Brickell’s Sabadell Financial Center Sells for Reported $250M to KKR, Parkway Properties

This is the latest Miami office tower to trade for a top-dollar price.

By Lidia Dinkova

A New York-based global investment firm and an office real estate owner and operator have bought the Sabadell Financial Center office tower in Miami for a reported $250 million.
The partnership between KKR, the investment firm, and Parkway Properties Inc., the office investor, bought the 30-story building at 1111 Brickell Ave. from PGIM Real Estate. The sale price wasn’t disclosed, but The Real Deal reported the price as $250 million.

The Sabadell Financial Center, also referred to as 1111 Brickell, is a 522,892-square-foot office tower on about 1.78 acres on the southeast corner of Brickell Avenue and Southeast 11th Street adjacent to the JW Marriott Hotel.

KKR, founded by Henry Kravis, Jerome Kohlberg and George Roberts in 1976, doesn’t appear to have other significant South Florida real estate assets. The global investment firm with $148 billion in assets under management has widespread holdings and has invested in Plantation-based Magic Leap Inc., according to its website.

For its part, Parkway Properties owns the Courvoisier Centre, which is a two-building office complex at 501 and 601 Brickell Key Drive on Brickell Key. The complex includes a parking garage.

KKR and Parkway didn’t provide insight on their joint purchase.

A KKR media representative said the company was unable to arrange an interview, and Parkway representatives didn’t return requests for comment.

This much is known: The two plan to put in $10 million into renovations and new facilities, like a new gym and conference center, according to John Guitar, managing director and vice chairman of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the exclusive leasing agent for the office tower.

The new owners will renovate the common areas including the lobby, entrance, corridors, restrooms and the 10th floor amenity deck, according to a CBRE Inc. news release.

A CBRE capital markets team facilitated the sale, and a CBRE debt and structured finance team arranged financing from New York-based Square Mile Capital Management.

PGIM Real Estate bought the property through its affiliate, PR 1111 Brickell LLC, for more than $184 million from 1111 Brickell Office LLC in 2013, according to the Miami-Dade County property appraiser’s office. That translated to a 36 percent gain in five years.

The latest sale, made public late last week, breaks down to $478.11 per square foot.

The property is 89 percent occupied with some of the tenants being the Hunton Andrews Kurth and the Kelley Kronenberg law firms, Louisiana-based Iberiabank and Guggenheim Partners Latin America Inc.

“The new owners have long history of showcasing their strength of ownership and ability to bring top-tier hospitality to their buildings and truly reposition them into iconic projects,” Blanca Commercial’s Guitar said in part in an emailed statement.

The deal reflects a healthy office market in Miami’s urban core with several notable towers trading for top-dollar prices in recent years.

The SunTrust International Center at 1 SE Third Ave. was sold for $127 million May 11. Real estate finance and investment management firm PCCP LLC bought the tower from Boca Raton-based real estate investment firm Crocker Partners LLC.

The Southeast Financial Center, the iconic 55-story office tower at 200 S. Biscayne Blvd., sold for $516 million in December 2016. A company tied to the family office of Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega, founder of the Zara apparel and accessories chain, made the purchase from financial giant JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In 2017, Rockpoint Group LLC bought 1221 Brickell, the 27-story office tower at 1221 Brickell Ave., for $155 million.

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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Blanca Commercial plans statewide expansion after hiring Guitar from All Aboard Florida

By Brian Bandell
October 31, 2017

John Guitar, Blanca Commercial Real Estate

Miami-based Blanca Commercial Real Estate announced plans for a statewide expansion after hiring John Guitar from the developer of All Aboard Florida.

Guitar was named managing director and vice chairman of Blanca CRE. He was previously senior VP of business development for Florida East Coast Industries, where he led the development and leasing of its All Aboard Florida projects that are being built near the Brightline transit stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Blanca CRE is the leasing broker for All Aboard Florida’s two new office buildings at MiamiCentral and worked closely with Guitar on that project.

“We are thrilled to welcome a respected professional of John’s caliber to lead our firm’s next phase of growth continuing to focus on delivering exceptional client service and top industry insight,” said CEO Tere Blanca, who founded Blaca CRE in 2009. “Beyond his extensive knowledge and experience, John’s collaborative nature, enthusiasm, passion and commitment to excellence align perfectly with our culture. He will apply his expertise to lead our growth strategy and bring tremendous value to our clients and our entire team.”

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. The company has focused on Miami-Dade and Broward counties, but it now plans to open offices and hire brokers in other Florida markets.

“The Blanca Commercial Real Estate platform is unique and special,” Guitar said in a statement. “I am excited by the opportunity to work with its stellar team of passionate real estate professionals who share an unwavering commitment to client service and apply my knowledge, skills and talents to further drive its growth and expansion as the region’s leading independent commercial real estate brokerage firm.”

Reached by the Business Journal, Guitar said it was time for a change after 14 years with FECI and he was impressed by the way Blanca Commercial managed client relationships with great dedication. He has experience working and hiring real estate professionals throughout the state.

Blanca CRE won’t grow for growth’s sake, Guitar said. When existing clients want the company to help it in other Florida markets, the brokerage will work to locate there and meet their needs, he said. It won’t open an office in a new Florida market without a client there first.

“We’ve had a trajectory of growing slowly in how we hire our talent,” Blanca said. “Talent needs to completely align with the culture of our company.”

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