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CORAL GABLES, FL-BankUnited, a Florida bank based Downtown, is more than doubling the size of its headquarters in a long-term lease and has secured building-top signage rights on the 208,000-sf office building.

The bank had been a tenant in the building, occupying 18,767 sf of space. However, it needed more space and signed a 10-year lease for 44,000 sf, making it the largest tenant in the building, located at 255 Alhambra Circle.

“The bank is growing,” says Richard Cooper, a broker involved in the lease. “The bank is very successful and is growing quite rapidly.” In addition, Cooper says, BankUnited is moving some operations staff members from its Miami Lakes location to the Downtown space.

The bank will occupy the entire top two floors, in addition to current branch space on the ground floor and the executive offices on the mezzanine, just above the lobby. The direct weighted average class A office rental rate for the Coral Gables submarket, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s second-quarter report, was $30.12 per sf.

“We secured attractive rental rates and a significant improvement allowance,” according to Cooper. “We focused on and crafted a transaction that was a win-win situation for both parties, rather than solely focusing on market conditions.”

The bank signage rights will take effect immediately, as soon as the bank can make arrangements to get it accomplished, says Cooper. In addition, the bank gained rights to drive-thru lanes and a new ATM. The drive-thru lanes may come later down the road, he adds.

The penthouse and the floor below it–which are new spaces to the bank–will be gutted and rebuilt, Cooper says. In addition, the ground level and mezzanine will undergo improvements. The bank plans to move into the two new floors by February.

This is not the first attempt at this deal. There was a previous offer on the table, but “that offer was significantly improved upon,” based on the bank taking more space and for a long term, Cooper adds.

The lease expansion brings the building from 78.7% leased to 90.8% leased. The building is owned by Blumberg/Alhambra Partners. American Ventures Realty Corp. leases and manages the building and is also a tenant. Grubb & Ellis senior vice presidents Russell Bornstein and Cooper represented BankUnited in the transaction.

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