NEWS PICK-UP: West Palm Beach development aims higher

Please enjoy the following article Real Estate Journal: West Palm Beach development aims higher by Brian Bandell, Senior Reporter, South Florida Business Journal, featuring insights from Neil Merin. Click here to view the PDF article.

JOCK FISTICK/SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL

There’s a building boom in West Palm Beach, as more multifamily, hotel and office projects are built across the water from the billionaire playground of Palm Beach.

It’s easy to see why.

As many Florida municipalities aim to lure residents looking to relocate from higher-tax states, recent U.S. Census Bureau data shows that, compared with Miami-Dade and Broward counties, Palm Beach County has excelled at drawing residents from elsewhere in the U.S.

Experts credit its attractive housing values, lifestyle and growing accessibility to Fort Lauderdale and Miami for that uptick. It’s a combination that’s made West Palm Beach one of its fastest-growing cities.

West Palm Beach has better housing values compared to most of South Florida – without a lot of congestion, said Raphael Clemente, executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. Expansion projects at its cultural venues, including the Norton Museum of Art and the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, have made the city more of a leisure destination.

Also, West Palm Beach is the northernmost stop – so far – of the Virgin Trains USA passenger rail that connects with Fort Lauderdale and Miami. So people can live in West Palm Beach at a lower cost, but still have easy access to the entertainment destinations of Miami and Fort Lauderdale – and, eventually, Orlando.

The city is also revamping Clematis Street, its dining and entertainment district right near the train station, which could draw more Miami and Fort Lauderdale residents north.

“West Palm Beach has lagged Miami in terms of development and is starting to catch up a bit,” said Gopal Rajegowda, senior VP at the Related Cos., owner of Rosemary Square in the city. “While Miami might be overbuilt in some categories, West Palm Beach has a huge runway for more buildings to happen downtown.”

It’s been over a decade since a major Class A office building was delivered in downtown West Palm Beach, but two are now under construction, with a combined 502,000 square feet coming to market, according to NAI Merin Hunter Codman.

The Related Cos., led by billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, is building an office complex at Rosemary Square, its mixed-use project formerly known as CityPlace. Billionaire Jeff Greene will include offices in his mixed-use One West Palm, slated to be the tallest building in Palm Beach County.

Many companies are looking to relocate to West Palm Beach, and the 360 Rosemary building will provide a modern building a short walk from the Virgin Trains station, Rajegowda said. Related Cos. is also completing common area improvements to Rosemary Square, and will soon break ground on an apartment tower.

Comvest Partners is the first tenant to sign a lease at 360 Rosemary.

Greene said the heavy preleasing activity for One West Palm probably won’t start until the building is about a year from completion.

“This is not a big preleasing town,” Greene said. “It’s smaller firms looking for 3,000 to 7,000 square feet.”

When you consider the new buildings and 285,000 square feet of vacant Class A space downtown, there’s a huge amount of office space to absorb over the next few years, said Neil Merin, chairman of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman. The two new buildings may attract tenants, but it will be at the expense of the older office buildings, he added.

“I wouldn’t want to buy an office building in downtown West Palm Beach now, thinking I can raise rents,” Merin said. “Because they are building on cash, they can undercut the market on rent.”

The Bristol Palm Beach has raised the bar for West Palm Beach condo prices, and inspired more developers to target the city.

The 69-unit Bristol smashed the city’s price record in March by selling a full-floor penthouse for $42.56 million. The prices per square foot there are comparable to Miami Beach.

For years, Palm Beach owned the luxury home market, and wealthy buyers wouldn’t consider West Palm Beach – but that has changed, said Taylor Collins, managing partner of West Palm Beach-based condo builder Two Roads Development. The Bristol proved wealthy buyers will pay premium prices for high-end projects downtown, he said.

The island of Palm Beach has virtually no land left for condo development, so most of the existing condo buildings are decades old, Collins said.

“If you want a new high-rise condo, the only place to get it is West Palm Beach,” Collins said.

Two Roads Development plans to launch sales this fall for the Forte, a 48-unit condominium along the Intracoastal Waterway. Collins said units at Forte will range from the high $3 millions to $8 million. The buyers are mostly Palm Beach homeowners seeking to downsize from their mansions and wealthy people relocating from the Northeast, he said.

Great Gulf has already started construction on the 84-unit La Clara, also along the water.

In addition to the condos, there are 1,069 apartments completed or under construction downtown, according to NAI/Merin Hunter Codman.

West Palm Beach has three hotels with a combined 602 rooms under construction downtown – the Canopy Hotel, the Ben, and a hotel in One West Palm.

“West Palm Beach is offering people an alternative for a staycation,” Merin said. “It’s seen as a cool coastal downtown area with activities on the water.”

Greene, who owns a Ramada Inn in the city, is concerned hotels are overbuilt there so new hotels will take business from older hotels. However, Greene’s confident the hotel he’s building at One West Palm will do well as the only Five Star hotel in the city, he said.

Business at the Related Cos.-owned Hilton Hotel connected to the Palm Beach County Convention Center has exceeded expectations, Rajegowda said. With demand for conventions exceeding capacity for rooms, they are considering a 250-room addition to the hotel, he said.

“When the Brightline [Virgin Trains] connects to Orlando, we will tap into a significant tourist base,” Rajegowda said. “The tourist who goes to Disney will have an easy way to stop in West Palm Beach for a few days.”

General News Articles

PRESS RELEASE: ULI West Palm Beach Development and Investment Forum Showcases Extraordinary Citywide Growth

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.)

Events Market Reports News Articles Press Releases

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.

Click Here to view full original article | Click Here to view PDF

News Articles

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

General News Articles Property Management

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.

News Articles Press Releases Transactions

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.

View Article Link | View PDF

News Articles Property Management

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.”

Original article: PDF | View Article

News Articles Property Management Transactions

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.

Click here to read the full article.

News Articles Transactions

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.

General NAI REAL Leaders News Articles

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

CRE Sources: View PDF | View Article

PBC Chamber of Commerce: View PDF | View Article

Boca Chamber: View PDF | View Article

News Articles Press Releases Transactions