Posts Tagged : Coral Gables

Long slog of Miracle Mile revamp alters business scene

WEEK OF THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 2017

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Long slog of Miracle Mile revamp alters business scene

By Catherine Lackner

The renovation of Miracle Mile and Gerald Avenue has been a long slog and, with completion set for January, it’s far from over. Stakeholders on the streets have experienced the construction differently.

“We’ve been very fortunate, but we are sensitive to the fact that others have had serious difficulties,” said Barbara Stein, executive producing director of the Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile.

“We’ve become somewhat of a destination, and people seem to be able to get to the theater on time,” she said. “People have a choice to see or not see the show, and we’ve had some good series.”

Parking is a challenge, she said, “but parking is always a challenge, and not just in Coral Gables, but everywhere. We’re hoping the return of valet service will help.”

On balance, Ms. Stein called the renovation “a little bit of pain for some gain.

“These are going to be amazing improvements, and we hope that the people we bring in will help generate opportunities for everyone,” she said. “We’re all working together for the prosperity of the community.”

An unintended consequence of the renovation forced Flowers & Services, formerly of 366 Miracle Mile, to leave the city.

“Due to the construction, the owner of our former location raised the rent from $4,000 to $11,000,” said Maria Budow, co-owner of the business. “We moved. Once the renovation is done, a restaurant can come in there and put tables on the sidewalks, which we couldn’t do.”

Flowers & Services moved to 6600 Coral Way. “It’s really nice and there’s plenty of parking,” Ms. Budow said. “We’re happy.”

Rent increases may be part of a trend, said Rafael Romero, Vice President of CREC, via email.

“While some retailers may not survive these challenging times, the long-term gains will deliver enhanced tenants and increased market vitality. With less than a 3% retail vacancy rate in Miami today, any vacancies will be absorbed quickly in this area.

“We expect landlords of existing retail buildings to upgrade infrastructure to meet the vision of the new streetscape, playing a significant role in the new retail aesthetic,” said Mr. Romero, whose office at 2121 Ponce de Leon Blvd. is two blocks from Giralda Avenue and four blocks from Miracle Mile. “Coral Gables will also need to work closely with the surrounding landlords to deliver a destination with a synergetic tenant mix.”

“This is a defining moment for downtown Coral Gables,” said Christopher Brown, co-developer of Giralda Place, a nine-story, 33-unit condominium project at 2222 Ponce de Leon Blvd., which will have 13,390 square feet of ground-floor retail and about 100,000 square feet of office space.

“We’re already seeing growing interest in Giralda Place due to the streetscape project taking shape across the street. While tenants have seen a dry sales period, there is real buzz surrounding the streetscape’s completion and resulting increase in foot traffic,” he said via email.

“The improvements will greatly benefit current retail tenants by helping to boost lost revenue from the heavy construction and providing them with a competitive advantage, as there are no other thoroughfares in the vicinity that share the same attributes.”

“We invite people to come experience the progress of the Miracle Mile streetscape as you stroll the south side of the 100 and 200 blocks of Miracle Mile [which house] the Miracle Theatre, Barnes & Noble and dozens of quality shops and eateries,” said Javier Betancourt, Coral Gables economic development director, via email.

“Hand-cut stone pavers – inspired by our beautiful South Florida skies – are being meticulously installed on ultra-wide sidewalks to create a captivating pedestrian experience for locals and visitors alike,” he said. “The first phase of this multimillion-dollar renaissance has successfully addressed long-standing drainage issues while installing high speed fiber, new shade trees, and specialty lighting. The drainage work is done and the magic is now taking shape.”

The first phase of the Giralda Plaza streetscape is taking shape, as well, he said. “To celebrate,

‘Parking is always a challenge, and not just in Coral Gables, but everywhere. We’re hoping the return of the valet service will help.’

Barbara Stein


‘While some retailers may not survive these challenging time, the long-term gains will deliver enhanced tenants and increased market vitality.’

Rafael Romero


many of the restaurants along ‘restaurant row,’ (the 100 block of Giralda Avenue) will operate impromptu outdoor cafes in the plaza each Saturday from breakfast to midnight.

“Entitled Giralda Alfresco, these Saturday experiences will allow us to get a taste of what’s to come, because it’s just too pretty now to wait until summer, when it’s officially complete,” Mr. Betancourt said.

