MIAMI-A 30,000-sf office building with a historic past was sold to a group of European investors for $4.25 million in a sale-leaseback transaction. The 1971 building, located at 1125 NE 125th St., was designed by architect Carson Bennett Wright to house the headquarters of Miami millionaire Tom Ireland’s Mortgage Corp. of America.

The building’s cantilevered facade was built using 167 tons of Tennessee River boulders and 15,000 board feet of imported teak walls. The stone-and-wood theme was also preserved in the interiors, and in most office suites the wood finishes are intact.

The seller of the property was Ted Kretzschmar, the president of 50 State Security Service Inc., which is headquartered in the building. Under the sale-leaseback agreement, the company will remain in the building occupying half the space. Jeff Cohen and Luigi Mercurio, of locally based Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell, represented the buyers. Matt Geimer and Patrick O’Hare, of Florida Corporate Realty, represented the seller.

Mercurio tells that all but 1,500 sf of the building is occupied. The property sits on two acres and, in addition, to its unique architecture, the buyer was attracted to the development potential on the site. “There’s enough land to build another structure that’s twice the size of the existing building,” he says.

Mercurio adds that the buyer plans to renovate the existing building and is in discussions with architects regarding the development of another structure. While its architecture will not mimic that of the existing building, the buyer is considering ways to complement it.

Miami’s office market is one of the strongest in the nation. Its 7.4% vacancy rate is the second lowest after New York City and its $28.17 per sf average rental rate is higher than the $23.80 national average. “Even if the condo bubble will prove penalizing for some speculators, there is no doubt that whatever is being built will be filled, and any increase in population inevitably brings higher demand for office space,” Cohen says.

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