Gables Business Briefs 

Amerant to Sell HQ, Pino Wants to Build on Church Site, Progress at the Plaza and Coral Gables Trust Crests $2 Billion 

Amerant Bank Sells, Then Leases, Gables HQ 

In one of the nation’s largest sale-leaseback deals of the year, Amerant Bank is selling its Coral Gables headquarters to Fortress Investment Group for $135 million. As part of the deal, Amerant agreed to lease the 177,000-square-foot building, located at 220 Alhambra Circle, for 18 years at market rate. Amerant, which purchased the building in 2014 for $75 million, reserves the right to sublet the space. Fortress Investment also owns the Brightline rail line. 

Terranova Refinances Its Miracle Mile Portfolio 

Terranova Corp., the largest landlord on Miracle Mile, has refinanced its portfolio of properties on downtown’s premiere commercial boulevard. Miami Beach-based Terranova secured $55 million in financing from City National Bank, which now houses its executive team in the Gables. The new debt consolidates loans on 14 proper- ties, according to Terranova Chairman Stephen Bittel. The properties refinanced include 220 Miracle Mile, 253 Miracle Mile and 300 Miracle Mile. Earlier last year, Terranova purchased the 232 and 330 Miracle Mile buildings for $8.7 million, and before that the 300 Miracle Mile building for $6 million. The firm also owns 308, 348 and 360 Miracle Mile. 

Pino to Build on Church Site 

Coral Gables-based Century Homebuilders Group hopes to build a 10-story, 200-unit apartment building on the 1.5-acre site of the St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church at 110 Phoenetia Ave. According to the Real Deal, the property – across the street from the historic Coral Gables Women’s Club. – was purchased for $9.8 mil- lion through an affiliate of Century. The new development will also include a one-story building for the Crystal Academy, which now leases the church for its school that helps children with impaired cognitive functions. Century CEO Sergio Pino said he wants to take advantage of the current demand for rental apartments. Greater Miami, including the Gables, has seen a 25 percent spike in rental rates over the last year. 

Progress at the Plaza Coral Gables 

Gables business Briefs
Carlos Beckmann at the Plaza (With Co-manager Jose Antonio Perez)

The Plaza Coral Gables, the massive Mediterranean project rising on the east side of Ponce Circle, continues to make progress. Construction, which began in March 2019, is expected to wrap up in December 2022 with the completion of a new dome-towered Loew’s Hotel on the property. Already complete is The Reserve, a luxury apartment building with 153 units – all of which have been rented, according to Carlos Beckmann, managing director of the developer, Agave Holdings. “It’s beyond our expectations,” says Beckmann, whose firm “bet on the high end” rental market. The commercial North Tower of the complex is already 40 percent leased, with deals in the works for a further 40 percent, he says. In an effort to be a good Gables citizen, Agave has so far contributed $2.7 million toward the completion of the city’s new Public Safety Building, $4 million for public art, $2 million to improve Ponce Park, and $6 million for neighborhood improvements, including installing swales, paver stones and 320 trees. All in, says Beckmann, the project’s cost will approach $700 million. 

Crossing $2 Billion 

The Coral Gables Trust Company, one of the top trust and wealth management firms headquartered in Florida (let alone the Gables) has surpassed $2 billion in assets under management. The milestone, announced by Chairman and CEO James Davidson, was attributed to a record year in asset growth from existing portfolio gains and new customers from New York, California, and Greater Miami. “The fact that the firm has grown from $1 billion in [assets under management] to more than $2 billion in the past four years is a testament to our unwavering approach to sound money management,” said Davidson. Coral Gables Trust was founded in 2004 by David- son and Dean Klevan. 

By: James Broida