Could The Fight Commercial Real Estate Market Affect Your Business?

Commercial real estate is at a premium, which means higher leasing costs and fewer options. Here’s how to find office space under these circumstances.

By Julie Bawden Davis

Has your company outgrown its office space? You might want to look for a new location sooner than later. Like the residential market, much of the commercial real estate market is currently tight.

“Be mindful of your timeline if you’re six months out from a lease termination, or you’re running out of space,” suggests Tere Blanca, CEO and founder of the commercial real estate brokerage firm Blanca Commercial Real Estate. “Given that markets are tight, you need a long lead time to ensure you can get the best possible space and deal terms,” she says.

If you’re set to renew your lease, you may find the rates rise substantially.

“Tighter markets tend to be more landlord-friendly and have higher rates,” says Blanca. “Business owners renewing leases often get major sticker shock in tight markets.”

Faced with rising leases and a growing workforce, many growing companies that aren’t ready to move have to make do with their current space.

“When moving isn’t yet an option, maximizing space comes into play,” says Blanca. “Tenants may have to convert bigger spaces into smaller huddle
rooms or take larger single offices and convert them to more open layouts with workstations for multiple employees.”

Why Finding the Ideal Office Space Is Important

Having the ideal workspace for your employees—one that offers sufficient space and desired amenities—can directly affect your bottom line.

“The reality is you spend more waking hours in the office than you do at home,” says Eran Roth, CEO and founder of commercial real estate investment firm iintoo. “Working in a space you like, with the right balance of privacy and social interaction, can make a huge difference in the motivation of the workforce and directly impacts worker morale, retention and overall feelings of compensation.”

For retailers, the location profoundly affects sales, believes Katherine Jensen, principal of Jensen Consulting, which specializes in writing and auditing commercial real estate leases.

“A storefront in a busy plaza with complementary neighbors is going to help increase the potential for sales and your visibility,” she says.
On the other hand, office space and its location may also influence your employees.

“Certain features such as being close to the subway, parking on site or perks like discount gym memberships could be deciding factors for potential employees,” says Jensen

The ideal office space can be critical to the culture of an organization, adds April Zimmerman Katz, owner and president of The Zimmerman Companies, a property management company, and Versa LLC, a provider of shared work space.

“One of the most expensive tasks any owner or employer has is to find, train and retain talent,” says Katz. “Employees will look carefully at the home a company has chosen. If a space doesn’t feel inspired, it may be harder to expect employees to follow suit.”

Tips for Finding the Right Office Space for Your Company

Locating the ideal office space in a tight commercial real estate market does take some time and dedication, but it’s possible. Try these tactics.

1. Think and plan ahead.

“Focus on the space you’ll need in 18 to 24 months,” says Alex Cohen, chief commercial real estate specialist for The Alex Cohen Team. “Most office leases are five to 10 years in term. Many companies in the growth mode decide on an appropriately-sized space based on their anticipated head count within the first year of the lease. It’s far better to anticipate more long-term growth than to make do with overcrowded conditions or have to relocate.”
One way to avoid having to relocate when you do run out of space is to negotiate and incorporate into the lease terms a right to more space that may become available in the building, adds Jensen.

2. Consider employee preferences.

“Look at where your employees are living and commuting from,” suggests Blanca. “Then choose a space that makes the most sense for the maximum number of employees. There will be a resulting increase in productivity thanks to decreased tardiness and absences.”

3. Look at flexible office options.

A traditional office may not be the answer in a tight market, suggests Katz.

“Look at co-working options that allow rapidly growing businesses to move into amenity-rich commercial real estate spaces immediately. Co-working can offer offices that can expand and contract with business as needed and allow owners to get down to work.”
Will Mitchell is co-founder and CEO of Contract Simply, a payment system software company. He is currently leasing a small office through a co-working space, and will soon be moving to a larger space with a six-month lease.

“We’ll be getting a pleasant ambiance, a kitchen, comfortable furniture, new desks and chairs, conference rooms, a great location and plenty of parking,” he says. “Our plan is to look for a permanent location once we triple in size.”
There’s definitely a rise in popularity of co-working spaces and requests for temporary office space, adds Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, a sales and marketing software company, and co-author of Conquer the Chaos.

“The commercial real estate market is likely a contributing factor,” Mask says, “as is the desire for mobility as businesses and employees become more global.”

