WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (May 10, 2019) – A collection of some of Florida’s leading commercial and residential real estate developers, architects, and urban planning experts gathered today to speak to a crowd of almost 300 about real estate trends, opportunities and related issues at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) West Palm Beach Development and Investment Forum at the Hilton West Palm Beach.
Chairman Neil Merin, of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, kicked off the three-hour program by itemizing the highlights of more than $3 billion worth of new investment in West Palm Beach either underway or planned. This includes 2,336 hotel rooms, 3,520 residential units, 1,310,000 sq. ft. of new Class A office space and Hospital for Special Surgery’s first expansion outside its home base in New York. These investments are “game-changers for the city,” according to Raphael Clemente, executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority, a co-sponsor of the event with ULI. “The entire city is flourishing, and downtown development is the most intense it’s been since the days of Henry Flagler. The big difference is that today, our planners are steering the kind of growth that advances the quality of life for all.”
“All of the new Class A office space will help stabilize rates and allow us to fulfill the demand from out-of-market companies looking to locate here,” Merin said. The new residential units and major commercial projects have contributed to a recent increase in the city’s tax base of 13.5 percent, he added, a number that is expected to keep rising. He also cited the extensive recent upgrades to some of the city’s cultural institutions bringing them to world-class levels, especially the Norton Museum of Art and the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. “Investment in arts and culture adds real value to the continued viability of the real estate market. There is a direct correlation.” (Click here to view a slideshow of his presentation.)