Dated West Palm Beach Retail Development to Become Urban Village

By: Paul Owers, CoStar

After opening almost two decades ago near downtown West Palm Beach, Florida, the largest real estate development in the city’s history has a new name and focus, part of an evolution older centers nationwide are undertaking to appeal to millennials who prefer to shop online.

CityPlace, at 575 S. Rosemary Ave. , now is known as Rosemary Square, and The Related Cos. of New York says it is spending $550 million in the next five years to rebrand the aging outdoor center as an urban village to make it more of a destination that is different from other developments. West Palm Beach sits just across the Intracoastal Waterway from President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and other palatial properties in Palm Beach.

Similar retail transformations are happening at centers in and near Miami and across the United States as e-commerce gains more traction in the era of Amazon.

As Macy’s, Sears and other traditional retail heavyweights close stores, mall landlords are replacing them with innovative concepts and tenants that offer experiences to customers. Some owners are reconfiguring the spaces, adding apartments and even grocery stores , as a way to keep once-stale properties relevant.

“Not only do they have to be innovative and creative, but once the innovation becomes public, the shelf life is obviously shorter because everybody duplicates it,” said Michael Lagazo, an independent retail broker in San Diego.

“Shopping doesn’t hold our fascination as it did in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s,” added Neil Merin, a longtime South Florida broker and chairman of Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach. “People want unique experiences.”

While the new name may be hard to get used to, CityPlace’s repositioning has merit, said Robert Granda, vice president of investments for the Marcus & Millichap brokerage in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“They had to do something,” Granda said. “CityPlace had a negative correlation. It was dying a very slow death.”

At first, the $375 million CityPlace was an image boost for West Palm Beach. The development helped the city attract locals who left Palm Beach County to drive south to bars and restaurants on trendy Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale or to the swanky nightclubs on Miami Beach.

But CityPlace eventually grew stagnant, losing patrons to nearby downtown areas, including Atlantic Avenue 20 miles south in Delray Beach, Granda said.

Related Cos.’ investment in Rosemary Square includes adding a hotel and a 300,000-square-foot office tower while also turning a former Macy’s department store into a 21-story mixed-use building featuring residences and office space.

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NEWS PICK-UPS: The Workspace at The Press

A few media organizations have picked up our Press Release on the firm’s new property management and leasing assignment of The Press, the former ±300,000 SF Palm Beach Post campus located at 2751 S Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach.

CRE-Sources: View PDF | View Article

Business Development Board of Palm Beach County: View PDF | View Article

Boca Raton Chamber: View PDF | View Article

Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches: View PDF | View Article

BOMA: View PDF | View Article

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Neil Merin Recognized as 2018 SIOR Top Transaction Award Winner

Please find an excerpt of SIOR’s Press Release below.

“SIORs are known around the world as the elite commercial real estate professionals in their respective market and specialty,” said Robert G. Thornburgh, SIOR’s Global President. “The Top Transaction Award Winners have truly distinguished themselves as the best of the best in the industry. We would like to congratulate all the recipients of this tremendous honor and for continuously delivering extraordinary results to their clients throughout the year.”

The top five transactions of the year are:

  1. David Schmidt, SIOR, and Stephen Gibson, SIOR, both of Colliers International, arranged the $245 million sale of 445,058 square feet of office space in Santa Clara, California;
  2. Damian Rivera, SIOR, of ESRP arranged the $110 million lease of 1,252,908 square feet of office space in Plano, Texas;
  3. Neil Merin, SIOR, CCIM, of NAI Merin Hunter Codman arranged the $108.5 million sale of 351,705 square feet of office space in Fort Lauderdale, Florida;
  4. Mark Detmer, SIOR, CCIM and Bo Mills, SIOR, of JLL arranged the $98 million sale of 1,009,387 square feet of industrial space in Phoenix, Arizona;
  5. Mark Zorn, SIOR, of Colliers International arranged the $94.2 million sale of 702,663 square feet of industrial space in Rialto, California.

SIOR has also recognized the Top 50 Office Deals, Top 50 Industrial Deals, Top 10 Office Sales, Top 10 Office Leases, Top 10 Office Investment and Top 10 Industrial Investment. For a complete list of the 2018 SIOR Top Transaction lists, click here.

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Office Buildings in a “War for Talent”

Enjoy the below excerpt from the article “Office Park Near Miami Becomes the Latest to Add Perks to Compete” by Paul Owers of CoStar.

Call it the Facebook effect. New high-tech campuses in California built by social media giant Facebook and search engine Google have spurred workplace makeovers across the nation, and building owners have taken notice. In those campuses, the key is to make the workplace a fun place to hang out, with game tables and available food, with one benefit being that workers may hang around the workplace longer. As more offices adopt the practice, others feel the need to keep up.

Pexels.com/Marc Mueller

Savvy landlords are giving their office buildings a sense of place and making them sites for “playful entertainment,” said Neil Merin, chairman of the NAI / Merin Hunter Codman brokerage in West Palm Beach, Florida. “That’s the way people prefer to work today,” Merin said.

Merin is working with the new owner of The Palm Beach Post building in West Palm Beach to turn a sterile conference room on the first floor into an inviting meeting space that could feature a coffee bar and lounge areas.

“A really hip hotel lobby – that’s exactly what I’m shooting for,” he said.

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Trophy Deals Galore: Downtown Office Towers Trade in Slowing Market

Excerpt from the Daily Business Review article by Lidia Dinkova; published 2/25/19.