4. Consider your company’s Gross Rental Occupancy Cost (GROC).

“GROC is an important calculation new tenants often have no knowledge of,” says Jensen. “This number illustrates the percentage of your revenue being spent on your rental costs. Ideally, a successful business should land between 10 to 20 percent. In a tight real estate market, it’s important to know your budget before diving in and signing a lease.”

Travel Retailer Dufry to Move, Expand Regional HQ West of MIA

Prologis is ready to build the new 200,000-square-foot regional headquarters for Dufry at the Beacon Lakes industrial park.

By Lidia Dinkova

A travel retailer is moving its office and warehouse to a 200,000-square-foot space west of Miami International Airport in another deal demonstrating industrial growth.

Switzerland-based Dufry AG owns and operates retail shops at airports, cruises and train stations. Its Latin American regional headquarter, including offices and warehouses, is in a 160,000-square-foot space at the International Corporate Park in Doral.

It’s moving about two miles west to Beacon Lakes, an expansive industrial and retail park northwest of the Dolphin Expressway and Florida’s Turnpike near Doral. Construction on the new headquarters is set to start by the end of March.

“Their business had been growing,” said Christopher Harak, senior vice president for Blanca Commercial Real Estate, which brokered the new lease on behalf of Dufry.

Prologis, the owner and developer of Beacon Lakes, will develop the new building for Dufry on the southeast corner of Northwest 137th Avenue and 14th Street.

Under the build-to-suit lease, the building will be designed with an eye toward efficiency with 32-foot warehouse ceilings, allowing for more storage.

“It’s going to allow them to essentially store 60 percent more goods in about 30 percent less space,” Harak said.

He declined to disclose the lease terms or value.

Blanca Commercial’s Juan Ruiz worked along with Harak on the deal. JLL represented Prologis.

The industrial market in Miami-Dade County has been healthy with high occupancy rates, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report. The industrial vacancy rate was 4.7 percent in the end of 2017, and it was even lower in the Airport West submarket at 3.4 percent,

The new and old Dufry buildings are in the same submarket.

The company operates 2,200 duty-free and duty-paid shops worldwide. The Miami-Dade headquarters has operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its brands include Hudson, World Duty Free and Colombian Emeralds International.

Duty-free retailer signs 200,000-square-foot deal for new facility in Miami-Dade

Travel retailer Dufry signed a 200,000-square-foot lease for a built-to-suit warehouse and office facility near Doral.

By Brian Bandell

Travel retailer Dufry signed a 200,000-square-foot lease for a built-to-suit warehouse and office facility near Doral.
Blanca Commercial Real Estate’s Christopher Harak and Juan Ruiz represented the Switzerland-based retailer in the deal. Prologis, the landlord and developer, was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle.

Harak said Dufry has outgrown its 160,000-square-foot facility at International Corporate Park, another Prologis (NYSE: PLD) facility. The company will leave that facility for a new building at Beacon Lakes.

The company has 215 employees now, and the expansion should allow it to hire 50 people in its office over the next two years, he said.
“They were in an older building, and it was becoming inefficient,” Harak said. “They were looking for a space to accommodate them for the next 10 years.”

The 200,000-square-foot facility, which will include 25,000 square feet of office space, will be at the southeast corner of Northwest 137th Avenue and Northwest 14th Street, he said. It should break ground by the end of the first quarter, and be ready by the first quarter of 2019.

Prologis extended the lease at Dufry’s current location until the new building is ready, he added.

Dufry sells its goods at 2,200 duty-free shops in 63 countries, mostly in airports, seaports and cruise ships. This facility mostly ships goods to the Caribbean, Mexico and other parts of Latin America, Harak said.

“This lease is critical for our short-and long-term business needs, as our new space will support our continued growth and accommodate our annual expansion requirements for the foreseeable future,” Dufry CEO Rene Riedi said.

Since the new building will have 32-foot ceilings – six feet taller than the current building – more depth and wider column spacing, it will allow Dufry to be 30 percent more efficient with the flow of goods in its space, Harak said.

Do These Three Words Best Describe Miami’s Office Market?

Tere Blanca, who was a voice of optimism in the local industry’s recession dark says, sounds off.

