Steelbridge Capital buys SunTrust Center in Fort Lauderdale: $90M

SunTrust Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale
SunTrust Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale

Steelbridge Capital just purchased the SunTrust Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale for $90 million, marking a record office sale for the downtown submarket over the past 12 months.

SunTrust Bank sold the iconic Class A complex at 501 and 515 East Las Olas Boulevard, and will remain as long-term retail and office tenants in both buildings. The 270,000-square-foot property is 77 percent leased, according to a press release.

SunTrust did not disclose a sales price, but sources confirmed to The Real Deal the buildings sold for $90 million, which breaks down to about $330 a foot. The buyer financed the deal with a $75.4 million loan from the Blackstone Group.

Lincoln Harris represented the seller, while CBRE’s Christian Lee, Amy Julian and Jose Lobon of the Capital Markets Team arranged the financing.

SunTrust Center, which spans a city block in the CBD and includes a 17-story tower, a three-story office annex and a parking garage, will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation. Steelbridge Capital plans to fill most of the 45,000-square-foot annex with prominent retail and creative office space, and upgrade technology, common areas and lobby of the office tower, according to the release.

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The sale marks the most expensive individual office deal in Fort Lauderdale over the past year by more than $35 million million. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. $56.3 million: Tower 101, purchased by Ivy Realty
  2. $23.5 million: Commercial Place, purchased by Brookwood Financial Partners
  3. $21.5 million: Hotwire Technology Center, purchased by Locust Street Associations
  4. $18.3 million: Lakeshore Business Center, purchased by Morning Calm Management
  5. $14.7 million: Broward Trade Center Corporate Park, purchased by MCNA Dental

“With single digit vacancy for retail and office space on Las Olas Boulevard, SunTrust Center is well positioned to take advantage of an increasing rental rate environment while maintaining strong occupancy, particularly with the planned capital improvements,” Jay Caplin, Steelbridge Capital managing principal, said in a statement.

As of the first quarter of this year, the Las Olas submarket had a 93 percent occupancy rate, the release said.

The property marks the second for Steelbridge in Fort Lauderdale. The investor also owns the Cypress Financial Center, paying about $33 million for the office complex along with Apollo Global Management in 2014. According to Steelbridge Capital’s website, the firm sold most of its Florida and Chicago assets between 2005 and 2008, and is now acquiring properties. It currently owns and manages about 1.8 million square feet of office space.

TRD Researcher Eda Kouch contributed to this report. 

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