Large office leases highlight 2013 in SoFla

Law firms, financial companies sign notable deals

Dec.December 26, 2013 02:15 PM

South Florida landlords defied the region’s reputation as a small tenant’s office market by signing a number of large leases in 2013.

About a dozen leases for office space totaling 50,000 square feet or more were completed this year. When compared to other major U.S. metropolitan areas like New York, where six-figure square foot office deals are routine, that seems scant. But South Florida’s average office tenant size typically hovers around 5,000 square feet.

As usual, large law firm leases dominated the sector. Some of the most prominent firms to renew leases or sign new deals included Greenspoon Marder, Shutts & Bowen, White & Case and Akerman.

Below are some of the most notable office leases completed in the region in 2013. Unlike property sales and financings, real estate leases are not publicly recorded. The industry relies on real estate research firms and the brokerages that arrange the transactions to make lease information publicly known.

Financial solutions firm inks Palm Beach County’s largest office lease

The largest Palm Beach County office lease of 2013 was signed by Conifer Revenue Cycle Solutions.

Dallas-based Conifer, which provides financial and database management software to hospitals, leased nearly 98,000 square feet at Boca Corporate Center and Campus. The deal was announced in early November by real estate firm CBRE, which represented landlord BRE/Boca Corporate Center.

Around the same time as the Conifer transaction, Boca Corporate’s ownership signed Tyco Integrated Security, a unit of Tyco International, to a lease totaling more than 72,000 square feet.

Northern Trust sells Miami HQ, signs large Brickell office lease

Before selling its Miami headquarters to Brickell CityCentre developer Swire Properties, Northern Trust signed one of Miami-Dade County’s largest office leases at Brickell World Plaza.

Numerous media outlets described Northern Trust’s agreement as a nearly 65,000-square-foot lease, but research firm CoStar Group reported the Chicago-based financial services company is occupying more than 75,000 square feet in the 600 Brickell Ave. tower. Regardless of the exact square footage involved, landing Northern Trust is a major coup for the building’s ownership.

The transaction closed during the first quarter of 2013.

FedEx renews office lease near Miami International Airport

Shipping giant FedeEx kicked off the final quarter of 2013 by inking a 75,000-square-foot office lease renewal at the 701 Waterford building south of Miami International Airport.

FedEx considers the 10-story building to be its Latin American headquarters in the United States. The company has occupied space at the building for 13 years.

The transaction was announced in early October by the Hogan Group, which represented New York-based landlord TIAA-CREF.

Spirit Airlines renews, expands in Miramar

Low-cost Spirit Airlines agreed to a renewal and expansion of its Miramar headquarters in what is believed to be Broward County’s largest office lease of 2013.

Spirit signed a nearly 71,000-square-foot lease in October at the Miramar Park of Commerce, where it moved from Detroit in 1999. The 10-year deal includes an expansion of about 15,000 square feet. The airline employs 1,500 people in three South Florida facilities.

Law firm agrees to relocate to Southeast Financial Center

In one of the last large office leases completed this year, law firm Shutts & Bowen signed a nearly 70,000 square feet deal at Southeast Financial Center in downtown Miami.

Shutts is set to move across the street from its current Miami Center location after agreeing to the 15-year deal. The firm plans to occupy three floors at Southeast Financial starting in November 2015.

The transaction was announced earlier this month.

Shutts has operated in Miami since 1910. It has nearly 100 of its 250 attorneys in the Miami office.

Greenspoon Marder grabs 65K square feet in Fort Lauderdale

Another law firm, Greenspoon Marder, agreed to take 65,000 square feet at one of Fort Lauderdale’s tallest office towers.

Greenspoon signed a deal to occupy four floors of the 21-story 200 East Broward Boulevard building. It fills a giant void at the building left by law firm Ruden McClosky, which was acquired by Greenspoon two years ago.

The Greenspoon lease was announced in November. The deal brought occupancy at the Class A building to 87 percent.

RBC renews, expands at 801 Brickell Avenue

The newest office towers on Brickell Avenue tend to get the most attention from market observers, but one of the financial district’s largest transactions of the year involved a 28-year-old building.

Royal Bank of Canada renewed its lease at 801 Brickell Avenue during the third quarter of 2013. The deal included an expansion of more than 10,000 square feet, to bring RBC’s total occupancy to more than 65,000 square feet.

The 28-story, 415,000-square-foot office building was completed in 1985.

Other notable office leases:

-Carnival Cruise Lines renewed its 63,000-square-foot lease at 3400 Lakeside Drive in southwest Broward County

-TotalBank signed a 60,000-square-foot deal to move its headquarters to downtown Miami’s iconic Miami Tower, which will become TotalBank Tower in May 2014.

-Law firm White & Case agreed to a nearly 58,000-square-foot renewal at Southeast Financial Center

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