(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

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MIAMI-Construction has begun on Highland Park Center, a126,000-sf class A office building in Miami's medical district.Locally based developer Gutierrez Group LLC expects to complete theproject before winter 2009. The space is designed to LEED Silverstandards and will cater to the needs of healthcare professionals,according to Gutierrez Group. The value of the project has not beendisclosed.

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The 11-story building, located at 1001 Sunnybrook Road, willinclude four stories of office space and six floors of parking,says Jeb Bush Jr., commercial sales and leasing agent for CoralGables-based Fairchild Partners, which will handle leasing forHighland Park. No leases have been signed yet, but there isinterest, he says. Rental rates at the building average $32 per sftriple net.

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"Even with the slowdown in the economy, there has been oneindustry that's continued to grow and show opportunity—the medicalindustry," says Bush. "In Miami, the vacancy rate in the medicaloffice sector has been solid, in the single-digit vacancy rates,around Jackson Memorial Hospital especially."

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Highland Park Center is breaking ground in proximity to thathospital and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine,UM/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Bascom Palmer EyeInstitute, the Miami VA Hospital and the University of MiamiHospital. "Before our eyes, Miami is becoming a global hub for themedical and life sciences, and we look forward to playing a role inthe City's rapid growth in this sector," Armando Gutierrez, Jr.,president of Gutierrez Group, stated in a release.

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