Jose Lobon, Christian Lee and Charles Foschini (J. Albert Diaz)
Dealmakers: Charles Foschini, Christian Lee and Jose Antonio Lobon
The Deal: The CBRE Inc. executives were part of a seven-member team that leveraged a $101 million deal for a landmark Coral Gables real estate portfolio, bringing institutional buyers to the table with cash for a client on a tight schedule. Miami-based Banyan Street Capital LLC purchased the property in a joint venture with Oaktree Capital Management LP of Los Angeles on March 18.
Details: When the team of CBRE brokers got the listing for one of Coral Gables’ most recognizable architectural sites last December, the clock was ticking.
Their client, Chicago-based Pearlmark Real Estate Partners, was nearing the end of a loan on the property and wanted a sale closed by March 31. Pearlmark told its brokers it had no time to spare finding a buyer for the 467,325-sqaure-foot portfolio including the iconic Douglas Entrance building with one of the city’s landmark entry arches.
“It was a situation where we had to pick the best buyer the first time,” said Charles Foschini, vice chairman in CBRE’s Miami office. “We would not have a second chance to go back out to the market. It was a highly coordinated effort from our team targeting a select group of buyers who had previously demonstrated the ability to close all-cash deals at this level.”
So Foschini, Lee, Lobon and CBRE debt and structured finance group first vice president Chris Apone joined forces with Eric Groffman, Josh Gibbons and Andrea Lopez, Transwestern’s Fort Lauderdale commercial real estate leasing and management team.
The brokers targeted institutional investors and savvy operating partners who would show up at the negotiating table with institutional equity. They brought some of the biggest players, including pension funds, interested in a large mixed-used portfolio with a diverse tenant base.
“Effectively you have three very different product types in one,” Lobon said. “This is pretty much the only game in town offering these different spaces. Because of the timeline we wanted to execute it as seamlessly as possible, marketing the asset as a whole with no chance of splitting it up in any way.”
The five-building complex offers a combination of Old World charm and modern luxuries.
“It’s as much a piece of art as it is a piece of real estate by some measures,” Foschini said.
The sprawling complex balances boutique office suites in its high-rise north, south and executive towers with back-office space in its annex, and also offers a mix of retail and banquet rooms.
In addition, its La Puerta Del Sol tower built in 1927 with Spanish influences has one of the city’s most picturesque ballrooms and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The site has an LEED Silver certification and Energy Star rating, which helped seal the deal at $216 per square foot.
“When you’re marketing a 460,000-square-foot project, there are always a lot of moving parts,” said Lee, CBRE vice chairman. “In order to meet the time frame all eight of us really needed to break down the tasks to really get it done on time. We needed to close before the end of March, and we beat that.”
Quote: “Fortunately for us there was enough capital in real estate that we could target so selectively and still have such a competitive buying pool,” Foschini said.
Background: Lee specializes in complex real estate deals. Foschini is a nationally recognized market leader in real estate investment banking. Lobon is an associate with the Miami-based South Florida CBRE capital markets institutional group.Apone places debt and equity for a variety of asset types with a focus on multi-family financing.