The Real Deal Miami

Office development perks up in Broward

Office vacancy is down to 15.7% for the first nine months of the year

October 15, 2015 12:45PM
By Mike Seemuth

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Rendering of Pembroke Pointe office building

Rendering of Pembroke Pointe office building

Two new office buildings are set to open in Broward County, ending a long countywide pause in office construction amid improving conditions for landlords.

The developers’ timing appears good: Office vacancy in Broward County was 15.7 percent in the first nine months of the year, down from 16.5 percent in 2014 and 19.3 percent in 2013, according to research by real estate brokerage JLL.

Indianapolis-based Duke Realty expects to obtain a certificate of occupancy for a four-story, 144,000-square-foot office building in Pembroke Pines called Pembroke Pointe, located along I-75 just south of Pembroke Road.

“We’re hoping to have a CO [certificate of occupancy] in less than a month,” said Edward P. Mitchell, Weston-based regional senior vice president of Florida operations for Duke Realty. “The parking lot and landscaping are going in now.”

Jeffrey M. Ostrow, developer of One West Las Olas in downtown Fort Lauderdale, said he expects to obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy for the seven-story, 31,000-square-foot office building sometime next week.
Ostrow, managing partner of law firm Kopelowitz Ostrow, P.A., said the office building will house the main office of his 45-lawyer firm. He said the other major tenant of the building will be Team Enterprises, a marketing company that leased about 11,000 square feet. “That will cover everything but the rooftop and the ground floor retail,” Ostrow said.

It has taken more than a decade to get One West Las Olas built, in part because Ostrow had to acquire three small parcels separately for the footprint of the office building. But One West Las Olas will open following a long drought in office development in downtown Fort Lauderdale and throughout Broward County.

“Vacancy rates are down and rents are up. People are starting to do things in full force again,” Ostrow said. “I suppose it’s luck, but the timing is very good … We’re the first Class A [office building] to open in a while.”

Mitchell, the Weston-based senior vice president of Duke Realty, said his company has not yet signed a tenant for its Pembroke Pines office building but said market conditions are favorable in southwest Broward County. Duke Realty acquired the land for the Pembroke Pointe office building about 10 years ago, “when we built the shopping center right next to it,” the open-air Shops at Pembroke Gardens.

“This is one of the first corporate Class A buildings built in Broward County as many as nine years,” Mitchell said.

Commercial brokerage firm JLL described 144,000-square-foot Pembroke Pointe as Broward’s “first major office delivery since the downturn” in the market in the late 2000s.

JLL also said in its third-quarter Broward office market report that the 10.3 percent vacancy rate in southwest Broward is the lowest among all suburban markets, including Cypress Creek, Plantation and Sawgrass Park.