Q&A: NAI Chairman and South Florida Broker Neil Merin on Bubbies, Bubbas and Brightline

NAI/Merin Hunter Codman Exec Expresses Concern About Rise in Sublease Space

In the 1970s, Neil Merin was making $160 a week running a production line for a toy manufacturer in the Northeast when he quit to move to Palm Beach County for a property manager position that paid 10 percent more.

The new gig would be short-lived.

“The company I went to work for down here went out of business six months after I joined, so I went and got a real estate license and started selling properties in 1976,” he explained.

Merin would start West Palm Beach-based NAI / Merin Hunter Codman in 1982, and today he is one of South Florida’s longest-tenured commercial real estate brokers.

While he handles all aspects of the brokerage industry, his specialty is the sale and leasing of office and retail properties. Just in the past two decades, Merin has represented tenants and landlords in negotiations totaling more than 30 million square feet and values exceeding $7 billion.

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NEWS PICK-UP: 2017 Big Year for Neil Merin

“Merin, Chairman of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach, handled three high-profile sales last year that  ranked among the top eight of SIOR’s list:

  • The $64.5 million sale of the 245,000 SF Golden Bear Plaza in North Palm Beach
  • The $62.3 million sale of a interest in a 245,673 SF property in Palm Beach Gardens
  • The $54.5 million sale of the 241,000 SF Fountain Square in Boca Raton”

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NEWS PICK-UP: Jeff Greene set to break ground for West Palm’s first new office space in a decade

“The Palm Beach Post reported that billionaire Jeff Greene is ready to hire a general contractor to build a 30-story office, hotel and apartment complex in West Palm Beach.

Neil Merin, chairman of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, told the Palm Beach Post that Greene and Related Cos. will need at least five years to lease the office space at both One West Palm and 360 Rosemary if they open simultaneously.”

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NEWS PICK-UP: Related plans new office tower at CityPlace’s north end

The Related Cos. plans to build an 18-story office building on the north end of CityPlace, a move that could boost efforts to link the West Palm Beach mixed-use center to the rest of downtown and further develop the city’s core urban district.

360 Rosemary is slated to rise at the corner of Rosemary Avenue and Evernia Street, the first in a series of steps designed to expand and update CityPlace, a shopping, dining and residential center built by Related.

The 285,000-square-foot tower will be across from Publix. The supermarket was courted for the ground floor space, but a Related official said this week that Publix is staying put at CityPlace. The office tower instead will feature another retailer.

“It’s a big building for our market,” said Neil Merin, chairman of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach.

Related tried to build another office tower next to CityPlace a few years ago, but it was unable to obtain enough tenants willing to pre-lease space in the project, dubbed Gateway Tower.

In 2014, Related pulled the Gateway Tower plan. The next year, it unveiled a different idea: The Restoration Hardware furniture gallery, which opened last year.

Merin said Related, at some point, will need to decide whether it’s going to rely on pre-leasing to clinch a decision to build 360 Rosemary, “or if they’re going to build it anyway.”

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NAI Global Ranked Among Top Five Commercial Real Estate Brand in the 17th Annual Lipsey Survey

NAI Global, a leading, global commercial real estate firm, earned the top four spot in the 2018 Lipsey Survey of Top 25 Commercial Real Estate Brands. The survey was conducted among 100,000 commercial real estate professionals using a combination of ballot voting, phone interviews and focus groups to identify the top global brands. NAI Merin Hunter Codman based in Palm Beach County, Florida is a Member of NAI Global, serving southeast Florida.

The survey is conducted by The Lipsey Company, a leading training and consulting firm specializing in the commercial real estate industry to equip organizations and their practitioners with the skills necessary to succeed in today’s competitive environment. The 2018 survey results can be found here.

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