Miami board approves Banco Santander’s proposed 40-story office tower in Brickell

Project would replace bank’s existing building

Banco Santander Nabs Approval for Brickell Office Tower

A photo illustration of Banco Santander’s Timothy Wennes along with renderings of the proposed 40-story office tower in Brickell (Handel Architects, Banco Santander)

Banco Santander scored approval for its planned 40-story office tower in Brickell. 

The Miami Urban Development Review Board voted on Wednesday in favor of the 1.5 million-square-foot project at 1401 Brickell Avenue in Miami. The project, called Santander Tower, would replace Banco Santander’s existing 14-story, 237,000-square-foot office building on the site. 

Designed by Handel Architects, Santander Tower would consist of 613,000 square feet of offices, as well as 108,000 square feet of food and beverage space on the ground-floor and atop the nine-story podium. The building has an exoskeleton design and landscaped terraces, with the intention of making it “more welcoming” toward the street and of steering clear from “hermetically sealed offices,” Gary Handel, of Handel Architects, told the board. 

The tower’s height is less than the 48 stories allowed on the site. 

Wednesday’s approval is the final board review for the project, though the city’s zoning administrator still has to sign off on development plans and waivers. 

Board member Gia Zapattini, a Miami-based architect, called for the plaza landscaping to include more than palm trees to ensure the area is well-shaded. 

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“It’s Miami, and palms actually don’t do us any favors. They create no shade,” she said. In order for the city to really use this plaza, you have to put trees and make sure they are not palms.” 

Zapattini also urged design tweaks that better tie in the bottom levels, top façade and exoskeleton middle of the tower, including suggesting round shapes for the ground-floor columns instead of the rectangular shapes shown on renderings. 

“I would suggest switching the orange from the top of the building to perhaps some wood cladding,” she said. “This is a very ambitious project that would require a lot of coordination.” 

Banco Santander bought the existing building, completed in 1973 on 2 acres, in 2008 for $114 million, records show. The bank has a branch in the building. 

Santander Tower marks at least the fourth planned Brickell office tower in recent months. Developers have seized on the Miami financial district’s boom, as out-of-state firms have signed leases at high-end office towers at record rates of over $100 per square foot. 

The Ardid family’s Key International proposes a 51-story, 750,000-square-foot office tower on the site of the firm’s headquarters at 848 Brickell Avenue. Steve Ross’ Related Companies and Swire Properties plan the 1.4 million-square-foot supertall One Brickell City Centre at 700 Brickell Avenue and 799 Brickell Avenue. And billionaire hedge funder Ken Griffin is expected to develop a headquarters tower for his Citadel and Citadel Securities at 1201 Brickell Bay Drive.