Real estate agency

Details of the real estate agency ComReal Commerce in downtown Coral Gables

John Lonardo is senior vice president of ComReal at Coral Gables. Courtesy photo

A downtown Coral Gables office built in 1924, boarded up, demolished and then rebuilt in 1985 was traded in a larger $ 11.6 million deal.

Ponce 2019 LLC, led by Marc Schwarzberg and Jose Ortega of developer Maven Real Estate LLC, purchased the AmTrust building as well as three lots near the New York Community Bank.

John Lonardo, senior vice president of ComReal I Miami-Coral Gables LLC, negotiated the off-market transaction for both seller and buyer after starting work for the seller a year ago. He closed the deal on July 29.

The 28,000 square foot, two story AmTrust building is located on 8,368 square feet of land at the southeast corner of Almeria Avenue and Ponce de Leon Boulevard at 2701 Ponce de Leon Boulevard.

With the lots, the parcel totals 30,000 square feet. These are the 3,000 square foot parking lot for bank customers at 160 Almeria Avenue east of the building, 12,500 square foot parking lot at 103 Seville Avenue even further east, and 15,000 square feet at 130 Almeria Avenue where an ATM is located.

The lots could be redeveloped with retail or residential businesses. The bank does not need the stand-alone ATM as it plans to add one in its branch.

The assets of the Cleveland-based AmTrust name, which closed in 2009, were acquired by the New York Community Bank, and the AmTrust name remains on the building.

The bank will retain its branch in the building after negotiating a 3,000 square foot sale-leaseback with the buyer, compared to 7,000 square feet under a 10-year lease.

“It’s something that is happening with banks in general or at all levels. They are reducing their footprint, ”said Lonardo, based in Coral Gables. ComReal also has offices in Doral and Fort Lauderdale.

In fact, being able to rent out his space was a big part of the deal as he rejected many offers that would not allow him to stay, Lonardo said.

After the bank’s downsizing and the departure of other tenants, the building ended up with an occupancy rate of 67%. The tenants include three law firms and a law firm and former Coral Gables mayor Don Slesnick, who is Australia’s Honorary Consul.

The 4,000 square foot space left open by the bank could be converted to retail, Lonardo said.

The original building was in the classic Mediterranean Revival architectural style. When it was rebuilt in 1985, it was a reincarnation of the original with a design that closely followed the original.

Seller New York Community Bank bought the building and three nearby lots for $ 4 million in 2009, according to the Miami-Dade County Real Estate Appraiser’s Office. The selling price represents almost a tripling in value in 10 years.

The building is adjacent to the 1 million square foot Gables Plaza mixed-use project under construction on 7 acres.


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