Developer Plans To Spend 100 Million On Burger King Project
By Suzy Valentine
The Burger King headquarters project in Coral Gables, the first phase of which is under construction, is to cost almost $100 million.
Codina Group, which is also based in the City Beautiful, began work on a four-story development on a parking lot at 2855 LeJeune Road in the last week of December, days after receiving final approval from city officials.
The $18 million structure, which is to be completed this year, is to house City National Bank. Codina then plans to pull down the bank’s current home at 2701 LeJeune Road to make way for the Burger King 15-story headquarters, which is expected to cost $80 million. In May, the company put construction costs at $65 million.
"It’s becoming increasingly difficult to project," said President Armando Codina, "as the cost of raw materials spirals. The City National Bank building is scheduled for completion in 2006. The Burger King building is scheduled for completion in late 2008. We may have to revise costs when we break ground on the second phase. I hope construction costs stabilize, but we won’t be breaking ground on part two for a year."
Construction of the Burger King headquarters cements the fast-food giant’s links to the region. Company officials had considered leaving Miami-Dade County but last year cut a deal with the developer to move to the Gables from its Blue Lagoon Drive location. Last week, the company announced plans to go public.
Codina Group is ahead of schedule on the headquarters. City officials gave the final go-ahead Dec. 20 and Codina began construction on the parking lot a week later. At the time of the Dec. 20 meeting, company representatives had hoped for a January start.
"We’ve begun tearing up the site already," said Mr. Codina, "and I’ve received a lot of comments about progress on the site south of Miracle Mile. City National Bank is to get much better facilities with drive-in parking. As soon as we received the building permit and the zoning could not be appealed, we moved forward."
The city commission cleared the project after Codina Group undertook to pay up to $150,000 for a traffic study and measures the report identified as necessary for the development.
Residents’ initial concerns about traffic flow in the construction area delayed but didn’t derail the project, as has been the group’s fate in another Kendall enterprise.
"No one showed up to oppose it," said Mr. Codina of the Dec. 20 meeting spotlighting the Burger King project, "but it’s getting much more difficult to do any kind of construction. What we went through at Mission Bell Park in terms of objections from the neighbors cost us that project."
Mr. Codina was referring to a planned housing project in Kendall that the developer had to ditch as costs escalated beyond sale prices although the company had sold 75% of the 318 condominium units. Advertisement