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TALLAHASSEE, FL-UrbanAmerica LP of New York is closing out the office leasing market year in Florida at the top of the heap. The six-year-old firm has signed the State of Florida to the largest lease closed this year–a 496,500-sf contract for 15 years at a total rent of $110 million, or about $14.71 per sf, at Northwood Centre.

The deal brings the building to 100% occupancy, says Robert Stark, UrbanAmerica vice president of asset management. The company plans to invest $4 million in immediate improvements to the structure and an additional $2 million later. “The state’s long-term, increased presence at the property is a win-win for landlord and tenant,” says Stark.

He adds: “This partnership with the state enables us to further upgrade Northwood Centre, yielding a better work environment for employees who provide essential services to the residents of Florida.”

“This long-term [lease] commitment speaks directly to our mission of realizing fiscal and social returns for our stockholders,” says Richmond McCoy, president and CEO of UrbanAmerica.

Lease negotiations began with an open invitation by the state which was represented by the Staubach Co. McCoy says UrbanAmerica is the largest landlord to the state which occupies space in the company’s properties in Fort Myers, Miami, Naples, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee. Northwood Centre is UrbanAmerica’s largest property.

Founded in 1998 to invest specifically in inner city commercial real estate, UrbanAmerica’s portfolio comprises 26 properties totaling 3.6 million sf at an original cost of $320 million.

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