Wells Fargo signs downtown Miami’s biggest lease of 2016 for $32M

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan and the Wells Fargo Center
Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan and the Wells Fargo Center

Just in time for the holidays, Wells Fargo has inked downtown Miami’s biggest office lease so far this year in a deal valued at $32 million.

The financial giant is relocating the last 45,000 square feet of its banking and investment services from downtown’s Southeast Financial Center to the office tower that bears its name, the 47-story Wells Fargo Center.

Cushman & Wakefield, which represented Wells Fargo Center’s owner Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., announced the deal Monday.

The lease is a 54,160-square-foot expansion in the building for Wells Fargo, making the bank Wells Fargo Center’s largest tenant at 150,816 square feet.

Cushman’s Brian Gale, Andrew Trench, Ryan Holtzman and Jeannette Mendoza worked on the deal. JLL’s David Preve represented Wells Fargo.

Gale told The Real Deal that the price paid breaks down to somewhere in the $40s, though he couldn’t disclose an exact number. Data from the CoStar Group shows asking rents range from $42 to $45 per square foot. The bank will now occupy all of the 22nd and 23rd floors, along with some space on the 33rd.

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Wells Fargo held a substantial piece of the Southeast Financial Center since it acquired competitor Wachovia in 2008 for roughly $15 billion. Wachovia had used the building as its Miami headquarters.

Just two years later, while Wells Fargo was in the midst of phasing out the Wachovia brand, the bank decided to move its Miami offices to the newer Met 2 building at 333 Southeast Second Avenue, signing a 20-year lease for 96,656 square feet in 2010. The deal came with a name swap for Met 2, which became known as the Wells Fargo Center.

Gale said the last piece of Wells Fargo’s space at Southeast was locked up under a lease that ends in 2017. The bank will start building out its space and moving over the next year.

The deal is a big win for Metropolitan Life, whose office tower’s occupancy rate had lagged behind the market at 73 percent. Wells Fargo’s expansion brings the building up to roughly 80 percent occupancy.

Conversely, Wells Fargo’s move leaves a large gap in Southeast’s star-studded tenant roster — one that its new owner, billionaire Amancio Ortega, will have to fill.

Though there have been larger leases inked this year in nearby Brickell, namely law firm Akerman’s 110,000 square feet at Brickell City Center, the Wells Fargo lease is the biggest for downtown Miami. The second biggest in 2016 belonged to the GLF Construction Company, which leased 44,000 square feet in the building at 528 Northwest Seventh Avenue.