NEWS PICK-UP: HappyOrNot Moves to Centerpointe Delray

Please enjoy the following excerpt from the original article by Brian Bandell, Senior Reporter, South Florida Business Journal. View Link | View PDF

NAIOP South Florida also shared details about this deal. View Link | View PDF

Customer service and technology firm HappyOrNot Americas will move into a larger office, where it plans to hire dozens of employees

The Finland-based company, which runs customer service platforms such as kiosks, leased 9,004 square feet at 1690 Congress Ave., Delray Beach for the headquarters of its U.S. operations. It will relocate from 701 Northpoint Parkway, North Palm Beach.

Darcie Lunsford and Sky Butters of Butters Realty & Management represented landlord CDS International Holdings in the deal, while Jason Sundook and Christopher Smith of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman represented HappyOrNot.

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Mystic Cruises Fleet

NEWS PICK-UP: Mystic Cruise Line Chooses 1 East Broward as North American HQ

Please enjoy the below excerpt from the original article “A new luxury expedition-focused cruise line will soon call Florida home” by Ken Storey at Orlando Weekly. View Article | View PDF

From Virgin to Ritz Carlton, the luxury cruise industry grows larger every day, and with it, Florida continues to dominate the industry. Now yet another cruise line has decided to make Florida its home. According to posts by the company on LinkedIn and comments by real estate firm NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, Mystic Cruises USA, the North American division of the new boutique luxury cruise line Mystic Cruises, will be headquartered in Fort Lauderdale. 

Image via Mystic Cruises

Mystic Cruises USA is just the latest cruise line to pick Florida for its headquarters. Disney Cruise Lines is headquartered in Celebration with Royal Caribbean and Carnival both based out of Miami. Soon-to-launch cruise lines Virgin Voyages and Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will be headquartered in Plantation and Coconut Grove, respectively. 

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Experience is Everything: 4 CRE Sectors Keeping Up

It’s 2019 and experience is everything. The focus on experience has been steadily growing, and it’s become a full-blown obsession in nearly every major industry. CRE is no stranger to the concept of created experiences, and some sectors are totally dominating the game.

Let’s look at how these 4 rockstar CRE industries are utilizing created experiences to stay current and attract business.

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NEWS PICK-UP: Northbridge Centre Trades Hands for $98 Million

Please enjoy excerpts below from the original article by Alexandra Clough, Business Writer at the Palm Beach Post, featuring insights from Neil Merin. View PDF | View Article Link

The Northbridge Centre office tower last week traded hands for $98 million, as investors continue to pour money into West Palm Beach property. The 21-story office tower at 515 N. Flagler Drive sold to 515 N. Flagler Drive Owner LLC, a partnership of C-III Capital Partners and Vanderbilt Office Properties, according to sources. The tower’s prior sale was in 2016, when it sold for $68 million.

Photo credit: ThePublishedReporter.com

The Northbridge sale took place after its recent owners, Connecticut-based Greenfield Partners and Crocker Partners of Boca Raton, spent three years and an estimated $15 million upgrading the office complex.

The black-glass office tower, nicknamed the Darth Vader building, underwent a renovation that included upgrades to its lobby and common areas and the construction of a conference facility. Some space was built out for prospective tenants, too.

The 294,000-square-foot Northbridge leased up with law firms and hedge funds but reportedly lost out on a big tenant, WeWork, the trendy co-working space. Word is WeWork took a hard look at Northbridge but decided not to lease space in West Palm Beach. Instead, the co-working space leased four floors in a new office tower in Miami.

As it stands, Northbridge still has plenty of vacant space, at a time when two new office complexes, Rosemary 360 and One West Palm, are being built.

Peter Reed, Managing Partner of Commercial Florida Realty Services, which handled Northbridge’s leasing, said new tenants such as Evercore Wealth Management and Atlantic Street Capital bolstered the county’s efforts to brand downtown West Palm Beach the “Flagler Financial District.” Law firms such as Fisher Potter Hodas also took space in the tower, which Reed, a golf aficionado, said was a “chip shot” away from the courthouse.

Nevertheless, Neil Merin, chairman of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach, said the office tower still has about 54,000 square feet of vacant space. Merin said two full floors remain vacant, meaning that tenants wanting to be on the water still have good choices for space.

