VirginTrains USA owner sells MiamiCentral office buildings for $159M

Tenants include Viacom, Atlantic | Pacific Companies and Carlton Fields

Shorenstein Properties co-chairman Michael Rossi and a rendering of MiamiCentral Station 
Shorenstein Properties co-chairman Michael Rossi and a rendering of MiamiCentral Station

The parent company of VirginTrains USA, Florida East Coast Industries, sold the office portion of its MiamiCentral station for $159.4 million.

Coral Gables-based FECI sold the ground floor retail, two office buildings and the parking space at 600 Northwest First Avenue to San Francisco-based Shorenstein, property records show.

Wells Fargo provided a $126 million mortgage to Shorenstein Properties to finance the acquisition.

The buildings, 2 MiamiCentral and 3 MiamiCentral, are leased to tenants that include Viacom, the Confederation of North Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Carlton Fields and Atlantic | Pacific Companies. 2 MiamiCentral has 190,000 square feet of office space, while 3 MiamiCentral has 95,000 square feet of office space and 35,000 square feet of retail, according to its website.

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FECI will still control the train station for the high-speed rail service, formerly known as Brightline.

MiamiCentral, which opened last year, includes the office buildings and an apartment component that’s under construction. A food hall is also expected to open soon at the train station.

The sale of the office properties could help FECI make up for its losses on the rail service, which has struggled with ridership numbers. In a prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Virgin Trains said it operated at a loss of $87.1 million during the first nine months of 2018. But ridership appeared to be picking up, increasing by 50 percent year-over-year to 239,000 passengers in the fourth quarter of 2018.

In February, Virgin Trains postponed its initial public offering, claiming it found “alternative financing” to stay private. In April, it closed a $1.75 billion private-activity bond issue to fund an expansion of its passenger train service to Orlando.

Shorenstein’s real estate portfolio totals 25 million square feet across the country with a gross value of $9 billion, according to its website. The company is working with Stiles Corp. to develop the Main Las Olas in downtown Fort Lauderdale, a 1.4 million-square-foot, mixed-use office, residential and retail community.