From tenant to owner: CTS Engines buys 44-acre industrial facility in northern Palm Beach County

Buyer had invested $13M in building the testing, maintenance facility it leased

A photo illustration of 18855 Bee Line Highway in Palm Beach County (Bastian Laggerbauer of Colliers, Google Maps)
A photo illustration of 18855 Bee Line Highway in Palm Beach County (Bastian Laggerbauer of Colliers, Google Maps)

CTS Engines paid $16 million for the northern Palm Beach County industrial facility it has been leasing for jet engine testing.

CTS, a Fort Lauderdale-based turbine engine maintenance and repair company, purchased the 44.4-arce property at 18855 Bee Line Highway from Apogee Investment Partners, according to the broker’s news release. The property is in an unincorporated part of the county, northwest of Palm Beach Gardens.

Brian Neff manages Apogee, state corporate records show. Neff is founder and CEO of advanced propulsion systems designer and manufacturer Sintavia, and was a former CEO of CTS, according to Sintavia’s website.

Mark Rubin and Bastian Laggerbauer of Colliers represented the seller.

CTS, which had a long-term lease for the property, invested $12.7 million in building the facility. The site includes a high thrust turbine engine testing stand and other components that can accommodate aircraft engines, according to the release.

The property is mostly land with small buildings totaling 5,625 square feet, completed in 2014 and 2016, property records show. An entity called Neff Capital Management paid $975,000 for the site in 2011 and then transferred it to Apogee for a nominal $10, according to deeds.

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While marketing the property, a potential, “aggressive” buyer was in line to scoop up the facility, but CTS used a “right of first refusal” clause in its lease, to buy the real estate, the Colliers team said.

The deal comes on the heels of Neff, again through Apogee, selling a pair of Fort Lauderdale warehouses also leased to CTS for $14.9 million. North Miami Beach-based Elion Partners bought the properties at 3000 and 3060 Southwest Second Avenue near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in April.

The South Florida industrial market is one of the strongest in the region. A dwindling supply of developable land, coupled with high demand largely fueled by e-commerce growth, have created an environment of low vacancies and high rents.

In the first quarter, Palm Beach County’s industrial vacancy rate dropped to 4.5 percent from 7.4 percent during the same period last year, according to a JLL report. The average asking rent rose to $10.66 a square foot, a 12.6 percent increase, year-over-year.

In May, Woodmont Industrial Partners bought the 212,000-square-foot warehouse at 15501 Park of Commerce Boulevard in Jupiter for $21 million.

In February, Equus Capital Partners bought a pair of warehouses at 300 Northpoint Parkway and another facility at 1400 Northpoint Parkway in West Palm Beach for $41 million. The purchase was part of a 5.4 million-square-foot nationwide industrial portfolio that Equus Capital bought for a reported $930 million from Prologis.