Tortoise Properties pays $19M for downtown West Palm multifamily dev site

Eucalyptus Street property approved for 264-unit project

Jake Geleerd, CEO, Tortoise Properties, behind a rendering of the planned West Palm Beach multifamily development (Tortoise Properties)
Jake Geleerd, CEO, Tortoise Properties, behind a rendering of the planned West Palm Beach multifamily development (Tortoise Properties)

Tortoise Properties bought a downtown West Palm Beach multifamily development site for $18.8 million.

Tortoise, based in Chicago and West Palm Beach, bought the 2.25-acre vacant property at 370 and 375 Eucalyptus Street from an affiliate of Austin, Texas-based Cypress Real Estate Advisors, records show.

The developer plans to embark on a 264-unit apartment project for which the seller already obtained approvals, Tortoise’s CEO Jake Geleerd told The Real Deal.

West Palm Beach and its downtown are growing, creating the need for more apartments as the existing buildings are fully leased, Geleerd said.

The approved project, called Cielo, would include two eight-story buildings covering lots immediately to the north and south of Eucalyptus Street and would be connected with a bridge. The development also is approved for 371 parking spots and 3,401 square feet of retail, although more retail space could be developed, Geleerd said.

Attorneys Marcia Langley and Charles Abrams led the Greenberg Traurig team that represented the seller’s affiliate. Susan Thomas and Robert Anderson from Touchstone Webb brokered the deal on behalf of the buyer.

The deal was off-market, with Geleerd approaching the seller, which was about to apply for a building permit, according to a Greenberg Traurig news release.

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Property records show the site last traded for $3.3 million in 2020.

Downtown West Palm Beach is quickly evolving into a major office hub, targeting the influx of out-of-state financial firms either expanding or relocating there.

Stephen Ross’ Related Companies is the biggest Class A office tower owner downtown, buying two properties and half of the interest in a third, and completing one building and embarking on another this year.

Geleerd cited his site’s proximity to Jeff Greene’s One West Palm apartment and office project under construction at 550 Quadrille Boulevard. He also pointed to the Nora District, a long-overlooked northern section of downtown West Palm poised for redevelopment under a set of new building regulations.

Cypress Real Estate Advisors, led by John Burnham and Dudley Simmons, built the Loftin Place apartment complex adjacent to the site it just sold. Cypress sold Loftin in 2017 for $63.5 million.

Tortoise has been expanding in Palm Beach County. It also owns the Jupiter Innovation Center and an office building within the Park at Broken Sound in Boca Raton.

Tortoise plans to start construction of Cielo in 2022, according to the company’s press release.