Stephen Ross bets on West Palm office development — again

Related Companies plans 25-story 515 Fern next to downtown Brightline station

Stephen Ross can’t get enough of downtown West Palm Beach.

Already the biggest office property owner in the city, Ross’ Related Companies now plans a 25-story building that will bring 456,000 square feet of work space and 15,000 square feet of retail to downtown West Palm, according to a company news release.

The tower, called 515 Fern, will rise next to the Brightline passenger train station and steps from the 360 Rosemary office building, which Related completed last year and has fully leased.

Public records show that a half-acre lot immediately east of 360 Rosemary bears the address 515 Fern Street.

The site owner ties to a Montreal-based entity affiliated with Normand Lepine, according to state corporate filings. The ownership entity paid $5 million in 2010 for the lot, which now has a 6,000-square-foot office building, a deed shows.

Construction will start next year, with completion expected by 2025, according to the release.

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New York-based Related also is developing the 25-story One Flagler office building, dubbed the “hedge fund tower” for its expected financial tenant base, at the foot of the Royal Park Bridge, overlooking the Lake Worth Lagoon.

Aside from new construction, Related has been on a shopping spree in downtown West Palm.
Last year, it purchased the two-tower Phillips Point; as well as CityPlace Tower, which Related originally developed in 2008 with CP Group; and half of the ownership interest in Esperanté Corporate Center for an undisclosed amount.

In February, Related and partners paid $35 million for the Reflections office properties at 400 and 450 South Australian Avenue, also in downtown West Palm.

Ross’ bet on the area started more than two decades ago when Related completed the mixed-use complex Rosemary Square, rebranded as The Square last year, following a facelift.

His wager on offices comes as downtown West Palm has become a magnet for financial firms. Related likely is leveraging its Big Apple connections to help fill its buildings.

Among recent leases, Larry Find’s investment management behemoth BlackRock subleased a 360 Rosemary space that company employees have come to call the “snowbird office.”