Delmonte buys Sevilla building for new HQ tower
By Marilyn Bowden
Delmonte Fresh Produce Division has purchased the 12-story, 56,200-square-foot Sevilla Center in Coral Gables, for $10.5 million to use as its headquarters.
The seller was Four Townes USA, a Venezuelan developer represented by Stuart Hoffman of the law firm Holland & Knight.
Steve Magenheimer of the Magenheimer Co., who closed the deal with Tom Dixon of Thomas J. Dixon Associates, said the division is now in 38,000 square feet at Douglas Entrance.
The building, at 241 Sevilla Ave., was designed as a headquarters for the Finser Corp. in the mid-1980s, Mr. Magenheimer said.
When Finser decided against building it, Four Townes bought the plans. They built and got a certificate of occupancy in 1987, when they began leasing it as a multi-tenant building.
In 1991 Pepsi-Cola's franchise for Latin America became its main tenant.
Mr. Magenheimer said he and Mr. Dixon first marketed the building to investors but "missed the real estate investment trust frenzy by a few weeks.
"We offered it at auction and had a $10 million offer, but the owner wanted $10.5 million."
Mr. Dixon said when Morgan Stanley Dean Witter moved out brokers decided to market to users instead.
"Empty space in a building is a positive asset to a user," he said, "but a negative to an investor."
Last spring, he said, he and Mr. Dixon sent a CD promoting the 14-year-old Sevilla Center to 250 targeted users. But, Mr. Dixon said, it proved to be a promotional ploy the industry wasn't quite prepared for.
"There was a technical hiatus," he said. "Some people didn't have the technology to view the CD. Others who did didn't try to. Sometimes it never got to the right person in the company in the first place."
The owner had already taken the building off the market by May 2, Mr. Magenheimer said, when he convinced Louie Tenazas, vice president of human resources for the Delmonte division, to take a look at it.
"Delmonte's chair is in Jordan," he said, "but we had a contract a week after the CD went to the CEO.
"They bought at the asking price of $10.5 million with no negotiations."
Delmonte's lease at Douglas Entrance expires May 31, 2002, he said.
Construction can now start on the vacant 11th floor immediately, Mr. Magenheimer said, and on the penthouse in March and August.