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The Phillips Point office complex, a longtime trophy property in West Palm Beach, is under contract to be sold to an affiliate of New York-based Related Cos., according to a top Related official.
The Class A complex at 777 S. Flagler Drive went up for sale last year and will trade for $282 million, a source close to the deal confirmed. Current owner AEW Capital Management bought the property for $245 million in 2015.
The Related affiliate buying Phillips Point is said to be personally owned in large part by Stephen Ross, Related’s chairman, three real estate sources told The Palm Beach Post. Ross also owns the Miami Dolphins.
In recent years, Related has been keen to build office space in West Palm Beach. The company built and then sold CityPlace Tower, an 18-story, 300,000-square-foot office tower.
Currently, Related is building 360 Rosemary, a 20-story, 300,000-square-foot office tower next to Rosemary Square.
And Related plans to start construction later this year on another office tower: One Flagler, a 25-story, 270,000-square-foot tower planned for Flagler Drive and Okeechobee Boulevard.
But the grand dame of the West Palm Beach office market is and always has been Phillips Point.
The Class A, twin-tower complex, built in 1985, has always housed the city’s top tenants. The property’s location — at Flagler Drive and Lakeview Avenue, just over the Royal Palm Bridge from Palm Beach — offers tenants water views amid luxury finishes.
Phillips Point features financial firms Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. The complex also counts top law firms as tenants, including Greenberg Traurig, Gunster and Akerman, and Senterfitt & Eidson.
The Phillips Point purchase gives Ross dominance in the West Palm Beach office market as well as ownership of a longtime premier property, said Neil Merin, chairman of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach.
Merin said the acquisition “means Mr. Ross will be controlling the Class A space downtown, which will give some stability to pricing and could lead to an upward movement in rental rates.”
Merin added that Phillips Point has shown strong economic performance “and will do very well with the continued (movement) of financial service firms here.”
Thanks to the pandemic, coupled with high taxes in other states, a number of financial firms are looking for space in South Florida, particularly in Palm Beach County.
- Prices in Florida enclave are soaring with limited offerings
- ‘A seller’s market like I’ve never experienced,’ an agent says
“Anyone with money is fleeing New York and coming here,” said Guy Clark, an agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “It’s a seller’s market like I’ve never experienced.”
Some of the migration is paired with job relocation, as Wall Street firms and hedge funds set up bases in the Sunshine State. Others are pandemic refugees looking to flee Covid hotspots or take advantage of Florida’s lack of a state income tax. And some are billionaires increasing their footprints, such as Steve Wynn’s purchase of an additional Palm Beach home for $18.4 million last month, or Robert F. Smith’s $48.2 million acquisition of two properties in North Palm Beach.
The Palm Beach County Clerk’s office recorded more than 20 home sales last year exceeding $20 million, compared with 10 in 2019, according to the Palm Beach Daily News. Early next month, a home on North Ocean Boulevard is scheduled to go on the market for $75 million, fully furnished by designer Sara McCann with everything from chaise lounges to frying pans.
Unlike the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, which brought a glut of supply and sharp price decreases, there’s now very little in the way of offerings to show potential buyers.
“We’ve gone from anxiety buying to there’s no inventory and what am I going do?” said Liza Pulitzer, senior associate at Brown Harris Stevens. “We’ve even had people buy an interim house when they couldn’t find a rental.”
As for changes in residency, Florida makes it easy to domicile, while New York has a high bar to let people depart. Lawyer Paul Comeau of Hodgson Russ expects plenty of tax audits by New York state for the pandemic year of 2020. New York also issued guidance that employees working remotely outside the state would still be on the hook for city taxes unless the employer has local offices.
“Every single showing this week we have there is from people up north or different states, either wanting to have a presence here, so they don’t have to commute back and forth, or wanting to get out and move their firm here,” Sheinberg said.
“The residential market is driving this,” LeBrun said.
There were many frightening months in the South Florida real estate sector in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but experts expect the market to bounce back.
Just how quickly that recovery occurs depends on the type of real estate.
Single-family homes and industrial properties are already thriving. Office and retail space have a cloudy outlook, depending on how much the trends of remote work and e-commerce, respectively, impact business. The fate of hotels depends on the type of visitor they serve, and how quickly they’re likely to resume traveling.
Those were some of the takeaways from the Business Journal’s seventh annual Market Review panel, held virtually and broadcast online Dec. 15
Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs and First Horizon Bank sponsored the discussion, which was moderated by Senior Reporter Brian Bandell.
Some of South Florida’s top players in the areas of retail, industrial, office and residential real estate recently gathered for the Business Journal’s seventh annual Market Review panel, a virtual affair where the experts reviewed some of the current – and future – trends impacting the tri-county region.
The spirited conversation highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic is fueling certain real estate sectors while hurting others, and what the region’s top industry could experience in 2021.
MEET THE PANEL:
Art Lieberman, Director of tax services, Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs
Neil E. Merin, SIOR, CCIM, Chairman, NAI/Merin Hunter Codman
Dev Motwani, President and CEO, Merrimac Ventures
Peggy Olin, CEO, OneWorld Properties
Stephanie Rodriguez, Senior VP, Florida region, Duke Realty
Andrew Zidar, VP of development and acquisition, RK Centers
Neil Merin, NAI/Merin Hunter Codman: “The brightest outlook is single-family housing. Housing sales right now are running 125% ahead of the same time last year.”