By Jennifer LeClaire

MIAMI—Flight to quality. Those were three words we heard over and over again after the commercial real estate industry imploded and left Miami’s office inventory largely dark in 2008.

“During the course of the past year, class A assets dominated the market, capturing more than 80% of the total positive net absorption across Miami-Dade County,” Tere Blanca, president and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate tells “Further evidencing the trend of tenants making a ‘flight to quality,’ major in-market moves, new-to-market entries and expansions were influenced by companies choosing to establish their footprints in premier trophy assets, as well as newly delivered office product.”

Where do we go from here in Miami’s office space market? Blanca, who was a voice of optimism in the local industry’s recession dark says, has some specific predictions.

“In 2018, companies will continue to gravitate towards premier new office space, hyperconnected to amenities and public transit, to elevate their corporate brands and attract new talent,” says Blanca. “The launch of Brightline will bring more region-wide business crossover, particularly along the urban centers, and fuel talent mobility across the region.”

In addition to creative new amenity offerings within a building, Blanca points to several other significant key office space drivers. She points to walkability, proximity to ample residential offerings and varied retail.

“A building’s tenant mix will also influence a company’s vetting and selection process, particularly for new developments, so projects offering a more ‘curated’ approach to office leasing strategy will stand out,” Blanca says. (Looking for the next generation of office space needs? Check this out.)

Tere Blanca Makes 2018 Office Leasing Predictions

By Jennifer LeClaire

MIAMI—It’s been a decade since new office supply in Miami sat dark. What can we expect on the Miami office leasing front in 2018?

We caught up with Tere Blanca, founder and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, to get some thoughts. Her overarching view? She expects local economic fundamentals to remain strong and drive the success of the Miami office market in 2018.

“Key industries demonstrating significant employment growth include professional, financial, and legal services, as well as evolving industries such as technology and media, at a rate of 2.5% locally, which is double that of the 1.2% national growth rate,” Blanca tells “These developments translate into 62,000 new jobs within those sectors during the past two years.”

(Savvy landlords are driving placemaking in the office sector. Find out more.)

In 2017, she notes, these industries contributed to more than half of the total leasing activity and accounted for the majority of expansions, a trend we expect will continue in 2018. Although new-to-market activity was on a steady decline over the course of the past two years, she expects improving economic factors in several Latin American countries, coupled with Miami’s continued global appeal, will yield higher net absorption from new market entries in 2018.

Blanca’s bottom line is clear. “Given the steady leasing momentum leading into the new year and limited new supply being delivered this year,” she says, “rents will sustain moderate increases and vacancy will continue a downward trend.”

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Blanca Commercial Real Estate Launches New Division

By Brian Bandell

Blanca Commercial Real Estate has launched a property management practice after hiring Peter Romero.

He previously managed more than 1 million square feet of office and mixed- use space while working for Taylor & Mathis and Cushman & Wakefield. Miami-based Blanca CRE named him VP of the new Blanca Property Management, where he will build a new team.

“We are thrilled to welcome a respected professional with Peter’s track record to lead the operations of Blanca Property Management,” said Tere Blanca, chairman and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate. “Beyond his professional qualifications, he possesses an outgoing, collaborative personality and passion for excellence that fit perfectly with our company culture.”

The move comes after Blanca CRE hired John Guitar, previously with Brightline developer Florida East Coast Industries, as managing director and vice chair to plan for a statewide expansion and the introduction of more services. Other new additions to Blanca CRE include Controller Arturo Cepero, a CPA, and Chief Marketing Officer Diana Pubchara.

Blanca CRE ranked No. 15 on the Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Brokerages list with $215 million in deals in 2016, mostly office leases.

Blanca CRE dives into property management

By Katherine Kallergis

Blanca Commercial Real Estate is jumping into property management.

Tere Blanca’s company announced it brought on Peter Romero to lead the new division. Romero previously managed an office and mixed-use portfolio of more than 1 million square feet at Taylor & Mathis and Cushman & Wakefield.

In October, Blanca brought on John Guitar from Florida East Coast Industries as managing director and vice chair. Guitar, who plans to lead the statewide expansion of the Brickell-based commercial brokerage, said he expects the property management division to include existing clients and new buildings.

Facing competition from co-working companies like WeWork, landlords are increasingly looking to build a sense of community in their buildings with unique programs, Blanca and Guitar said.