The project – which was discussed for years before the first inch of pavement was broken – will create streets that are more walkable, vibrant and attractive, he said. Giralda Plaza is scheduled for completion by early summer, and seven of Miracle Mile’s eight blocks are scheduled for completion by November of this year (in time for the holiday season), with the last block slated for completion by January 2018.

“The city is sensitive to the hardships faced by merchants during this period of construction,” he said. Coral Gables has taken steps to support the merchants, including:

‘While tenants have seen a dry sales period, there is a real buzz surrounding the streetscape’s completion and resulting increase in foot traffic.’

Christopher Brown


‘The first phase of this multimillion-dollar renaissance has successfully addressed long-standing drainage issues while installing high speed fiber.’

Javier Betancourt


  • Working with the contractor to accelerate and expedite the work.
  • Attracting people to downtown through a variety of free events, such as Wellness Wednesdays, Jazz in the Gables, Movies on the Mile and Giralda Al Fresco.
  • Providing discounted or complementary parking for customers, including free parking vouchers and free valet vouchers for Giralda Avenue merchants.
  • Conducting a robust marketing and advertising campaign in publications and social media.
  • Installing more than 180 business continuity parking and wayfinding signs.
  • Waiving city permit fees and expediting permitting for facade improvements.
  • Providing flexibility with respect to certain code enforcement regulations.
  • Enhancing privately owned paseos at the city’s expense.
  • Providing rent abatement for retail tenants in city-owned properties.
CREC Negotiates 88,000 SF Lease Renewal

CREC has completed a long-term, 88,000-square-foot lease renewal with Bayview Asset Management in Shops at Merrick Park Offices in Coral Gables.

The lease renewal will maintain the national mortgage investment firm’s corporate headquarters at 4425 Ponce De Leon Boulevard. Bayview Asset Management has occupied the space since the office building was delivered to the market in 2002.

CREC Partner Steven Hurwitz and Senior Vice President Douglas Okun represented GGP, owner and operator of Shops at Merrick Park Offices, while JLL Managing Director Matthew W. Cheezem represented the tenant, Bayview Asset Management.

“We were able to achieve terms for GGP to accommodate the tenant’s needs, which included ample on-site parking and facility improvements geared toward upgrading the tenant’s floors,” said Hurwitz. “We are pleased that Bayview Asset Management will remain in the building. This is a strong statement for both the project and the thriving Coral Gables submarket.”

Shops at Merrick Park Office is a Class A, five-story office building comprised of 126,019 square feet. The tower is situated immediately adjacent to the area’s high-end retail and dining destination, Shops at Merrick Park, which features anchor tenants Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. It enjoys exposure to U.S. 1 and is within walking distance to Metrorail and the Coral Gables Trolley Station.

CREC Stays Independent as Consolidation Rules in South Florida.

Carla Vianna, Daily Business Review
December 9, 2016

Carol Brooks co-founded CREC in 1989

Carol Brooks co-founded CREC in 1989

National brokerages have cast ambitious eyes upon CREC, but the homegrown commercial real estate company has rejected several offers from big-name competitors.

Numerous South Florida firms such as CREC have held onto their stand-alone structures despite a wave of consolidations sweeping through the industry.

“The independent firm — our firm — we have the opportunity to be truly entrepreneurial, to be nimble, to shift very quickly, to forecast trends and respond to the dynamics in the marketplace,” said Carol Brooks, who co-founded CREC in 1989.

The Coral Gables-based company has grown to offer a wide spectrum of services, including asset and property management, tenant representation, construction management and creative workout solutions. With additional offices in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, CREC’s leasing and management portfolio is projected to close the year at 13.5 million square feet, up 18 percent from 2014.

Brooks attributes the growth to the company’s institutional infrastructure combined with an entrepreneurial spirit.

She said CREC is modeled after a law firm. The company brings in top performers as shareholders and gives employees investment opportunities in its real estate deals.

“Everybody’s success is intertwined,” Brooks said.

The Keyes Realty Co., like CREC, has also remained independent despite offers from national rivals.

Keyes, which is active in both commercial and residential markets, chose an alternative route to boost its market share. The company joined forces this year with Palm Beach Gardens-based Illustrated Properties, another independently run company that focuses on golf and high-end waterfront homes.

