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MIAMI-FirstBank Florida has signed a 10-year lease for 26,105 sf at 701 Waterford. It plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to the bigger site in January.

CB Richard Ellis senior associate Susan Thomas represented the tenant in the transaction. Steven Smith, of the Hogan Group, represented the landlord, TIAA-CREF. The company’s currently occupies approximately 9,000 sf at 701 Brickell. FirstBank will occupy the eighth floor at 701 Waterford, a 247,000-sf class A office building located within the Waterford at Blue Lagoon park. The property is one of the tallest and largest in the airport area and features amenities, such as banking, conference facilities, a day care center, fitness center and on-site restaurant.

“In many instances, occupancy-related expenses rank just behind labor as the second-highest fixed cost of running a business,” Thomas says. “Therefore, we were very thorough in exploring different scenarios for FirstBank Florida. Through creative problem solving and transaction structuring, as well as sophisticated analytical models, we were able to find the optimal solution to their real estate requirements.”

The lease is the latest example of a tenant opting for space in the busy Airport West-Dade submarket. Over the past two years, vacancies have decreased from 17% to 10.8%. Average asking rents have almost increased by $3 per sf. “With demand for space increasingly outpacing supply it is essential for tenants to reexamine their real estate requirements,” Thomas says. “By helping our clients build internal consensus regarding their real estate strategy at an early stage, we are able to maximize the tenants’ leverage and credibility.”

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