Downtown Miami-based Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson has signed a 10-year lease to open a small Coral Gables office to help some clients avoid the drive to its headquarters in downtown’s Museum Tower.
The new sixth floor office penthouse will also allow the firm to share a building with a longtime client, developer Codina Partners and its subsidiaries CC Homes and CC Residential, which are headquartered in the new mixed-use building at 2020 Salzedo St. in Coral Gables. Stearns weaver plans to open its office in November.
Stearns Weaver was a much smaller firm of about 25 lawyers when it became the first tenant in its current headquarters at Museum Tower more than 30 years ago, at the behest of client and developer of both buildings Armando Codina, executive chairman of Codina Partners. Since then the firm has grown to 90 lawyers in that building, and 130 lawyers in five offices statewide, now including Coral Gables.
Many of the firm’s real estate clients are based in Coral Gables, including Codina, said board chair and name partner Eugene Stearns, and the new office is convenient for clients heading to or coming from Miami International Airport.
“There are times in the afternoon where getting back to the airport from Miami is a challenge,” Stearns said. “We have many clients who have their headquarters in the Gables.”
The new 3,000-square-foot penthouse will have five offices, plus conference rooms. The firm’s Miami office, in contrast, takes up 12 floors of Museum Tower.
The new office will be primarily used for the firm’s real estate lawyers and to a lesser extent litigators. Two real estate lawyers will work out of the new office regularly, and a rotation of about 15 to 20 other lawyers will share time between the Coral Gables and downtown offices some part of the week.
“The problem isn’t going to be using it, it’s going to be allocating the use,” Stearns said. The office is more convenient for many of the firm’s lawyers who live in Coral Gables or Pinecrest, but its main purpose is to facilitate meeting with clients.
Although Stearns Weaver does allow lawyers to work from home on occasion, the practice is generally discouraged because so much of legal work involves communication and discussion with other lawyers, Stearns said.
Stearns said he grew up in Coral Gables and feels a strong connection to the area, but he doesn’t expect to work out of the new office because he chairs the litigation department and now lives in Key Biscayne, so getting to downtown isn’t a problem.
The new mixed-use building features 49,379-square-feet of office space and 6,882-square-feet of retail space in a six-story Class A building, plus 213 luxury rental units in a 16-story residential tower and 566 parking spaces in a seven-story garage. Blanca Commercial Real Estate represented developer Codina Partners in the deal.