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CORAL GABLES, FL-A pediatric group headed by seven doctors has paid $3 million for the two-story, 16,500-sf former LaModerna Poesia Bookstore at 5246-50 SW Eighth St. The new owners will invest up to $500,000 to renovate the building and convert its second floor into loft-style medical and professional offices.

Rodney C. Langer, associate realtor and office specialist at Doral-based Doran Jason Group of Florida, represented the buyer. Locally based Greater Miami Investment represented the seller, Cesar Lopez Trustee.

The bookstore, “a long-time icon of Cuban communications here,” according to Langer, “fell victim to low-price Internet sales and closed in December.” Meanwhile, the pediatric group, which is one of the oldest and largest in Miami-Dade, suffered under a two-year rezoning battle between area residents and the investor that acquired the former Junior Chamber International building at 400 University Dr., where the group had been located for many years. “When that building’s new owner applied for re-zoning,” Langer explains, “the neighborhood contested the change, and the controversy concluded in eliminating permission for its use as a medical facility and did not grandfather the group’s right to stay.

“Prices are high in Coral Gables,” he adds, “so this building solved problems for both the buyer and the seller.” The building, which was designed for the bookstore, has warehouse space on the second floor. In the process of converting that space for medical uses, Langer says, the pediatrics will turn the asset into a class A property.” The group will move-in in January and has hired Langer to lease out 7,500 sf of excess space. The asking rate, he says, is $27 per sf, full service.

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