Subway inks lease at Miami’s Waterford Business District, plans to bring 100 employees

Fast-food giant took more than 64K sf

Waterford Business District in Miami and Subway CEO John Chidsey (Nuveen, Getty, iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)
Waterford Business District in Miami and Subway CEO John Chidsey (Nuveen, Getty, iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

Subway made good on its announcement earlier this month that it’s moving to Miami, inking a major lease at the Waterford Business District, with plans to bring 100 employees.

The fast food giant leased 64,256 square feet at 1000 Waterford in the massive office park across Miami International Airport. The office park is owned by a joint venture of Chicago-based Nuveen Real Estate, the investment arm of TIAA; and Allianz Real Estate, the captive investment and asset manager for real estate within Allianz Group.

Subway, led by John Chidsey, will keep most employees at its headquarters in Milford, Connecticut. Its Waterford Business District office will house marketing and culinary staff members and its Latin American regional office, according to a statement.

A Miami office will allow more cooperation with Subway’s franchisee-owned and operated supply-chain arm, the company added.

Tere Blanca, Juan Ruiz and Andrés del Corral of Blanca Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord in the deal. Holland & Knight partner Irwin Fayne handled negotiations on behalf of the landlord.

The Waterford Business District is one of Miami-Dade County’s most prominent office parks, spanning 250 acres and offering 1.65 million square feet of offices, according to Blanca Commercial. It’s in unincorporated Miami-Dade County across the Dolphin Expressway from the airport.

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Nuveen and Allianz re-branded the complex last year from its previous moniker Waterford at Blue Lagoon, following a $10 million capital improvement. The overhaul was a push to appeal to millennial workers, as it added yoga studios and bike sharing. It came after the owners completed another $10 million in improvements in 2019.

Blanca said the improvements are in part what is attracting corporate moves to the business district, allowing tenants to retain “top talent.”

Waterford Business District has a total of 1,200 local, regional and global companies, Nuveen Office Sector Southeast regional head Charles Russo said in a statement. Some of the other tenants are FedEx, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Novartis and Estee Lauder. The campus includes 30 acres where up to 1 million square feet of more offices can be built, including a regional headquarters.

The Subway lease is one of a chain of deals that bode well for the Miami-Dade office market, after it took a hit last year amid uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic. The county’s vacancy rate rose to 11.3 percent in the fourth quarter last year, up from the 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to a Colliers report.

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At the same time, the region is becoming a mecca for financial and tech firms relocating here, and investment giants are responding. Blackstone Group last week bought the two office towers at Brightline’s MiamiCentral station for $230 million, one of the biggest commercial sales to close this year in South Florida.