The Real Deal Miami

Cushman tapped to lease Columbus Center in Coral Gables

By Alexander Britell | September 07, 2010 05:30PM

Columbus Center

Cushman & Wakefield has been named the leasing agent for the 260,000-square-foot Columbus Center office complex in Coral Gables, the firm announced today.

The project, which is located at 1 Alhambra Plaza, was originally developed as a 50-50 partnership called Coral Gables Associates, between IBM and the USAA Real Estate company. The complex is comprised of a west tower, with approximately 60,000 square feet, and an east tower, which has 200,000 square feet.

The entire west tower is available for the taking, according to Maggie Kurtz, a director at the firm who will be working with fellow director Diana Parker to head the leasing team.

“It’s going to be the largest contiguous space on the market in Coral Gables,” Kurtz said.

Part of Cushman’s new strategy is to offer building signage as part of the lease, which had not been offered previously at the complex.

“We’re marketing it as a headquarters for somebody,” she said. “It would allow someone to dominate the project, with signage.”

Columbus Center’s current tenants include Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Met Life, Apple, Inc. and ExxonMobil. The building also has space for lease in the larger east tower in blocks from 1,300 to 20,000 square feet.

The firm will be looking to follow its success at the nearby BAC Colonnade, which retained anchor tenant BAC Florida Bank in a 40,857-square-foot lease.

According to Kurtz, Coral Gables’ office market has seen a reduction in vacancy from 20 to 19 percent.

“We’re definitely seeing more [office activity],” she said. “We’re seeing things that have stabilized rent-wise. There’s no new construction coming on to the market for another year and a half or so, so there’s a window of opportunity right now.”

The complex has also been certified as LEED Gold, one of two Coral Gables office towers to receive the certification.

The Class A space will still have to contend with new downtown Miami towers 1450 Brickell and the Wells Fargo Financial Center, which opened up earlier this year and have seen a wave of new leases.