Boca Raton-based Crocker Partners is buying the Miami Center office high-rise in downtown Miami.
If the deal closes in a few months as planned, Crocker will become the biggest owner of offices in Miami’s commercial business district north of Brickell Avenue. The sale price is undisclosed.
The 34-story Miami Center at 201 S. Biscayne Drive is adjacent to the InterContinental Miami hotel.
Crocker executives have already toured the building and met with some of the top tenants, according to two real estate sources who declined to be identified. That is a step most buyers take after completing the due diligence and putting down nonrefundable “hard money.”
The closing on the 29-year-old tower is rumored to take place around July. Crocker has the funds to seal the deal sooner, but the seller set the closing date. The delay could be caused by LaSalle Bank N.A., as trustee, the lender who owns the debt on the building. LaSalle may need to approve the buyer for a loan assumption and that takes time, a real estate broker said.
The building’s former owner, Crescent Miami Center, obtained a $170 million CMBS loan in 2007 and later assigned it to the current owner, Sumitomo Corp. of America. Back in 2007, lenders were making CMBS loans to mature in five, seven and 10 years. It is not clear whether the Miami Center loan has a five-year maturity term. If so, it would need to be paid off or refinanced this year.
Tokyo-based Sumitomo, which owns the property under the name of SCOA Miami Center, paid about $260 million, or about $332 per square foot, for the property in late 2008, when the credit markets collapsed.
Sumitomo put the tower on the market earlier this year and hired Miami broker John Bell of Rockwood Real Estate Advisors to find a buyer. At that time, Sumitomo wanted to retain a 10 percent ownership interest and “restructure the capital stack” by creating a joint venture with another investor, Bell told the Daily Business Review in January.
It is not clear whether Crocker is buying the entire interest in the property or a 90 percent ownership stake.
If the deal closes, it will be the first sale involving a top-tier office property in Miami’s business district since the late 2010 sale of the 600,959-square-foot Miami Tower for $105.5 million.
Crocker entered the Miami office market in August after paying about $82 million for the 420,857-square-foot SunTrust International Center in downtown Miami. By acquiring the 782,210-square-foot Miami Center, Crocker would control 1.2 million square feet of office space downtown.
Miami Center is more than 80 percent leased and major tenants include Citibank, which occupies more than 157,000 square feet; the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon, which leases about 86,000 square feet; and the law firm Shutts & Bowen, which occupies more than 68,000 square feet.
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