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MIAMI-Equity Office Properties Trust has strengthened its South Florida holdings with two acquisitions here totaling almost $250 million. The Chicago-based trust acquired a 50% interest in Wachovia Financial Center for $194 million and a 50% interest in 1221 Brickell Ave. for approximately $55.8 million.

“Our investment strategy is to look in markets first, then assets,” Shobi Khan, senior vice president, investments, tells GlobeSt.com. “We like the Miami market. There is strong demand and high barriers to entry.” Khan declined to disclose the cap rates, but explains that on a per sf basis, both deals are below replacement cost.

Wachovia Financial Center is a 55-story, 1.1-million-sf trophy office asset on a 2.4-acre parcel in the CBD. The property is 94% leased, has unobstructed views over Bayfront Park and features an open-air plaza with retail shops and restaurants. Macquarie Office Trust is the joint venture on the property. WestWind Capital Partners, on behalf of a KanAm closed-end fund, sold the 50% to EOP.

The 388,492-sf 1221 Brickell Ave. is a class A, 26-story office asset in the Brickell submarket. The property is 64.7% leased and situated on a two-acre parcel on the southeast corner of Brickell Avenue and Coral Way. The building was acquired in a joint venture with Prupim, a UK real estate investment manager. Prupim was advised by LaSalle Investment Management, Inc. and the seller was Holliday Fenoglio Fowler.

“We think the Wachovia property is the best asset in Miami,” Khan explains. “And the Brickell submarket is probably the top submarket in Miami.” He adds that EOP likes the vacancy rate and opportunities with 1221 Brickell.

EOP started its push into South Florida earlier this year with the acquisition of 1200 Corporate Place in Boca Raton. The trust paid New York City-based Broadway Partners $29.5 million for the 128,959-sf property, as GlobeSt.com previously reported.

“We are actively looking in South Florida,” Khan tells GlobeSt.com, adding EOP is concentrating on Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. There are currently no other deals in pipeline; however, Khan explains “we are pretty disciplined, value investors. We are not just buying for buying’s sake.”

In addition to its three South Florida holdings, EOP also owns SunTrust Center in Orlando. The 30-story office tower is comprised of 640,385 sf.

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