On Thursday, June 10th, the Lake Pavilion in Downtown West Palm Beach was buzzing with excitement as elected officials, business leaders, developers, and real estate professionals gathered in person for the Business Development Board’s Reception, which provided an informative panel discussion on how our community can serve the current migration of companies and their employees coming from New York, Boston, Connecticut, and California regions.

“We’ve done a lot right to get to get this point,” Harvey Oyer III (Shutts & Bowen LLP) said, as panelists Neil E. Merin, SIOR, CCIM (NAI/Merin Hunter Codman), Jon Blunk (Tower Commercial Real Estate), and Gopal Rajegowda (Related Southeast) talked about the current and future challenges our area faces as we continue to welcome more new businesses and residents in Palm Beach County.

And who wouldn’t want to move here? With the area’s robust attractions, great weather, and favorable taxes it seems to be a no-brainer. While the pandemic certainly accelerated this migration, it was one that was already in motion. Neil shared, “It’s taken us from a trickle to a river, and we’re going down the stream.”

Businesses moving down include top financial services firms (including Goldman Sachs), bringing with them C-Suite executives as well as a younger and highly educated workforce. The “Wall Street South” slogan has been picking up steam. Mr. Oyer dubbed it “the greatest wealth migration” we’ve experienced.

As a result, we’ve seen a competitive housing market with skyrocketing prices, private schools and social clubs are full, and Class-A office space in the downtown West Palm Beach market is fully leasing buildings that haven’t even opened their doors.

The main challenges this brings includes:

  • Affordable Housing (while increasing density is key – not everyone wants to live in an apartment/condo, families moving want a backyard too)
  • Education (a higher education focus to meet new business demand, and quality K-12 school choices)
  • Transportation & Infrastructure (everyone is anxious for Brightline to re-open, and pointed out the need to evolve out of single-occupancy vehicles)

As West Palm Beach continues to grow into a world-class city, surrounding communities will benefit from its success. Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, and Lantana are great alternative housing communities. A main point was the need for local cities and municipalities to work together, with progress in mind.

As Florida continues to be an attractive location, our community faces unique growing pains and will require the continued hard-work and dedication of our local leaders.

How can we help you? NAI/Merin Hunter Codman is one of South Florida’s leading commercial real estate firms and the largest in Palm Beach County. We have over three decades of experience advising clients on strategic acquisitions and dispositions and providing landlord representation, tenant representation, property management, and construction management services. The firm has expertise in all commercial property sectors including office, retail, industrial, multifamily, hotels, and land. To learn more about our services click here.

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