Peggy Olin, OneWorld Properties: “Single-family homes. Everyone had the dream of being in South Florida and this [Covid-19] has really accelerated that decision. The level of prices we are seeing trading on the single-family home side and some of the high-end condos, as well, are amazing to see, and I think we will continue to see it.”
Stephanie Rodriguez, Duke Realty: “On the industrial side, institutional developers put a pause on spec development [in the first quarter]. But there was a shift in our business and an acceleration in demand, and we are pulling off that band-aid and going full throttle.”
Dev Motwani, Merrimac Ventures: “With Elliot [Management], and Blackstone and Goldman [Sachs] announcing moves here, the rest will follow because they realize this is a great place to do business. That will benefit the residential market. That will benefit the office market. That’s going to benefit retail, and certainly industrial.”
Art Lieberman, Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs: “You are seeing a lot of opportunity zone projects starting to come online. Leasing to businesses looking for opportunity zone tax benefits will start to trend.”
Neil Merin, NAI/Merin Hunter Codman: “Hospitality and retail. There will be a permanent impairment to hospitality in the business travel sector. Retail is a reimagining.”
Andrew Zidar, RK Centers: “It’s survival of the fittest on the retail side. There will continue to be fallout over the next year or two. There will be names in retail we have known for a long time that cease to exist.”
Dev Motwani, Merrimac Ventures: “We’ve always been a great hospitality and cruise market, and those markets are going to take a little longer to rebound in 2021 as people get comfortable traveling again.”
Please enjoy the following post, contributed by our Property Manager, Joan Garrick in appreciation of donations contributed by the MHC REAL Leaders Team towards a local Thanksgiving outreach community program.
Giving makes life wonderful. It is in giving that the lives of others are enriched and as such we enrich our own lives.
This note is sent to you today to say thank you.
Thank you for giving of your hard-earned financial resources, time, and energy.
Thank you for partnering with me to share our blessings.
Thank you for giving up time and resources which you could have used for other things.
More importantly, thank you for partnering with me in sharing in my passion to reach out to the needy. The members of my family as well as members of Victory Tabernacle Apostolic International at Avon Park came together, prepared, and distributed 257 packages of cooked meals and care packages to the needy on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 26, 2020.
You were all part of the emotional, tear-filled eyes of elderly men and women, some confined to wheel chairs; and other individuals as they said thank you for even being bothered to care about on Thanksgiving Day 2020.
To all of you on behalf of these elderly persons, children, and parents.
Thank You for Caring and Sharing.
We’re honored to have been a part of bringing hope to our community and wish for everyone to have a healthy and happy holiday season.
NAI/Merin Hunter Codman tapped to lease iconic Esperante Corporate Center.
West Palm Beach, Fla. – NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, Palm Beach County’s leading commercial real estate firm, is proud to announce that it has been retained to oversee all leasing for the iconic 20-story, 256,000 square-foot, Esperante Corporate Center located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach at 222 Lakeview Avenue.
RedSky Capital, who purchased this premier trophy property in 2016 and recently completed over $8 million in property renovations, awarded the leasing assignment to one of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman’s most diverse, experienced and productive leasing teams. The office leasing for Esperante Corporate Center will be led by Managing Directors Lesley Sheinberg and Barbara LeBrun, SIOR who will be supported by Commercial Associate Alexandra Bazo with the retail portion of the property being handled by NAI/Merin Hunter Codman’s long-time Retail Service Group Managing Director Bruce Corn.
“Esperante Corporate Center has been an iconic part of the West Palm Beach skyline since 1989. NAI/Merin Hunter Codman has been a force in the Palm Beach County commercial real estate marketplace just as long, if not longer. Their long-term local market leadership, local and global connections, and proven track record made them a perfect fit to represent Esperante,” cited Ben Stokes, Principal of RedSky Capital.
NAI/Merin Hunter Codman’s Lesley Sheinberg added, “Esperante is a premier commercial property, offering an array of first-class amenities and services. The stunning renovations combined with the exciting retail aspect of the property makes it a highly competitive prospect for out-of-state firms coming to South Florida to take advantage of our favorable and tax-friendly business climate along with our incomparable lifestyle. We are seeing more and more businesses leaving large metropolitan areas and relocating to West Palm Beach in response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Esperante’s owners and our team welcome the opportunity to introduce this one-of-a-kind downtown West Palm Beach jewel to office and retail users across the country.”
Esperante Corporate Center offers a variety of floor plans to suit multiple needs, including build-to-suit and move-in ready options for boutique and corporate headquarter users alike. The building is currently offering ±600-35,000 square feet of office space with full floor opportunities and retail space from ±600-2,400 square feet, including high-visibility café opportunities. To learn more please visit EsperanteWPB.com or call 561-471-8000.
CLICK HERE to view the full Press Release.
A $41 billion hedge fund based in New York plans to temporarily lease space in the Phillips Point office complex as part of a larger move to bring its headquarters to West Palm Beach, three real estate sources said on Thursday.
Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. also will open an office in Greenwich, Ct., as well as keep a presence in Manhattan, according to Bloomberg News, which first reported Elliott’s move to West Palm Beach but did not identify a location.
Real estate experts familiar with Elliott’s search said the firm will sublease 7,600 square feet of space belonging to the Arnold and Porter law firm at Phillips Point, a twin-tower office complex at 777 S. Flagler Drive, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
The short-term lease is temporary space until Elliott can open more permanent offices of at least 25,000 square feet. The likely landing spot: 360 Rosemary, the new office building under construction by Related Cos. at Rosemary Square, according to two real estate sources.