Kraft signs five-year lease in Coral Gables
By Samantha Joseph
Kraft Foods Latin America on Tuesday signed a five-year lease for nearly 40,000 square feet at 355 Alhambra Circle in Coral Gables to house its Latin American, Caribbean and exports headquarters.
Aurora Gonzalez, director of corporate affairs for Kraft Foods Latin America, said the company would relocate 130 employees to the Gables by late June. About 47 of them will come from Rye Brook, NY, where the company is now based, she said.
Kraft will occupy two floors of a 16-story building owned by 355 Alhambra Plaza Ltd., a Codina Group holding. Codina Realty Services represented the landlord.
The move would expand Kraft's presence in Coral Gables, where it bases its Caribbean distribution hub at One Alhambra Plaza, according to the company's Web site.
"They're bringing some great jobs, and of course our goal is to import jobs," said Coral Gables business-development administrator Steve Albee.
The deal has been in the works since July, he said.
Parent Kraft Foods Inc. reported $30 billion in revenue last year. It operates in 150 countries and owns Maxwell House, Kool-Aid, Oscar Mayer, Shake 'n Bake, Jell-O and Nabisco among its 35 brands.
The Miami expansion is part of a global restructuring announced Jan. 8 by parent company CEO Roger Deromedi.
"While Kraft's fourth-quarter results were in line with our expectations, we clearly are not satisfied with our performance in the quarter or for the full year," Mr. Deromedi said in a January statement announcing a 7.5% drop in the parent company's earnings last year from 2002.
Its operations in Miami-Dade would represent a $2.1 million investment in the county and create 97 jobs that pay on average $76,000 per year, according to the Beacon Council, the county's economic development group.