Coral Gables Business Briefs

Early Crypto Payments, Medina’s $3.4 Billion Deal, The Plaza Coral Gables’ New Tenants and Paseo’s Success

Getting Ready for Crypto

You may not entirely understand what cryptocurrency is about, except that you’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, the market cap for which has reportedly reached $1 trillion. Suffice it to say that it is digital currency which, by virtue of what is known as block chain technology, can be very securely exchanged. For now, its value is determined by demand against the dollar, as though it were a stock. With companies like Tesla and Uber developing systems to support adoption of digital currencies, Coral Gables-based JAG Insurance Group has jumped into the fray by accepting its first insurance policy with payment in cryptocurrency. As Luis Gazitua, principal of JAG, puts it, “We are in the service business and want to make it easy for our customers. If someone wants to pay us in cryptocurrency, we are okay with that.” Gazitua did note that JAG, which now has 50 employees in the Gables, converted the payment into U.S. dollars. 

Cyxtera to Merge in $3.4B Deal

Just when you thought Manny Medina could not create even more value in his growing Gables-based cyber empire, the CEO of data center provider Cyxtera Technologies announced the pending merger of that company with Starboard Value Acquisition Corp. The merger, scheduled for completion later this year, is valued at $3.4 billion. Cyxtera currently serves more than 2,300 clients with 61 data centers worldwide. Starboard is a “blank check” company that pursues acquisitions in technology, healthcare and consumer sectors with an eye toward reorganization and/or business combinations. Cyxtera will retain about 58 percent of the new company, which will be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker “CYXT.” 

Best Places to Work

Each year the South Florida Business Journal recognizes companies for their corporate culture as “Best Places to Work” in the region. This year, five of the 45 companies recognized (in categories of Small, Medium and Large) were Gables based. Here they are, with a brief summary of the reasons for their choice: 

SMALL. No. 2: Agentis PLLC, law firm with “family first” values, great insurance plans and a strong 401k.No. 13: JAG Insurance Group, for its “open door” policies regarding employee-input to management. 

MEDIUM. No. 11: Stantec, architecture, design and engineering firm, for its empowerment of employee development. And maybe its weekly “desk yoga” and daily “cafecito time.”

LARGE. No. 2: Professional Bank, for its “employee-centric” culture that recognizes and rewards employee achievements. No. 12: HackerU, a global digital educator, for recognizing and promoting internal talent and for paid time off. 

Coral Gables Business Briefs

Paseo Update

The lofty Paseo building on South Dixie Highway, home to THēsis Hotel, 494 rental apartments and Chef Niven Patel’s award-winning Mamey restaurant, are doing well, reports Gables-based NPI International, which developed, owns and manages the property. CEO Brent Reynolds says that 95 percent of the residential units have been rented, and that hotel occupancy is now averaging in the mid 30 percent range – with some weekend spikes exceeding 90 percent. While free-standing hotels typically break even at 60 to 65 percent occupancy, Reynolds says that break-even for THēsis is in the mid-40 percent range due to its shared expenses with the mixed-use project. He says Paseo’s proximity to the University of Miami gives the project its competitive edge. 

The Plaza Signs Tenants

The massive Plaza Coral Gables project, now rising on the east side of Ponce Circle, has reported good news in their progress to lease space to new business tenants. Agave Holdings, the developer and owner of The Plaza Coral Gables, reports that 30 percent of their two office towers (totaling 455,008 square feet) have now been leased. Among the new tenants are Bradesco BAC Florida Bank, which leased 63,009 square feet (and will move from its present offices in the Colonnades on Miracle Mile); ACI Worldwide Corp., which leased 27,712 square feet (relocating from Naples and creating 182 jobs); H.I.G. Capital, which leased 22,227 square feet; and PNC Bank, which leased 7,039 square feet.