THE MIAMI HERALD – BUSINESS
By ELAINE WALKER
In the largest office space deal of the year, Miami law firm Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod announced Tuesday it has signed a lease to move into 1450 Brickell, one of three office buildings under construction in downtown Miami.
Bilzin Sumberg will occupy 80,000 square feet and four floors in the 35-story office tower scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2010 by developer Rilea Group. Financial terms of the 15-year lease were not disclosed.
The law firm will be relocating from Wachovia Financial Center. In an indication of the turbulence surrounding the current real estate market, this is the second lease Bilzin Sumberg has signed for a new office space.
In April 2008, Bilzin Sumberg had signed a 10-year deal with Brickell Financial Centre, 600 Brickell Ave., one of the other new buildings under construction in Miami’s Central Business District. But Bilzin Sumberg and the developer Brickell Holdings agreed in February to cancel the lease because the developer did not meet its construction deadlines.
The firm’s lease at Brickell Financial Centre was originally for 115,000 square feet and worth an estimated $58 million.
By moving to 1450 Brickell, Bilzin Sumberg is taking advantage of the chance to lock in a long-term lease during the down market. The firm was originally courted by all the new buildings, including Met 2 Financial Center, which will house new offices of the Greenberg Traurig law firm.
“1450 Brickell will be a preeminent office building in South Florida for years to come and we are looking forward to our new location,” John C. Sumberg, managing partner of Bilzin Sumberg, said in a statement. “The building has strong ownership, advanced construction quality and innovative and sustainable design that will enhance our quality of life and the efficiency of our operations.”
Financing for 1450 Brickell is provided by a pool of banks headed by the lead lender Bancaja, a Spanish financial institution.
The exterior of 1450 Brickell is already 98 percent complete and is expected to be the first of the new office towers ready for occupancy. The building will be the first precertified LEED Gold Class-A office building in Miami’s central business district. Tere Blanca, president and chief executive of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, called Bilzin Sumberg’s move the latest example of the “flight to quality” unfolding in the South Florida office market.
“Today’s market presents companies a unique opportunity to upgrade their office space,” said Blanca, who represents landlord 1450 Brickell and Rilea Group. “As businesses seek to align their space needs with their business goals, many companies are choosing to relocate.”