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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

MIAMI-UBS Financial Services has agreed to renew its lease of 34,500 square feet in Bank of America Tower at International Plaza. The five-year deal is valued at $7.5 million and keeps the the 47-story building’s current occupancy at 92%.

The renewal is the largest so far this year in the Downtown Miami office market, according to Tony Puente, senior vice president of Fairchild Partners who represented landlord Wealth Capital Management Inc. in the transaction. UBS was represented by Colleen Newcomer, president of CBN Commercial Real Estate Services.

“UBS is sending a clear signal that it is confident in its future as a long-term player in Downtown Miami and in the city’s prominence as an international business hub,” Puente says. He adds that the firm considered relocating but realized its current location was important from both operational and marketing standpoints.

UBS has been a tenant at Bank of America Tower since 1994. Several other tenants that have been in the 600,000-square-foot class A building for at least 12 years have also lease renewals totaling more than 30,000 square feet over the past four months, including Vector Group, McKinsey & Co., West Publishing Corp., Leaf & Associates and the Peacock Foundation.

“In today’s volatile economic climate, tenants are seeking to minimize risk and streamline costs wherever possible,” says Vince Croce, general manager of Wealth Capital. “As a result, we proactively address our tenants’ occupancy needs and business objectives with the goal of retaining tenants for the long term.”

Downtown Miami’s office vacancy rate is 11% through this year’s first quarter, with an availability rate of 18%, according to CB Richard Ellis. Average asking rents are nearly $32 per square foot.

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