Mike Pappas, president and CEO of Keyes, said the merger allows them to leverage shared resources, specifically technology. The two companies continue to operate under their existing brand names and maintained their management teams and employees after the merger.

“We believe that we are partnering with our associates,” Pappas said. “In fact we celebrate collective independence. We’re independent, and our associates are independent. We allow them flexibility and freedom in our model that lets them do business the way they want to do it, whereas the corporate model is more structured and rule-oriented.”

A number of real estate companies, however, have opted for corporate ownership over the past two years.

Taylor & Mathis of Florida LLC sold to Cushman & Wakefield in August. Cushman also acquired Miami-based property manager Gibson Realty Group last April. The deals followed a $2 billion merger with Chicago-based DTZ, which significantly boosted Cushman’s national footprint.

The mandate after the DTZ merger was to “really grow the company and increase our market share,” said Larry Richey, a managing principal who leads the company’s Florida operations.

Cushman has since added over 300 people in Florida, two-thirds in South Florida.

The company competed against other brokerages for its South Florida acquisitions, Richey said.

Last year, Colliers International Group Inc. took over Miami-based Pointe Group Advisors LLC to strengthen the global company’s services in the region.

JLL went on to acquire Cresa South Florida, which focuses on tenant representation, for similar reasons.

Avison Young expanded its footprint two years ago when it purchased Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group LLC, a commercial brokerage and property management company that used to operate as Colliers International South Florida. Avison Young also purchased WG Compass Realty Cos. in West Palm Beach in 2013.

“It’s pretty phenomenal that that has not happened at CREC,” Brooks said.

When asked if CREC would always reject offers, co-founder and chairman Warren Weiser replied, “Always is a long time, but I don’t see us being anything but an independent firm.”

CREC Assigned To Lease 3 Institutional Office Properties Totaling More Than 500,000 SF

CREC has been appointed to lead leasing at three office properties in South Florida’s key office markets of Brickell and Coral Gables.

The office buildings become the latest addition to CREC’s portfolio, which includes more than 100 properties totaling 13 million square feet across the state’s major markets. As the commercial real estate industry continues to consolidate amongst national firms, CREC remains Florida’s premier independent full-service commercial real estate firm, with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

“We are thrilled with this new assignment, which comes on the heels of two other significant leasing and management contracts for institutional partners, highlighting CREC’s ability to continue to thrive and differentiate in a market otherwise defined by consolidation within the national brokerage houses,” said Carol Brooks, President of CREC.

Steven Hurwitz, Partner, Doug Okun, Senior Vice President, and Katie Fernandez-Espinosa, Senior Leasing Associate, will lead the office leasing efforts.

“Our institutional clients enjoy our full-service platform, local market expertise and track record to provide a holistic approach to real estate services,” CREC’s Steven Hurwitz said. “We have a uniquely collaborative team approach among disciplines, enabling us to provide institutional quality service in an entrepreneurial setting.”

The newest CREC assignments include:

800 Brickell Avenue: Located in Miami’s Brickell Financial District, CREC will lead the leasing efforts at the 15-story office tower 800 Brickell Avenue that has more than 212,000 square feet of office space and is home to tenants such as TotalBank, StateTrust, Prudential Insurance and Anheuser-Busch Companies.

The Alhambra: Situated in the heart of the Coral Gables Business District, CREC will oversee the leasing of The Alhambra office property located at 2 Alhambra Plaza. The building has 221,000 square feet of rentable office space and a tenant roster that includes Disney, Crystal Lagoons, Campbell Sales and Gresham, Smith and Partners.

The Alhambra West: Just a few blocks east, CREC will also handle the leasing at The Alhambra West, an office building totaling 91,000 square feet at 95 Merrick Way. The office property is home to tenants such as Northwestern University, Starbucks, US Department of State, and Pipeline Workspaces.

Kopelowitz Ostrow Opens Gables Office

A Fort Lauderdale law firm has chosen Coral Gables for its first permanent Miami-Dade office.

Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert signed a 5,000-square-foot lease at 2800 Ponce de Leon Blvd., a Class A office building anchored by Regions Bank. The firm will join others operating in the 28-story Regions Bank Tower, including Wicker Smith O’Hara McCoy & Ford and Breier Seif Silverman & Schermer.

