By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Miami—Office investment sales activity in South Florida is on fire, and the latest heat involves the renowned Miami Tower in the city’s central business district. With the help of commercial real estate and capital markets services provider HFF, LaSalle Investment Management’s LaSalle Income & Growth Fund V sold the 631,700-square-foot trophy office property to Sumitomo Corp. of Americas for $220 million.
LaSalle made out like a bandit, having acquired the 47-story Miami Tower from Blue Capital U.S. East Coast Properties LP for $105.5 million in late 2010. The I.M. Pei-designed skyscraper, developed in 1987, thrived under the fund’s ownership. Today, Miami Tower is one of the most recognizable buildings on the city’s skyline, due in no small part to the state-of-the-art LED lighting system LaSalle installed in 2012 as part of a renovation and repositioning program. LaSalle’s efforts didn’t go to waste; the property is presently 92 percent occupied, and counts the likes of international law firm Carlton Fields, UBS Financial and the U.S. General Services Administration as tenants. Miami Tower is the right building in the right place at the right time.
“Miami Tower is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the exciting renaissance of the Miami CBD, which has been ranked as top U.S. metro for job growth in 2015 and sixth most important city in the world for ultra-high net worth individuals” Hermen Rodriguez, senior managing director with HFF, said in a prepared statement.
Miami’s office market has been playing its part in pushing up transaction activity in South Florida. Sales totaled $679.6 million in the first quarter, marking quite an upswing from the $236.5 million in sales in the first quarter of 2015, according to a report by commercial real estate services firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. Investors were particularly keen on trophy assets, which commanded an average price per square foot of $249 for a year-over-year increase of 18 percent. The top transactions of the quarter included Courvoisier Centre JV’s $140 million acquisition of the 350,000-square-foot Courvoisier Centre in the Brickell Avenue submarket, and Triarch Capital Group’s purchase of a three-building, 291,000-square-foot portfolio in the Airport West area for approximately $73.8 million.