AON Group signs largest Brickell office lease deal of year
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
AON Group, a leading risk management and insurance firm, has signed a 38,000-square-foot lease renewal at 32-story Brickell Bay Office Tower, making this the largest lease inked in the Brickell office market this year.
The insurance giant has called the building home for 13 years and, after touring the market, decided to continue to occupy the entire 10th and 11th floors, said Christian Driussi, the tower's vice president.
"I believe for us the location, with unobstructed waterfront views, and a solid ownership compared to other buildings played a key role," Mr. Driussi said. "Some other buildings were offering signage rights, but those are buildings that don't enjoy a high occupancy."
The management and insurance tenant retained signage rights atop the office tower at 1001 Brickell Bay Drive.
In this transaction, Chris Coots, senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis, advised AON Group and Mr. Driussi represented the building's ownership.
With the AON deal, the office tower boasts an occupancy of 91%.
AON's lease was to expire about a year from now, but the landlord began working early to get its anchor tenant to renew.
Brickell Bay Office Tower took a hit at the beginning of the year with the exit of HIG Capital that left the landlord with 36,000 square feet to fill. HIG Capital found a new home at new tower 1450 Brickell.
Despite this loss, the building intensified its leasing efforts, securing 135,000 square feet of new leases and renewals in the past year.
"HIG left the building earlier in the year," Mr. Driussi said, "but we are already back to the occupancy rate we had at the time they left."
The tenant roster at the 280,500-square-foot office tower includes the Consulate General of Britain, Vector Global Wealth Management Group, Right Space Management, Synte, Hiscox, Trans-American Equity Partners, Lustrous Metal Coating, Bancard Financial Services, 1st United Bank, The Hackett Group, Newmark Southern Region, law firm Fuerst Ittleman, Taplin, Canida & Habacht, and Conitex Sonoco.
Other tenants at the tower are Mallah, Furman & Co., Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra and law firm Cantor & Webb.
To maintain its appeal, the tower renovated its elevator corridors and hallways last year. It also plans to upgrade the elevator system this year, investments that are important for the tower to remain competitive with new and existing class A towers in the market.
Soon, the occupancy level could rise again, as negotiations are under way with prospective tenants, Mr. Driussi said, including one to fill its last full-floor space available, on the 20th level.
The office building offers spaces ranging from 10,896 to 18,622 square feet.
"By the end of the year, I believe we should be able to increase our occupancy," he said, "especially after being able to close this very important deal."
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