The new location will be managed by veteran Miami lawyer Robert “Bobby” Gilbert, who became a name partner after joining the firm last fall. Gilbert left Grossman Roth to oversee and expand Kopelowitz Ostrow’s complex litigation and class action practice.

“By opening our office in Coral Gables, we’ll be able to continue building our team and providing the full range of services to our clients and co-counsel across South Florida,” he said in a statement.

The office will be home to eight of the firm’s 45 or so attorneys come August.

Carol Brooks, president of Coral Gables-based CREC, represented the firm in the lease transaction. No other details were released.

CREC Completes Office Leases Totaling 13,000 SF in Coral Gables, FL

Carol Brooks

Hemisphere Media Group expands its Coral Gables headquarters; Law firm Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert opens its first permanent Miami-Dade County office.

The Coral Gables office market is getting an added boost thanks to the expansion of the only publicly-traded, pure-play US Hispanic tv/cable networks and content platform and a Broward law firm opening its first permanent office in Miami-Dade. Hemisphere Media Group, Inc. will relocate and expand its headquarters to 4000 Ponce de Leon Blvd., while new arrival Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert will open its newest office at 2800 Ponce de Leon Boulevard. The two leases total a combined 13,000 square feet of Class A office space.

Carol Brooks, President of Coral Gables-based CREC, one of Florida’s largest commercial real estate services firms, represented Hemisphere and Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert in the two transactions. William Holly of Patton Real Estate represented the owner of 4000 Ponce de Leon Blvd., CMC Group.

The leases come as new investment pours into the Coral Gables business district. A $21 million makeover of the neighborhood’s main retail thoroughfares, Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue, is underway; more than 85 new restaurants have opened in the last five years; and over 1,500 residential units are expected to come online by 2020.

“The Gables is surging as new companies enter what has always been one of Miami’s most desirable submarkets and existing firms expand,” explains CREC President Carol Brooks, who advised both firms in their leases. “Our tenant representation team took the time to learn the needs of Hemisphere and Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert, and then created a leasing strategy that will meet both firms’ current and future real estate requirements. The result will be new absorption for the Coral Gables office market.”

Hemisphere owns and operates five leading U.S. Hispanic cable networks, two Latin American cable networks, and the leading broadcast television network in Puerto Rico. The firm was located at 2000 Ponce de Leon Blvd., but recently decided to relocate to an 8,000-square-foot space with the goal of modernizing its space and establishing a defined headquarters that could accommodate its entire staff.

“As we have grown, we took on additional non-contiguous space and this move will put us all under one roof, so we can work more efficiently,” says Hemisphere President and CEO Alan J. Sokol. “After surveying the market with CREC, we concluded that 4000 Ponce was the right choice due to the building’s location and modern finishes. We couldn’t be happier with our new headquarters, and we’re thrilled that we’re remaining in Coral Gables.”

Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert is a full-service South Florida law firm with approximately 45 lawyers that represent clients of all sizes, from entrepreneurs to large public companies. The firm’s main office is in Fort Lauderdale. The new Coral Gables location, which totals nearly 5,000 square feet, opens following the arrival last year of veteran Miami lawyer Bobby Gilbert, who is overseeing and expanding the firm’s complex litigation and class action practice.

“By opening our office in Coral Gables, we’ll be able to continue building our team and providing the full range of services to our clients and co-counsel across South Florida,” says Gilbert, who will manage the Coral Gables office.

About CREC

Founded in 1989 by Chairman Warren Weiser and President Carol Brooks, CREC (Continental Real Estate Companies) is one of Florida’s largest commercial real estate services firms, managing a portfolio of more than 100 office, retail and multifamily properties totaling 11.4 million square-feet. With offices throughout Florida, CREC specializes in asset and property management, leasing, tenant representation, construction management, development dispositions and finance, and creative workout solutions. For more information, visit  www.crec.com.

About Hemisphere Media Group, Inc.

