"Office space debate: downtown vs. outskirts" - Commercial real esate article for Miami Herald

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By Rochelle Broder-Singer | Special to the Miami Herald | 5/4/2009

When the economy was riding high, companies could pick their office space based on ''location, location, location.'' In today's economic climate, though, that mantra is being challenged by another: ''cost, cost, cost.'' Growing concerns over the bottom line have businesses reassessing whether a pricey downtown location is essential, or whether it is a luxury that can be avoided.

TrèsKoi Public Relations, for instance, considered space in downtown Miami or South Beach, but ultimately settled on The Bank building at Northeast 81st Street and Biscayne Boulevard.

''For a while we were torn on being in the mix of things due to the nature of our business,'' said principal Alexis Knapp. But the space is half the price of a more downtown location. ''One of the worst things young businesses do is get sold on having a lively office space, and as a result pay a fortune,'' Knapp said.

Class A buildings in Miami's central business district averaged $43.77 a square foot in the first quarter of this year, versus $35.46 in noncentral areas of Miami-Dade, according to real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. In Broward, Class A rents in downtown Fort Lauderdale averaged $33.49 a square foot, versus $31.89 in other locations, the company reported.

''A 10,000-square-foot tenant can easily save over $10 per square foot in rent, plus another $5 to $10 a square foot in parking fees. You can easily save $200,000 a year by relocating your offices to the suburbs,'' said Dan Heisler, vice president of Adler Realty Services, which owns and manages properties in the Airport West area of Miami, including Office Park at Miami International Commerce Center.

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