SoFla Lease Roundup: Dade Paper & Bag Leases at Flagler Station II & More

Leases also at Downtown Miami’s Courthouse Tower and in Fort Lauderdale

By Amanda Rabines

Flagler Station II gets 70,000-square-foot industrial lease

PriceSmart just terminated its lease for 122,000 square feet at Flagler Station II in Medley, and signed on a 70,424-square-foot sublease with Dade Paper & Bag. PriceSmart still has two 35,000-square-foot spaces available for sublease, according to a press release.

The deals chip away at a 262,898-square-foot block that PriceSmart listed for sublease upon moving a majority of its operations to another building in the industrial park. Last year, it paid $45.56 million for its new 19-acre site at 10800 Northwest 100th Street.

Transwestern’s Ben Eisenberg, Walter Byrd, Thomas Kresse and Carlos Gaviria represented PriceSmart in the sublease with Dade Paper & Bag, a North American distributor of disposable food service and janitorial supplies.  Dade Paper & Bag was represented by Steve Medwin at Newmark Knight Frank.

Downtown Miami’s Courthouse Tower secures 27,400 square feet of leases

Five companies leased a combined 27,400 square feet of space at Downtown Miami’s Courthouse Tower, bringing its occupancy to about 75 percent.
In 2016, New York-based Brickman paid $27.5 million for the 26-story, 163,160-square-foot Courthouse Tower building at 44 West Flagler Street. Originally built in 1974, the tower sits across the street from the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, near All Aboard Florida’s Brightline station. The Consulate General of Jamaica inked a 6,651-square-foot contract. The company was represented by Zenith Realty Group’s Barron Channer.

Law firm Roig, Tutan, Rosenberg, Martin, Stoller & Bellido, PA renewed its 6,525 square foot lease and was represented by JLL’s Matthew Goodman and Jeff Gordon. The firm joins Maurice Jay Kutner & Associates PA , First Choice Reporting and Florida Mediation Group which also renewed their leases at the property.

Blanca Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord. Tere Blanca, President and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, said rents in the building range from $31 per square foot to $34 per square foot.

Since acquiring the building, Brickman has renovated the tower to include new elevators, a conference facility and a fitness center. Upgrades to the building’s façade, lobby, and common areas are also underwayTeree

Auto companies expand into Fort Lauderdale warehouse/office facilities

Two auto companies are expanding their footprint in Fort Lauderdale.

Mennet Cars LLC and Auto Beast LLC just leased about 35,590-square-feet of space at 735 West Broward Boulevard. The landlord, Best Buy Repos, Inc., was represented by Jaime Sturgis of Native Realty. Auto Beast LLC was represented by Native Realty’s Amanda Roy.

A spokesperson said the auto facilities were previously occupied, but one of the tenants retired and the other downsized.

Bridging the Gender Divide in Commercial Real Estate

Women in the field find the deck is largely stacked against them, even as some top firms have been celebrated for their inclusionary policies

By Katherine Kallergis

Barbara Liberatore Black’s rise to managing director of JLL’s South Florida office was not an easy one. Currently the only female executive in her office, Black was also one of the first women in commercial real estate in Miami.

She got her start doing tenant representation for Julien J. Studley Inc., the precursor to Savills Studley, in 1981. “I was the only female tenant adviser for years,” Black said. Before securing that gig, she’d tried to get her foot in the door elsewhere, to no avail.

“If you were a man today, I would hire you,” an interviewer told her, reasoning that as a woman who was going to get married, she wouldn’t have the time for the job. Instead, he offered Black a secretarial position. She turned it down.

Times have clearly changed, but in the wake of the allegations of sexual harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein — and the many similar charges against high-profile men that followed, including starchitect Richard Meier — several, if not all, industries are facing profound questions about company culture and fairness.

However, many women in South Florida’s commercial real estate industry are not seeing a major push to close the gender gap. They say the #MeToo movement hasn’t kicked off the kinds of productive conversations it was intended to inspire. Rather, many male colleagues are “now afraid to say hello” to women, Carol Brooks, co-founder of the brokerage Continental Real Estate Companies (CREC), said. “It’s coming more from a place of their own self-preservation. It’s interesting to see how men are reacting; it’s more fear than compassion or anything,” she said.

The Real Deal examined the male and female representation of agents working for South Florida’s top five commercial brokerages (determined by the dollar volume of sales and leases as reported by the South Florida Business Journal) by analyzing broker license data filed with the state as of Feb. 23. Marcus & Millichap had the lowest percentage of female agents in the tri-county region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, with 18 percent.

