Mexican investors to renovate one office tower, build another in $130 million Coral Gables project
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Mexican investors plan to build a Coral Gables office tower of 185,000 square feet and renovate an adjoining building of 100,000 square feet.
The $130 million, 396 Alhambra project encompasses renovation of an existing 7-story office building and construction of a 15-story Class A office tower at the Southeast corner of Alhambra Circle and LeJeune Road.
Phase one, which includes the rehab, is to begin in February and be completed by spring 2010. The building's parking garage is to be demolished and replaced by a new garage for the two towers, three spaces per 1,000 square feet, said Pete Harrison, senior vice president of Transwestern, 396 Alhambra's leasing agent.
Mr. Harrison said leasing rates for the redeveloped building will be $40 to $43 gross per square foot and for the new office tower $50 to $55 gross per square foot.
Developers hope to start building the 185,000-square-foot tower in May to be ready for occupancy in two years, said Hector Fernandez, developer of 396 Alhambra. He is seeking silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the building. About 30,000 square feet are reserved for retail in the ground floor.
Mr. Fernandez heads Agave Florida Investments — the affiliate real estate arm of Mexico's leading tequila producer, Jose Cuervo — a major developer in Mexico City with a portfolio of 1 million square feet of office space and two office towers under construction, he said.
Agave bought the property, former headquarters of Exxon Mobil Corp., in March.
Mr. Fernandez said he hopes to attract Latin American businesses to move their headquarters to Coral Gables. "We are committed to provide Coral Gables an amazing office building."