NY-based Rockefeller Group Business Centers signs in Coral Gables at Ponce de Leon Towers
By Risa Polansky
New York-based Rockefeller Group Business Centers is to establish its first Eastern Seaboard location outside of the Big Apple in the planned Ponce de Leon Towers in Coral Gables.
It's the luxury office project's first signed tenant.
The business center is to take a full floor in the 215,000-square-foot Allen Morris Company building, set to open at 2801 Ponce de Leon Blvd. first quarter 2011 as part of the seven-acre Old Spanish Village.
The project itself attracted the company, said Rockefeller Group Business Centers Vice President Howard J. Watler, "because of its quality, because of its uniqueness, because of its cornerstone in the redevelopment of a very affluent and prestigious area, and that fact that it will attract businesses of greater reach. It's not just a local attraction. That building — it's going to have an international appeal."
Ponce de Leon Towers, he said, is to be "not unlike Rockefeller Center, on a smaller, regional version."
Rockefeller Group Development Corporation, the business center group's sister company and developer of New York City's Rockefeller Center, has offices in Miami.
Rockefeller Group Business Centers offers fully staffed and furnished executive suites and offices in locations such as New York, California and Japan.
Clients include Time, Inc., Sirius Satellite Radio, Home and Garden Television - Food Network, and Madison Square Garden, among others.
Having business centers here is a boon to the business landscape, said Douglas G. Campbell, president of Miami-based Campbell Real Estate Advisory Group.
"The business center concept is extremely valuable to the overall business community," he said. "They provide office space to three types of tenants, the entrepreneur, incubator space for businesses just getting off of the ground, and regional and temporary quarters for national firms."
He called the Rockefeller brand "well-known, and quite distinguished."
However, the expenses of being in a business center in a luxury building such as Ponce de Leon towers may deter entrepreneurs and upstart businesses, he said.
But Mr. Watler said the center here could draw international or regional offices and start-up companies who may otherwise not have considered coming.
The flexibility in terms of lease and space that the business center offers serves as an enticement.
Having a business center here "is a way to attract a diversity of scale," he said. "A business center brings a diversity of people to an area where perhaps it may be out of reach due to the fact there are usually space commitments. This allows access to premium-quality real estate in superb business address locations for the smaller, quality user."
It's an ideal tenant for the luxury office project, said Thad Adams, senior advisor with developer The Allen Morris Company.
"Our paradigms are very similar. We both serve the upper niche of our markets," he said. "They serve some of the largest multi-nationals…the advantage of them is they provide that upper niche of services for the multi-national corporations."
The Rockefeller Group's presence should open doors for the Ponce de Leon Towers project, Mr. Adams said.
"We think it will be a good incubator for tenants in our building."
Real estate adviser Mr. Campbell questioned whether others will be willing to spend to be there.
"Our market is doubting that there are tenants who are ready to pay a super premium price for space that whose decadence borders on being a bit over the edge," he said.
Mr. Adams said Allen Morris Company development Alhambra Towers, another luxury office building, serves as a testament that businesses are willing to pay for upscale amenities.
"Like Alhambra Towers, which is 100% leased, Ponce de Leon Towers offers the finest office building in the market to those companies that want to reflect a superior position in their industry," he said. "There is alwaysdemand from successful businesses to be in the premier office building in the region. Alhambra Towers is testimony to that fact."
Alhambra Towers tenants used the "world class" status of the building to market their companies, Mr. Adams said."Nothing says more about who you are than where you are."
Rents sit at $34 to $42 on a triple net basis, he said, and more tenants are on the way for Ponce de Leon Towers.
"We are in negotiations at this time with several other prospective tenants and feel very good about the continued success in the lease up," he said. "We really think this will set the table for us to move forward on other deals and we look forward to announcing them in the near future."
Construction on Ponce de Leon Towers is to begin early next year.