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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

DORAL, FL-Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida has renewed its 103,476-square-foot lease in Westside Plaza, a local office park. The company will occupy its space in the 363,328-square-foot Westside Plaza I building through 2014.

The renewal represents one of the largest office lease transactions so far this year in Miami-Dade County. Coral Gables-based Flagler Real Estate Services represented Westside Plaza’s landlord, Prudential Insurance Co. of America, in lease negotiations.

“With the current abundance of available office space, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s decision to renew highlights the high-quality offerings at Westside Plaza,” says George Pino, vice president with Flagler who worked with senior associate Juan Ruiz on the deal. Key factors in the renewal included the property’s strong ownership, flexible terms and location within the Doral/Miami Airport West submarket, Pino says.

Westside Plaza I features controlled, secure master-planned office space in a 22-acre setting. Flagler has managed the building’s marketing and leasing since it opened in 1996.

Miami’s Airport West submarket has a vacancy rate of 11.7% through the first quarter, with an availability rate of 15.5%, according to CB Richard Ellis. The average asking lease rate is just above $25 per square foot.

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