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The Pandemic Transforms West Palm Beach, Florida, Into an Office Boomtown

The two projects, together with two other linked buildings, are expected to boost overall office space in the city’s central business area by more than 50%, to 4.3 million sq ft, up from 2.8 million sq ft last year, according to CBRE Group statistics. Inc.

West Palm Beach has long been eclipsed by Palm Beach, which is wealthier and more well-known to the east. It never had a lot of office space, partially because financial professionals only came on weekends or for a few weeks during the winter, then went back to their New York offices in the spring. “It was a different market in the summer than it was in the winter,” said Stephen Ross, president of Relate.

The epidemic is starting to change that. Many finance professionals relocated to South Florida to work remotely after their offices were shuttered for months. Meanwhile, the epidemic has led many businesses to reconsider their office strategy and establish outposts in low-tax states like Florida. A new rail connection for the city of Miami, which opened in 2018, also benefits West Palm Beach.

“People can now telecommute, and it’s becoming more universally accepted,” CBRE executive vice president John Criddle said. He claims that the leasing market has never been so active and that the city’s office space would quadruple in the next five years.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is a financial services firm based in New York City.

and the investment company Elliott Management Corp. have signed leases on a similar property in West Palm Beach that was recently finished. Over the last 18 months, 75 percent of West Palm Beach office space has been handed to new enterprises, according to Gopal Rajegowda, a partner at Relate.

During the epidemic, Florida has reaped the benefits of corporate migration. High-tax states like New York and California have been drawing financial and technological enterprises to Miami.

Related, best known for constructing Manhattan’s Hudson Yards district, has a long history of development in South Florida, with a presence in West Palm Beach dating back decades. Mr. Ross also owns the Miami Dolphins, a professional football franchise.

Arquitectonica and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will design Related’s two new West Palm Beach buildings, which will each cover around 450,000 square feet and incorporate offices, retail space, and a theater. If approved, the corporation will apply for redeployment to build projects, with the goal of completing them in three years.

Related is also building a 25-story office skyscraper designed by David Childs, and it bought three office sites and two senior housing developments in West Palm Beach this year, solidifying its position as the city’s leading private owner. strengthens. Following the completion of the two most recent developments, the business will have a total of around 4 million square feet of real estate in West Palm Beach, including about 2.5 million square feet of office space.

Mr. Ross dated the rising demand for office space in West Palm Beach back to the beginning of the epidemic. “People came down here and remained for a month or two in June or July before moving north to see what Florida was like during those months,” he explained. “It created a whole new dynamic that didn’t exist before,” says the author.