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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

MIAMI-Just weeks after starting her own commercial real estate brokerage, local veteran Tere Blanca has landed the leasing assignment for 1450 Brickell, a 35-story office tower being built in the city’s central business district. Rilea Group, the building’s developer, granted exclusive rights to Blanca Commercial Real Estate.

Rilea Group, which has three decades of development experience, expects to open 1450 Brickell early next year and is seeking LEED “gold” status for the 586,000-square-foot building. Alan Ojeda, the firm’s CEO, says the project will set the standard for energy efficiency, sustainability, construction quality and wind resistance in the Brickell Financial District.

“This stability takes on added significance in an economic environment in which many tenants are seeking to align their office leasing commitments with their long-term business objectives,” Blanca says. She adds that Rilea Group has secured long-term financing for 1450 Brickell through a diverse group of banks, including Bancaja and Banco Sabadell.

Miami office brokers have expressed some concern about how the Brickell will be able to absorb nearly 1.2 million in new class A space, encompassing 1450 Brickell and the first phase of Brickell Financial Centre, adding to six million square feet of inventory. Brickell’s first-quarter vacancy measured 11.3%, with asking rents just above $37 per square foot, according to CB Richard Ellis.

The local average for office vacancy measures 11.4%, with class A reaching 10% through the first quarter and asking rents falling to just above $30 per square foot, CBRE reports. Yet brokers observe that some office users may want to trade up to newer space and are less nervous about expanding in the current economy, since local unemployment remains below the statewide average at 7.8% through March, based on Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation data.

Blanca, who also serves as chair of the local Beacon Council economic development group, launched her own firm in early April after more than 20 years as an executive with Cushman & Wakefield and Codina Group. She holds the title of president and CEO, while Danet Linares is executive vice president. Both women have 35 years combined experience in commercial real estate, with previous leasing assignments including Wachovia Financial Center, 1111 Brickell Avenue and Bank of America Tower at International Place.

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