Romero’s team includes Arturo Cepero, a CPA and certified fraud examiner, and Diana Pubchara, chief marketing officer. Pubchara will focus on creating customized programs for landlords and will oversee brand development, according to a release.

Cube Wynwd office building breaks ground in Miami

By Brian Bandell

RedSky Capital obtained an $18.72 million construction loan to begin work on an office building in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, and also announced its first tenant.

Cube Wynwd, at 222 N.W. 24th St., will be one of the first modern Class A office buildings in Wynwood, which is best known for street art, dining and shopping. This is one of four developments there with office space, and the third to start construction.

Bank of the Ozarks (Nasdaq: OZRK) awarded the mortgage to Cube Wynwood SPE, an affiliate of Brooklyn, New York-based RedSky Capital. The 12-story building will have 76,356 square feet of office space and 11,155 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the building’s leasing broker, announced that creative shared workspaces firm Spaces has signed a 23,638-square-foot lease at Cube Wynwd, making the building 27 percent occupied. The tenant was represented by JLL’s Randy Carballo and Gavin MacPhail, while Blanca CRE’s Tera Blanca, Danet Linares and Flavia Eternod represented RedSky.

“What we are seeing is a growing number of tenants are opting for creative spaces that offer a range of entertainment and lifestyle options, in addition to traditional work environments, in order to help attract and retain today’s top talent,” Blanca said. “Cube Wynwd offers a central location connected to numerous retail, dining, entertainment and residential offerings, as well as on- site amenities.”

Tenants will use 89 parking spaces at a nearby site owned by RedSky, and will also have valet service. The building will have a rooftop terrace and Wi-Fi in the common areas.

It was designed by Arquitectonica and should be delivered in fall 2018.

The project is near Panther Coffee. Office developers in Wynwood are counting on tenants to be attracted by all of the neighborhood’s restaurants and cultural facilities.

RedSky scores construction loan for Cube Wynwyd

Developer just inked a lease with shared office concept Spaces

By Katherine Kallergis

RedSky Capital closed on an $18.27 million construction loan for an office building it plans to develop in Wynwood, property records show.

Bank of the Ozarks is providing the financing for Cube Wynwyd, an eight-story office building at 222 Northwest 24th Street. The project, with nearly 80,000 square feet of office space and about 11,400 square feet of retail space, will mark one of the first new office buildings in Wynwood. Construction is underway, according to a spokesperson for Blanca Commercial Real Estate, which is handling leasing.

JLL’s Aaron Appel and Jonathan Schwartz arranged the financing.

Asking rents range from about $38 to $42 per square foot triple-net for spaces that go up to a full 11,360-square-foot floor, Tere Blanca previously said. It’s 27 percent preleased to tenants that include Spaces, a shared workspace concept. Spaces just signed a nearly 24,000-square-foot lease at Cube Wynwyd, according to a spokesperson. Randy Carballo and Gavin MacPhail of JLL represented the co-working firm, and Blanca, Danet Linares and Flavia Eternod of Blanca Commercial represented RedSky.

Arquitectonica is designing the LEED-certified building, which will include a rooftop terrace and 30-foot breezeway with restaurant and retail tenants on the ground floor. It’s slated to open in 2018.

John Guitar leaves Florida East Coast Industries for Blanca CRE

He will lead statewide expansion for the brokerage.

By Katherine Kallergis
October 30, 2017

John Guitar

John Guitar left Florida East Coast Industries to join Blanca Commercial Real Estate as managing director and vice chair.

Guitar will oversee the day-to-day operations and lead the statewide expansion of the Brickell-based commercial brokerage, which is led by CEO Tere Blanca, according to a news release. At FECI, he was most recently senior vice president of business development.

Guitar oversaw FECI subsidiary All Aboard Florida’s transit-oriented projects in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, working with Blanca to market and lease the 2 MiamiCentral and 3 MiamiCentral office towers. He worked with FECI for 14 years. “Quite honestly, we were getting to the point where [Brightline] work was getting wrapped up and it was a normal time to make a transition,” Guitar said.

He was also previously vice president at FECI’s Flagler Development.

In June, Vince Signorello, FECI’s president and CEO, resigned to launch his own real estate investment and development firm. Signorello led development of the Brightline project, a $3 billion express-train service. Brightline is now scheduled to start service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach later this year.

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