Wachovia Financial Center

Southeast Financial Center is a two-acre development in Miami, Florida, United States. It consists of a 765 feet (233 m) tall office skyscraper and a 15-story low-rise building. It was previously known as the Southeast Financial Center (1984–1992), the First Union Financial Center (1992–2003), and the Wachovia Financial Center (2003-2011)

When topped-off in August 1983, it was the tallest building south of New York City and east of the Mississippi River, taking away the same title from the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, in Atlanta, Georgia. It remained the tallest building in the southeastern U.S. until 1987, when it was surpassed by One Atlantic Center in Atlanta, and the tallest in Florida until October 1, 2003, when it was surpassed by the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower, also in Miami. It remains the tallest office tower in Florida and the second tallest building in Miami.


Southeast Financial Center was constructed in three years with more than 500 construction workers. Approximately 6,650 tons of structural steel, 80,000 cubic yards of concrete, and 7000 cubic tons of reinforcing steel bars went into its construction. The complex sits on a series of reinforced concrete grade beams tied to 150 concrete caissons as much as ten feet in diameter and to a depth of 80 feet. A steel space-frame canopy with glass skylights covers the outdoor plaza between the tower and low-rise building.

The tower has a composite structure. The exterior columns and beams are concrete encased steel wide flanges surrounded by reinforcing bars. The composite exterior frame was formed using hydraulic steel forms, or “flying forms”, jacked into place with a “kangaroo” crane, that was located in the core, and manually clamped into place. Wide flange beams topped by a metal deck and concrete form the interior floor framing. The core is A braced steel frame, designed to laterally resist wind loads. The construction of one typical floor was completed every five days.

The low-rise banking hall and parking building is a concrete-framed structure. Each floor consists of nearly an acre of continuously poured concrete. When the concrete had sufficiently hardened, compressed air was used to blow the forms fiberglass forms from under the completed floor. It was then rolled out to the exterior where it was raised by crane into position for the next floor.


The center was developed by a partnership consisting of Gerald D. Hines Interests, Southeast Bank, and Corporate Property Investors for $180 million. It was originally built as the headquarters for Southeast Bank, which originally occupied 50 percent of the complex’s space. It remained Southeast Bank’s headquarters there until it was liquidated in 1991.

The Southeast Financial Center comprises two buildings: the 55-story office tower and the 15-story parking annex. The tower has 53 stories of office space. The first floor is dedicated for retail, the second floor is the lobby and the fifty-fifth floor was home to the luxurious Miami City Club. The parking annex has 12 floors of parking space for 1,150 cars. The first floor is dedicated for retail, the second floor is a banking hall, and the fifteenth floor has the Downtown Athletic Club. A landscaped plaza lies between the office tower and the parking annex. An enclosed walkway connects the second story of the tower with the second story of the annex. The courtyard is partially protected from the elements by a steel and glass space frame canopy spanning the plaza and attached to the tower and annex. Southeast Bank's executive offices were located on the 38th floor. Ground was broken on the complex on December 12, 1981, and the official dedication and opening for the complex was held on October 23, 1984.

The Southeast Financial Center was designed by Edward Charles Bassett of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The Associate Architect was Spillis Candela & Partners. It has 1,145,311 ft² (106,000 m²) of office space. A typical floor has about 22,000 ft² (2,043.87 m²) of office space. Each floor has 9 ft x 9 ft (2.7 m x 2.7 m) floor to ceiling windows. The total complex has over 2.2 million ft² (204,000 m²). The distinctive setbacks begin at the 43rd floor. Each typical floor plate has 9 corner offices and the top twelve floors have as many as 16. There are 43 elevators in the office tower. An emergency control station provides computerized monitoring for the entire complex, and four generators for backup power.

The Southeast Financial Center can be seen as far away as Ft. Lauderdale and halfway toward Bimini. The roof of the building was featured in the Wesley Snipes motion picture Drop Zone, where an eccentric base jumper named Swoop parachutes down to the street from a suspended window cleaning trolley. The building also appeared in several episodes of the 1980s TV show Miami Vice and at the end of each episode's opening credits.

Major tenants

  • Wachovia
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Bache & Co.
  • White & Case


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