Lori Schneider, senior managing director of investments at Marcus & Millichap, said she thinks the firm has fewer women than the others because the company focuses only on investment sales, which takes time and money “until you establish yourself.” Women typically have less of both than men, she said. Leasing, on the other hand, often provides agents with a crucial base salary.

CBRE had the highest percentage of women agents, with 39.8 percent, and JLL closely followed with the second highest representation of women, 38.6 percent, according to TRD’s analysis.

Both CBRE and JLL recently won industry awards for their gender inclusion. CBRE, where three of the firm’s board members are women, received the Diversity & Inclusion Award from the Mortgage Bankers Association in February. In March, JLL was named one of the National Association for Female Executives’ “Top Companies for Executive Women.”

CBRE and JLL’s numbers of female brokers in South Florida are better than national averages. The Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network Benchmark study conducted in 2015 — the most recent data set of its kind that’s available — showed that only 23 percent of leasing and sales brokers in the U.S. were women in 2015. But that number was up from 20 percent five years earlier. Between 2010 and 2015, women went from representing 32 percent of the total commercial real estate workforce to 36 percent nationwide. The subsector with the highest concentration of women was property management, with 51 percent of the asset, property and facilities management workforce female, up from 47 percent in 2010.

And while the CREW research found that women made 23.3 percent less than men in the field in 2015, all of the women contacted for this story had a different experience. Female brokers said that because most positions are commission-based, the wage gap isn’t much of an issue. “The good news about that is a woman who is driven can be equal or better [than a man], and she will get paid,” Black said. “I think this is one of the few careers where women get equal pay.”

The achievement gap

Although there’s been progress in overall male-to-female ratios, the gender gap is still quite vast when it comes to women in leadership positions. CREW’s 2015 study found that only 9 percent of the women who were surveyed held
executive roles, compared to 17 percent of the men who participated in the study.

The industry is also facing an aspirational gap between men and women. Forty percent of men surveyed by CREW said they wanted C-suite positions compared to only 28 percent of women. And once men had between six and 10 years of experience, they rose through the ranks at a faster pace than women, the report found.

“Men are much more vocal than women. When you don’t speak up and you don’t ask for the job, you don’t get it,” said Sara Hernandez, president of CREW-Miami.

Women developers are also lacking in the industry because the field requires a track record and capital, said Avra Jain, a commercial developer in Miami’s MiMo, Little Haiti, Miami River and Overtown neighborhoods.

“When I first came down to Miami [17 years ago] and I walked into a meeting to buy a piece of property, the broker kept talking to the man next to me,” Jain said.

The perils of after-hour events

“‘Welcome to the company. I Googled you hoping to find some bikini shots online,’” Pauldine France, vice president of strategic investments at FIP Commercial, recalled a man saying on her first day at a new job. “I once had a COO I ran into at a party who was trying to get me drunk to take me home. His wife was at the same party,” she added.

Most women in the industry who were contacted for this story agreed that there’s been some progress in hiring more women, but the presence of some bad actors remains a big issue.
France got her start in 2003 as a brand ambassador for Tony Cho when he launched Metro 1 Properties. She was later a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley, then worked for Shawmut Design and Construction in New York, Thor Equities in Miami and, more recently, spent a year working for RKF, also in Miami.

France is, as she describes herself, a “six-foot-tall black chick with green eyes.” She’s faced more than her share of unwanted attention, she told TRD. “I’m used to people looking at me. In commercial real estate, I am a unicorn of a unicorn,” she said. “I’ve had inappropriate, ‘let me take you home’ comments.”

The necessity of after-hours networking doesn’t help things. Going to nightclubs, strip clubs and bars is still a way to get deals done in Miami, sources said. There’s also still a lot of golfing.

“Half of these guys just want to party, and the business facilitates partying” said Mika Mattingly,
executive vice president of Colliers International South Florida.

Some women push themselves to head to the golf course or boozy networking events even when it’s uncomfortable. CBRE’s Carol Ellis-Cutler, first vice president of advisory and tenant services in Miami, attended a conference earlier this year where she was one of a handful of women out of a crowd of 800. She later attended the golfing event, where she was the only woman — alongside 32 men.

However, Ellis-Cutler and Arden Karson, senior managing director of CBRE South Florida, both said they also use their gender to their advantage. “Being the only woman at the table, they love that,” Karson said, referencing her male colleagues. She squeezed her way into a dinner during a CRE Finance Council event because she wanted to do business with the group.

