United Technologies may receive approval from Palm Beach Gardens as soon as next month for its 265,000-square-foot, six-story tower, and industry insiders say the project could be a boon for the market, The Real Deal has learned.
The building, in the city’s Briger tract near I-95 and Donald Ross Road, will be a showcase facility for the building technologies produced by UT’s Building & Industrial Systems unit, which includes the Carrier air conditioner and Otis elevator brands. UT hopes to complete the development next year.
“It’s an interesting and world renown building, because it will be a showcase—a demonstration of cutting edge building technology,” Neil Merin, chairman of NAI Merin Hunter Codman in West Palm Beach, told TRD. “This will bring people from all over the globe to Palm Beach County.”
UT also has promised to bring 380 new jobs that pay an average salary of $85,000 by 2020. “It will bring cars on the street,” Cliff Hertz, a real estate lawyer at Broad and Cassel in West Palm Beach, told TRD. UT also may bring other companies in its wake. “We do have a herd mentality,” Hertz said. “If they are there, others will look too.”
The area where UT will locate is officially designated for life sciences (the company received a waiver). “But there are plenty of other spaces for people to go,” Hertz said.
Jonathan Satter, managing director of commercial real estate services firm Avison Young in West Palm Beach, told TRD he already has been contacted by companies that provide technology services to UT and are “aggressively seeking a presence nearby. I think you will see a steady stream of companies that provide some level of service or capacity to UT coming with them,” Satter said.
One firm is considering moving 50 jobs here, he said.
Merin said UT’s presence will solidify northern Palm Beach County’s status as an engineering hub, which now has a focus on energy and aerospace. NextEra Energy and its subsidiary Florida Power & Light are based in Juno Beach, and several major aerospace companies have a presence in the area.
UT’s plan to build in Palm Beach Gardens comes after it decided in June to sell its Sikorsky Aircraft business, which has a facility in Jupiter.