Brokers say there’s already plenty of office space available in downtown West Palm Beach right now. In fact, Merin recently made a presentation before an Urban Land Institute conference in West Palm Beach on the topic. In his speech, he noted downtown’s 17 percent vacancy rate, featuring about 285,000 square feet of available space.

360 Rosemary Square, a 297,000 SF Class-A office development coming to West Palm Beach. Photo Credit: www.rosemarysquarewpb.com

Brokers characterized the West Palm Beach office market as a “move around market,” with new office buildings usually poaching tenants from existing buildings. Few large new office users come to the market. The Comvest deal is a perfect example of this trend, they said.

This fact contradicts statements by developers, business and government leaders who maintain there is an immediate and desperate need for more Class A space downtown.

Merin said in the short term, the supply of office space might swell to more than 786,000 square feet with the addition of two more office complexes, keeping office rents in check.

In the long run, however, Merin expects downtown West Palm Beach’s office space will fill up as more financial and business firms move to Florida from high-tax states in the Northeast.

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PRESS RELEASE: 1 E Broward’s Newest Tenants: Tech, Law, Construct & Cruise

West Palm Beach, Fla. – NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, one of South Florida’s leading commercial real estate firms, has completed nearly 33,000-square-feet of lease transactions at 1EBroward on behalf of 1 E Broward Owner, LLC, who purchased the property in the fourth quarter of 2018. The property is a Class-A, 19-story, 351,705 square foot downtown Fort Lauderdale professional office building.

1 E Broward delivers Class-A Office Space in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

NAI/Merin Hunter Codman Chairman, Neil E. Merin, SIOR, CCIM who leases the property with Associate, Maxwell Pawk stated, “It is no secret the downtown Broward office market is exploding. 1 E Broward is located on the hard corner of Andrews Avenue and Broward Boulevard, a short walk, Uber or scooter ride from the Brightline station. Its location is what drives interest in the property. It is the first-class amenities, like the property’s shuttle service, concierge and state-of-the-art fitness center that allow the property to edge above its competition.” 

Recent lease transactions include:

  • 17,000 SF lease renewal to national law firm, Hinshaw Culbertson
  • 7,000 SF lease to Mystic Cruise Lines, the Portuguese cruise expedition company’s US headquarter location
  • 5,200 SF lease to information and technology company, Beesion Technologies
  • 2,200 SF lease to national general contractor, Falcon Construction
  • 1,400 SF lease to law firm Slatkin & Reynolds

View the Full Press Release | 1 E Broward Website

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EVENT: BDB CRE Roundtable

NAI/Merin Hunter Codman, Inc. and Tricera Capital had the honor of hosting the BDB‘s Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Round Table at the former Palm Beach Post building, now being rebranded as “The Press”. While there will be a retail/industrial component, Scott Sherman (Principal of Tricera) shared renovation plans for the office portion which will be called “Workplaces at The Press”. He detailed how the common areas will focus on fresh, innovative design that encourages community like flexible work and meeting spaces, pods/phone booths, and a lounge/event room. NAI/Merin Hunter Codman is excited to handle the property management and leasing assignment for this exciting new concept.

Rendering of proposed lobby renovation at “The Press”

The BDB shared their 2018-2019 fiscal and marketing goals, which includes creating new jobs, attracting capital investments and bringing more than 1 million square feet of newly leased/constructed space to the County. An exciting note mentioned was biotech company Beacon Pharmaceutical, which is planning to build a state-of-the-art life science/healthcare complex in Jupiter.

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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.”

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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.)

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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.”

Original article: PDF | View Article

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PRESS RELEASE PICK-UPS: 951 Yamato / PBC’s Largest Transaction of 2018

Several media organizations have picked up our Press Release on the TherapeuticsMD lease transaction at our 951 Yamato property in Boca Raton. The deal is the largest lease transaction in Palm Beach County for this year.

CoStar Group – View PDF | View Article

South Florida Business Journal – View PDF | View Article

Sun Sentinel – View PDF | View Article

CRE-Sources – View PDF | View Article

Boca Chamber – View PDF | View Article

Chamber of Commerce Palm Beaches – View PDF | View Article

DBR – View PDF | View Article

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