“I was the only woman out of 20 people, and they all wanted to sit with me,” Karson said, noting that the extra attention she received was not inappropriate. The men, she said, just wanted to speak to a woman because it was “a refreshing change.”

Men can be more inclined to share information with women, some female brokers said. But that too can have its downside. There’s a fine line between being “approachable and nice” and being “firm,” France said. “You have to deliver this coolness while still keeping that meter stick in front of them,” she said. “Nine out of 10 times, ‘super cool’ can become ‘I can make comments about your new push-up bra.’”

Mentoring the next generation

When considering ways to resolve some of these murky issues, many women said that mentoring a new generation of female brokers is the most important work that needs to be done. And South Florida’s a good place for that: A number of women in leadership roles in commercial real estate own their own companies or work for women who do.

Brooks, of CREC, got her start working in the corporate real estate lending department at Southeast Bank and moved on to the Continental Companies, where she was director of the commercial office leasing department. In the
late ‘80s, she considered working at other brokerages and said, “Screw that, I’ll start my own company.”

At that company, a boutique commercial firm she co-founded with Warren Weiser, 51 percent of its 120 employees are female. Two of its six partners are women, and half of its department heads are women. More than 60 percent of CREC’s property managers are women, and 26 percent of the company’s brokers are women. “There are just such high barriers to entry otherwise, so we’ve created our own system,” Brooks said.

Her approach to nurturing female talent development has paid off in the eyes of Sabrina Stimming. Brooks mentored Stimming, who started as an executive assistant and was promoted to marketing assistant, then marketing director. An opening appeared in retail leasing, and now Stimming is director of retail leasing and a partner at CREC. She believes that had she started her career at a traditional brokerage like a CBRE, “it’s probably not likely I would be a head of a department there.”

“If you look around at other firms in our industry, the only women you see in any sort of leadership positions are women who form their own companies,” Stimming added.

Without a mentor, Collier’s Mattingly developed her own strategy for success that many women in the industry adopt: Be the best at the job. She’d pick a neighborhood or area and become an expert on it. “I picked Sunset Harbour, which I liked at the time, and I farmed the fuck out of it,” she said.

From Metro 1, where Mattingly started in 2006 as a commercial associate, she went to Sterling Equity Commercial, where she’d “transact all day off-market, but no one would trust me with big listings.” She eventually represented Moishe Mana in nearly all of his acquisitions in downtown Miami’s Flagler District, which to date has totaled $267 million on 1 million square feet of building space and eight acres of land.

In 2016, Mattingly joined Colliers and is building her team out of an office in downtown Miami. Although it’s not her own company, it’s clear that she’s running her own operation out of the ground-floor retail space on Flagler Street. She said she’s teaching her team to become neighborhood experts, as she did, by learning every property and zoning before they start selling.

Tere Blanca, founder, chairman and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, also wants to nurture female talent. She left Cushman & Wakefield to start her own firm in 2008 and is responsible for mentoring everyone in the 22-person office, including a few female agents. In her view, the lack of women in the field may stem from them just not knowing about it. “I don’t think a lot of young women understand the opportunities that exist in the industry,” she said.

Ellis-Cutler and some of her colleagues at CREW-Miami introduced themselves to a group of high school girls by telling them, “We don’t sell single-family homes. We can sell the entire multifamily building.”

CBRE created its Women’s Network in 2000; it now has 3,500 members nationwide and hosts quarterly events. The gender gap at CBRE and other major commercial brokerage persists, but Karson acknowledged that the firm’s numbers are going up.

Forging ahead

While women in commercial real estate today see some struggles and disparities, JLL’s Black said the industry has grown to include more women since she got her start in the early ‘80s. “The one thing I’ve noticed is that
women feel more empowered to say to their peers or their managers, ‘Hey, that was an off-color joke’ or ‘I didn’t really like the way you said that about me.’ Women are using their voice now to explain that it’s not right,” she said.

However, Black sees two areas where female representation is lacking: tenant advisory and capital markets, both of which are especially profitable sectors of the business. “That’s predominantly still occupied by men, but in time that will change,” she said.

Jain is also optimistic about closing the gender gap in development.

“We’re starting to see more women take on those roles within their families and more women who want to be developers,” Jain said.

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 GlobeSt.com. “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 GlobeSt.com. “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.”

One global investor is saying Miami is starting to shake off its seedy image. Get all the details.

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.