Donald Cartwright

MIAMI—Despite 2 million square feet of new product coming online in the Downtown Miami/Brickell market since 2010, Southeast Financial Center is still keeping big name tenants to its tower. Jones Lang LaSalle, the exclusive leasing firm for the building, recently inked 21,482 square feet of Downtown Miami office space in the iconic tower. That gives Southeast Financial Center, which is the tallest in Florida and spans 1.225 million square feet, the most square footage under lease of any building in the state.

JLL senior vice president Donald Cartwright tells renewals and expansions are fueling the market recovery—with legal, financial and auxiliary business lines leading the way. He expects continued positive momentum and absorption in 2013.

“The market is continuing to slowly recover from the effects of the economic downturn that started in late 2008 and the severe and unnecessary over building of office space in Miami’s CBD that coincided with the downturn and subsequent loss of jobs,” Cartwright says. “Rental rates and overall occupancies have increased since the bottom of the market in 2009 but still are well below the peak of early 2008.”

But, again, tenants are expanding and renewing. The Consulate General of Canada in Miami signed a long-term lease renewal for 13,147 square feet at the tower. The Canadian Consulate initially occupied space at Southeast Financial Center in 1998. Meanwhile, Latin American Nautilus signed a long-term lease renewal for 8,335 square feet, solidifying one of its five global locations as Miami.

“The overall business sentiment in Downtown Miami seems to be very optimistic however due to the growing residential population and new retail development,” Cartwright says. “This should encourage new businesses to move to Miami and take advantage of its world class live, work, play environment.”