Trophy office towers have been trading across South Florida in spite of the regional market slowing down after five years of robust growth.

“In South Florida in general, (we are) attracted to the job growth and the population growth,” said Kevin Chin, senior vice president with PCCP LLC, which bought two South Florida office towers last year. “There is substantial development going on in downtown.”

The real estate finance and investment management firm with offices in California and New York bought downtown Miami’s SunTrust International Center for $127 million and as part of a joint venture bought downtown Fort Lauderdale’s 1 E Broward for $108.5 million.

1 E Broward “is a well-leased building. It’s the closest office building to Brightline, so we thought that was attractive as well,” Chin, who is based in New York, said using Virgin Trains’ previous name.

PCCP bought the 19-story Fort Lauderdale building in a joint venture with West Palm Beach-based NAI/Merin Hunter Codman from Ivy Realty.

For NAI/Merin, a commercial real estate services firm that has started buying as well, the purchase was motivated in part by Fort Lauderdale’s growth.

“I can tell you a lot of the young people in my office who formerly would have gravitated to Miami or Delray Beach are now choosing instead to move to Fort Lauderdale,” said Neil Merin, NAI/Merin chairman, and founder.

The purchase also made sense for PCCP because the $127 million price tag is much less than new construction, Chin noted. Both SunTrust and 1 E Broward offer an upside in rental revenue, too.

Ivy Realty, which sold 1 E Broward, invested $5 million in renovations in the 1984 tower and raised the occupancy to 91 percent. Since the sale, the rate is up to 93.5 percent.

At the same time, rents have remained below market, according to Merin.

The average now is $18 per square foot, triple net, compared with the average market rate of $30 to $35 per square foot, he said. Rents won’t be increased to the market rate but may hit $28 a square foot.

Aside from the Fort Lauderdale train station, the tower is just south of FATVillage, a once dilapidated warehouse district that’s experienced a rebirth.

“It looks very much like Wynwood five or maybe six years ago,” Merin said, referring to FATVillage. “Instead of being adjacent to the worst neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, it (1 E Broward) is adjacent to the most attractive neighborhood in the city.”

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NEWS PICK-UP: Hinshaw & Culbertson Renews Lease in Fort Lauderdale

CoStar shared information about Hinshaw & Culbertson’s 16,696 SF lease renewal at 1 E Broward, facilitated by Max Pawk and Neil Merin, who represented the Landlord. Please find an excerpt below.

Chicago-based law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson has renewed its lease on the 10th floor of the One East Broward office building at 1 E. Broward Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The tenant will remain in its 16,696-square-foot suite under a new five-year deal.

The U.S. law firm has three locations in Florida, including the downtown Miami and Tampa areas. Attorneys in its Fort Lauderdale office in particular specialize in corporate and business law matters, real estate, financial planning, liability and corporate organization, construction litigation, environmental law and labor/employment law, according to its website.

Built in 1984, the 19-story, 351,705-square-foot, 4-Star office tower sits on 4.6 acres in the Downtown Fort Lauderdale submarket of Broward County. The building underwent a common-area renovation in 1999 and it features reserved parking in a subterranean garage, 24-hour availability, an atrium, on-site banking and convenience store, conferencing facilities, a fitness center, restaurant, cafe and other tenant amenities.

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Our Secret to Success – Give, Engage, and Give More

We’re incredibly honored that NAI Global has highlighted our firms’ commitment to the community through our annual volunteer efforts in the beautifully written piece below:

West Palm Beach, Florida – It started as a way to connect with people and industry in South Florida over thirty years ago, when NAI Merin Hunter Codman Chairman, Neil E. Merin, SIOR, CCIM was just beginning his commercial real estate career. Back then, community engagement and volunteering was practically the only way professionals, including attorneys and CPAs, could market themselves and their firms.

As Merin’s business grew and thrived, he added partners, staff, and many of the top-performing brokers serving South Florida. While community service had always played a central role in the firm’s activities, it wasn’t until 12 years ago that Merin, his partners and entire company made it a cornerstone of their enterprise. That’s when Merin and two other Palm Beach County business leaders spearheaded the first Get Down to Business Lunch to impress upon the business community the importance of giving back. Since its inception, this signature annual event has doubled in size and raised over $1.2 million dollars in support of Easterseals’ West Palm Beach Igoe-Amar Child Development Center, which provides services for children that are developmentally disabled. Merin was and remains an Honorary member of the Palm Beach Advisory Board for Easterseals and an Honorary Co-Chairman for the Get Down to Business.

“You could say the inception of the Easterseals’ luncheon was the moment when we pivoted as a firm and formally adopted the NAI Merin Hunter Codman Real Leaders program, the firm’s commitment to community service,” said NAI Merin Hunter Codman, Inc. CEO Jordan Paul, which is based in West Palm Beach with regional offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach Gardens and Wellington, FL.

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NEWS PICK-UPS: Toys “R” Us Building Sale in Royal Palm Beach


A few media organizations have picked up our Press Release on the recent sale of the Former Toys “R” Us building at 450 S State Road 7.

The Real Deal: View PDF | View Article

Palm Beach Post: View PDF | View Article

South Florida Business Journal: View PDF | View Article

BDB: View PDF | View Article

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PBC Chamber of Commerce: View PDF | View Article

Boca Chamber: View PDF | View Article

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