Chicago firm Hines Interest set to build Coral Gables tower
By Marilyn Bowden
A new office development is being planned for Coral Gables at 2511 Ponce de Leon Blvd., one of several properties considered last spring for Burger King's new headquarters.
Hines Interest Partnership of Chicago has new plans for a mixed-use development, said Vice President Michael Harrison, that "will have a significant office component, with either residential or hotel."
The site -- the largest downtown assemblage in Coral Gables, said city development department head Cathy Swanson, -- covers a city block and a parking garage south of it.
Mr. Harrison said his firm closed on the property last week and is still working through site-planning. Atlanta-based Smallwood Reynolds Stewart Stewart & Associates is project designer.
Part of an existing building, formerly home to Coral Gables Federal Savings & Loan Association, will come down, Mr. Harrison said. The six-story portion will be incorporated into the design.
"We've already made arrangements with the tenants affected," he said.
While no new tenants are signed, Mr. Harrison said, "we have been discussing the project with several prospects."
Early in 2000, when the site seemed likely to capture Burger King, the Gables city commission designated it a "regional activity center," a move that would have allowed the fast-food chain to skip the development review process.
The designation -- and Hines's development plans -- died when Burger King parent Diago Co. instead made a deal at Waterford at Blue Lagoon near the airport.
"We'd like to go ahead as soon as possible," Mr. Harrison said of Hines's new plans," and deliver in fourth quarter 2002.
"It's a great site and we're looking forward to bringing a new project to it."