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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

[IMGCAP(1)]MIAMI-Banco Itaú Europa International has recently acquired the Miami-based edge arms of BankBoston and ABN Amro, which had a 35,000-sf lease in place at the Wachovia Financial Center to expire in 2012. Banco Itaú, which is affiliated with Banco Itaú SA, Brazil’s second-largest non-government commercial bank, sought to consolidate its operations into one office and has renewed and extended the lease at 200 South Biscayne Blvd. to 38,143 sf in a ten-year deal valued at approximately $25 million.

“Since their lease was expiring in 2012 they had the opportunity of looking at the new buildings that are under construction in Miami which are adding a significant amount of space, but have decided to stay at Wachovia Financial Center and renovate their premises there,” says Don Cartwright, director of leasing at Cushman & Wakefield who represented the landlord in the deal. “Having the assurance of a quality tenant base and the proven track record of the management and operations of the building were important considerations for the company to extend their lease.”

[IMGCAP(2)]Tenants at the 1.1-million-sf class A building, constructed in 1984, include international law firms, investment banks and major accounting firms. The building is currently 98% leased with rental rates ranging from $42 to $55, says Cartwright.

Banco Itaú has already announced that San Francisco-based Gensler Architecture and Design will renovate the space, which will serve as the bank’s primary US facility serving high-net-worth individuals. Construction should begin in about 90 days, says Cartwright.

“As soon as our Miami acquisitions were finalized, we set out to find the perfect office space—something that would enable us to both expand while taking full advantage of Miami’s international business environment,” said Marco Sa, chief administrative officer of Banco Itaú, in a release. “We considered new buildings currently under construction, but in the end we determined that locking up move-in ready space was paramount.”

The company’s decision to locate in Miami is indicative of the global business environment the city offers to international countries servicing Latin America and Europe that are doing business in the US, says Cartwright. “When you look at the business growth in Miami, attracting large tenants that are internationally based, it is a very important indicator of the long term string for the market,” he adds.

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