(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

CORAL GABLES, FL-Amid a deepening recession and rising vacancies in the real estate market, a new $130-million, Mexican-backed project has been announced for the local office market. The 396 Alhambra project is set to feature 285,000 square feet of class A office space, with 20,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor of an 850-space parking structure. The project is expected to reach full completion by spring 2011.

The entities behind the development company, 396 Alhambra LLC, are CEO Hector Fernandez and Eddie Avila, principal and managing member who is also president of Key Realty Advisors. Backed by Mexican investor Agave Florida Investments LLC, the real estate arm of popular tequila brand Jose Cuervo, the project has been in the making for the past three years since the two-acre site at 396 Alhambra was purchased. Development will begin in February with the refurbishment of an existing 100,000-square-foot office building on the site, followed by the demolition of a parking structure there. Space at the renovated building should be ready for occupancy by spring 2010, says Avila. Ground breaking on a 15-story building will begin once the market improves, according to developers.

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