New-to-market office tenants flock to Brickell
By Marilyn Bowden
Recent activity reported by leasing agents at Brickell office towers includes a number of tenants new to the market.
Among the busiest has been 1450 Brickell, released 21 months ago and now about 77% filled.
Leasing agent Tere Blanca, principal of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, announced five new leases totaling about 19,500 square feet. The new tenants are global reinsurer Swiss Re America Holding Corp., luxury leather goods supplier Longchamp USA, private equity investment firm MDR Americana, food manufacturer H.J. Heinz Co.and London-based insurance provider Catlin Insurance Co., which moved in last year and expanded during the fourth quarter.
Other recent arrivals, she said, include GenTrust Wealth Management, Forrestal Capital and Cipher, a Brazilian cyber security company.
"We are continuing to see interest from multinational and domestic companies that want to concentrate offices in Miami to access the whole region," Ms. Blanca said. "We're working on a lease now that would be a major relocation for a Latin American headquarters.
"I think Brickell will see a continued influx of financial services, law firms and re-insurance companies, particularly those with ties to international trade, given the infrastructure work at the Port of Miami."
Two reinsurance companies, Royal and SunAlliance and JLT Re, are among the new tenants at 1221 Brickell, said Jones Lang LaSalle's Grant Killingsworth, who oversees leasing at the property.
"These are both UK-based and longstanding, old companies," he said. "Reinsurance firms tend to cluster together because they often work together."
Migrating to 1221 Brickell from Miami Beach, he said, is Aquila, a designer of health clubs and spas for the hospitality industry.
The Max Borges Agency, a public relations firm focusing on consumer electronics and personal technology, has taken a full floor at Brickell Bayview Centre, 80 SW Eighth St., said leasing agent Douglas Okun of Continental Real Estate Cos.
The firm has about 60 employees, he said, so an important consideration was the ability to lease additional parking space at the Mary Brickell Village garage across the street.
"We are seeing more creative types such as software firms, public relations and marketing coming to Brickell," Mr. Okun said, adding variety to the area's traditional mix of financial services, law and consulates.
The Consulate of Mexico, formerly in South Miami, recently signed a three-floor, 23,000 square-foot lease at 1399 SW First Ave., according to a fourth-quarter 2011 report from Studley.
Relocating from downtown to Brickell Bay Office Tower is the law firm Tenzer Moll, said General Manager Christian Driussi.
He said the building has recently closed on a spate of small leases, mostly for service industries.
"We serve small tenants very well," Mr. Driussi said. "They are coming from three areas — from California and New Mexico in the US; a continuing trend from Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia; and then, especially in the fourth quarter, Europeans looking to the US as a way to open new markets, because they foresee minimal, if not negative, business growth in Europe for the next several years."
"Miami is hot, hot, hot, because as goes Latin America, so goes Miami's office market," said Diana Parker, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis who leases Sabadell Financial Center at 1111 Brickell with partner Maggie Kurtz. The pair also represents tenants in the area.
Opening up a permanent office in 701 Brickell next month after first establishing a small presence in an executive suite, Ms. Parker said, is Mobile Financial Services, a joint venture between Telefonica and MasterCard.
"I think there will be more expansions of executive suite operators," she said, "because they're great incubators from a landlord perspective."
"What we see moving forward," Ms. Kurtz said, "is continuing financial services, banking and learning institutions. Now that FIU has cracked open the door at 1100 Brickell, more of those users are saying maybe they should be in the downtown core."
Among other new users, according to Jones Lang LaSalle's fourth-quarter 2011 report, are the Isaac Daniel Group, a high-tech management firm (999 Brickell), and Interpublic Group and Blueprint Creative Group (both at 800 Brickell).
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