now still fun in the sun, but also a great place to do business.”

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During the pandemic, the background drum beat from Miami leadership was high tech. City leaders worked on luring 21st century business to Miami.

The face of that movement was Mayor Francis Saurez, paling it up with Silicon Valley startup gurus.

“Many people think this happened over night – all those tech CEOs,” said Sanchez. “The reality is we started working, getting Miami to this place forty years ago.”

And who’s to thank for that, on the forefront? Newspaper publisher Alvah Chapman and Miami’s mayor in the 1980s, Maurice Ferre.

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“I think Miami is an international city. The bank community, the expansion of Brickell, are products of my imagination,” Ferre once said on record.

With Chapman at the helm of the Miami Herald, a champion of education, he helped shepherd the city from a sleepy southern seaside city to world prominence. He also led the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Andrew.

“I think that Alvah, without a doubt, the most #1 citizen of Miami in modern times,” said Armando Cordina, a developer. “So after Henry Flagler and Julia Tuttle… Alvah, without a doubt, no one contributed like Alvah has.”

At one of Ferre’s last public appearances, he shared the time with current Mayor Saurez.

“Forty years ago, the business leaders and political leaders said we got to change. This is the Miami they built. This is what they come to,” Sanchez said.

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So how does Miami stay competitive? Sanchez said current leaders need to figure out how Miami solves the lack of affordable housing and adequate public transportation.