Hemisphere Media Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HMTV) is the only publicly traded pure-play U.S. media company targeting the high growth Spanish-language television and cable networks business in the U.S. and Latin America. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Hemisphere owns and operates five leading U.S. Hispanic cable networks, two Latin American cable networks, and the leading broadcast television network in Puerto Rico. Hemisphere’s networks consist of: Cinelatino, the leading Spanish-language movie channel with over 16 million subscribers across the U.S., Latin America and Canada, including 4.5 million subscribers in the U.S. and 12.3 million subscribers in Latin America, featuring the largest selection of contemporary Spanish-language blockbusters and critically-acclaimed titles from Mexico, Latin America, Spain and the Caribbean; WAPA, Puerto Rico’s leading broadcast television network with the highest primetime and full day ratings in Puerto Rico. Founded in 1954, WAPA produces more than 75 hours per week of top-rated news and entertainment programming; WAPA America, the leading cable network targeting Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Hispanics living in the U.S., featuring the highly-rated news and entertainment programming produced by WAPA. WAPA America is distributed in the U.S. to 5.2 million subscribers; Pasiones, dedicated to showcasing the most popular telenovelas and drama series, distributed in the U.S. and Latin America. Pasiones has 4.4 million subscribers in the U.S. and 10.6 million subscribers in Latin America; Centroamerica TV, the leading network targeting Central Americans living in the U.S., the third-largest U.S. Hispanic group, featuring the most popular news, entertainment and soccer programming from Central America. Centroamerica TV is distributed in the U.S. to 4.0 million subscribers; and Television Dominicana, the leading network targeting Dominicans living in the U.S., featuring the most popular news, entertainment and baseball programming from the Dominican Republic. Television Dominicana is distributed in the U.S. to 3.0 million subscribers. For more information, visit  www.hemispheretv.com.

Coral Gables Sees Mega Deal; Largest of 2016

Coral Gables Sees Mega Deal; Largest Of 2016

MIAMI—The seller more than doubled its money in 11 years.

2121 Ponce includes a five-story, 586-space parking garage and street-level retail space.

MIAMI—It’s the largest commercial real estate transaction in Coral Gables, FL so far this year. A joint venture between Greenstreet Partners just sold the 2121 Ponce office building to a member company of Zurich North America for $57.5 million. Greenstreet acquired the building for 27.1 million in 2005.

Zurich Alternative Asset Management, Zurich’s alternative investment adviser, worked with the buyer on the deal. The sale of the 164,848 square-foot office building marks the latest sign of mounting demand for high-performing South Florida office properties among institutional investors around the world. CREC and CBRE brokered the deal.

“Coral Gables has long been one of South Florida’s most desirable submarkets, and that position will only grow as office users prioritize locations that are walkable and in close proximity to public transit options,” CREC principal Steven Hurwitz, who manages leasing at the building in tandem with CREC’s Doug Okun, tells GlobeSt.com. “2121 Ponce has emerged as one of the neighborhood’s best addresses over the past decade, particularly among companies in the market for space priced slightly below the rates at newer buildings nearby.”

CREC and Greenstreet acquired 2121 Ponce in 2015. Since then, the office asset has seen significant renovations of all common areas. A leasing and marketing program repositioned the building as a boutique, service-oriented option for Coral Gables office users. CREC has worked as the exclusive leasing agent and will continue managing the office asset for the new owner. The property is 95% occupied.

CREC’s Warren Weiser, Harry Blyden, and Andrew Remick co-brokered the sale of 2121 Ponce alongside CBRE’s Christian Lee, Jose Lobon, and Andrew Chilgren. Roy Rosenbaum, director of acquisitions, and Sean Bannon, managing director and head of US real estate, led the way for Zurich.

“Our experience at 2121 Ponce is an example of how a building’s value can be maximized by bringing a clear vision to life through creative leasing, construction, marketing and property management strategies,” says CREC chairman Weiser. “The investments we’ve made over the past decade have transformed the building into a core institutional-grade asset, leading to this sale. We expect similar acquisition activity in the coming months given high barriers to new development across South Florida.”

Located in the Coral Gables business district one block north of the “main and main” intersection of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Alhambra Circle, 2121 Ponce includes a five-story, 586-space parking garage and street-level retail space. Goldstein Schechter, Fox Latin America, Valley National Bank, the Consulate of Barbados and CREC call the office building home. POC restaurant is located on the building’s ground floor.

The office property’s setting in Coral Gables’ walkable downtown is also appealing to tenants as the $21 million makeover of two of the neighborhood’s main retail thoroughfares, Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue, gets underway. The submarket is home to more than 150 multinational corporations, more than a dozen luxury hotels, a free public trolley system, and boutiques and restaurants. Eighty-five new eateries opening in the last five years. Meanwhile, more than 1,500 residential units are expected to come online over the next three years.