2020 SFBJ Market Review Panel featuring Neil E. Merin, SIOR, CCIM

The following is an excerpt of the article originally posted by the South Florida Business Journal by Brian Bandell. View Full Article: PDF | Link

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

QUOTABLLES

What South Florida real estate sectors will have a really bright outlook for 2021?

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.”

What sectors of real estate are probably going to struggle in 2021?

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.”

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white and orange pumpkins on table

A Heartfelt Thanks

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.

Joan Garrick

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.

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NEWS PICK-UPS: Esperante Hires Dynamic MHC Leasing Team

Thanks to the following media organizations who have picked up our Press Release about the leasing assignment of the iconic Esperante Corporate Center in West Palm Beach.

South Florida Business Wealth Magazine: View Link | View PDF

Palm Beach Post: View Link | View PDF

South Florida’s Office Brokers Association: View Link | View PDF

CRE Sources: View Link | View PDF

Palm Beach Chamber North: View Link | View PDF

Boca Raton Chamber: View Link | View PDF

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PRESS RELEASE: Esperante Office Building Hires Dynamic and Diverse Leasing Team in Downtown West Palm Beach

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.

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Major hedge fund moving to West Palm Beach from New York

View the original article by Alexandra Clough, Palm Beach Post | View PDF of article

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.

Phillips Pointe in Downtown West Palm Beach

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.

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WPB Isn’t Worried About Downtown Office Space

The following is an excerpt from an article originally published in The Palm Beach Post by Alexandra Clough. VIEW LINK | VIEW PDF

The city of West Palm Beach is not worried about the future of office space in the city’s downtown. This is despite a glut of new space about to hit the market, an unsightly half-finished office complex and a lingering pandemic that has kept most workers at home for months.

Lannis Waters, The Palm Beach Post

In West Palm Beach, only about 20% of workers are coming in to the office, brokers said. Other workers are coming in on staggered days so as not to crowd interior spaces and risk spreading the airborne COVID-19 virus.

As a result, a number of companies are paying for leased space that is mostly empty, prompting questions about the future of office space. Some national companies, such as Twitter, have told employees they can work from home forever.

But West Palm Beach officials remain upbeat that people will return to the office, and the market will return.

“Though there is current uncertainty due to the upcoming presidential election and COVID-19, all indications suggest the office market will rebound,” said Kathleen Walter, a city spokeswoman.

Last December, prior to the pandemic, commercial real estate brokers warned there was a sizable shadow market of empty space downtown.

Neil Merin, chairman of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, said that with two new office towers under construction, the amount of vacant space would rise to 35% from about 17%. Other brokers said leasing activity was very slow, and no large tenants were even making inquiries about office space.

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The Future of Office Space

The following article was published in the Fall 2020 Palm Beach County Quarterly Economic Development Magazine from the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach County’s office market may wind up benefiting from the changing national work-from-anywhere landscape. “I believe our market will be more attractive to companies from the crowded Northeast seeking to relocate here,” said Jeffrey M. Kelly, executive vice president, CBRE in Boca Raton. “But in the short-term, availabilities will increase. I believe this is a hiccup and am optimistic that we will recover.”

Neil Merin, Chairman, NAI/Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach, says the work-from-home trend due to the COVID-19 health threat has shown that people don’t have to be in a large office to stay connected. “Owners and executives with small offices in Palm Beach County are finding they can spend more time here,” Merin said. “That portends more movement away from the big Northeast cities to offices here.”

Meanwhile, the need for social distancing at work may change the size and configuration of office spaces, added Merin. While some businesses may downsize and try to sublet their current space, others will retain their current footprints, even if there are fewer employees on the premises at any one time.

“There will be lower demand for co-working spaces until the pandemic has receded,” Merin said.

Another trend will be the need to provide healthy office workspaces, including stepped-up sanitation and ventilation systems. “When employees are spending eight or 10 hours a day in an office, they want to feel safe,” he added. Common areas like kitchens and lounges may also need to be reconfigured for employees taking a break during the day.

Jeff Kelly expects a lower employee headcount in office spaces to drive down the need for on-site parking. “That’s a positive because land in Palm Beach County is so valuable,” he said. “It may lead to some creative uses of that extra space.”

As for new construction, Jeff Kelly said some buildings under construction, like 360 Rosemary in West Palm Beach, are likely to be completed on schedule, while others may be delayed until preleasing commitments support the financial investment. “Fortunately, Palm Beach County is not a big office market, and a few major leases could move the vacancy rate downward significantly.”

VIEW THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE | VIEW THE FULL FALL 2020 ISSUE

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