Dou­glas El­li­man lands plaza space va­cated by Cor­co­ran.

Palm Beach Daily News - - BUSINESS - By DAR­RELL HOFHEINZ

The Cor­co­ran Group has as­sisted hun­dreds of Palm Beach house hun­ters and sell­ers close deals since the New York-based agency en­tered the is­land’s real es­tate mar­ket in 2003. But the agency re­cently took part in a lit­tle real-es­tate ac­tion on its own be­half. It moved its 108 agents from the sec­ond-floor of­fice the agency leased for 10 years in Royal Poin­ciana Plaza to new digs across town at 400 Royal Palm Way. Mean­while, Dou­glas El­li­man Real Es­tate — Cor­co­ran’s for­mer neigh­bor in the plaza — has laid plans to move into about 3,000 square feet of space va­cated by its com­peti­tor and could open its new of­fice by the end of the com­ing sea­son, ac­cord­ing to El­li­man and plaza of­fi­cials.

Cor­co­ran’s new home is in leased space — com­pris­ing half of the ground floor — in Suite 110 of the four-story of­fice build­ing on the south­west cor­ner of Co­coanut Row. The new of­fice com­prises about 3,000 square feet and com­ple­ments an­other 750 square feet the agency took on the sec­ond floor.

Newly re­mod­eled, the ground-floor space had pre­vi­ously been a bank branch un­til Citibank closed there a cou­ple of years ago. Other ground-floor ten­ants in­clude the Palm Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Palm Beach Daily News.

Cor­co­ran’s pre­vi­ous space at the plaza, at 340 Co­coanut Row, mea­sured about 5,000 square feet. And Cor­co­ran had deep roots at the plaza. The New York­based agency en­tered the Palm Beach mar­ket in 2003 with the ac­qui­si­tion of the old Paulette Koch Real Es­tate agency, which at the time had its of­fices at the plaza. Cor­co­ran soon re­lo­cated to a nearby build­ing at 101 N. County Road be­fore mov­ing back to the plaza in 2008.

A ‘nat­u­ral fit’ on Bankers Row

Now that it has moved into its new build­ing, Cor­co­ran is fin­ish­ing up plans to ex­pand its Palm Beach County op­er­a­tions with the ad­di­tion of its first of­fice in down­town West Palm Beach, said Cor­co­ran Se­nior Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor John Hack­ett, whose re­gional du­ties in­clude over­see­ing the Palm Beach bro­ker­age. The agency also has a lo­ca­tion in Del­ray Beach.

Hack­ett said the down­town of­fice should be open by mid-Novem­ber in Suite 260 of the City Palms mixed-use build­ing, 480 Hi­bis­cus St. Be­tween 35 and 40 agents will re­lo­cate from the is­land to West

Palm, Hack­ett said.

“I think it was a good move for us to be here on Bankers Row,” Hack­ett said, re­fer­ring to the long­time nick­name of Royal Palm Way. The moniker is a nod to the street’s many fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and se­cu­ri­ties firm, but the street is also home to sev­eral real es­tate at­tor­neys and es­tate plan­ners.

“Their clients are our clients. It was a nat­u­ral fit,” said Hack­ett, who ear­lier this year took the po­si­tion held for many years by Bill Yahn.

Cor­co­ran’s move leaves two other res­i­den­tial real es­tate agen­cies at Royal Poin­ciana Plaza in ad­di­tion to Dou­glas El­li­man. Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty — owned by Cor­co­ran’s New York-based par­ent com­pany, the mas­sive NRT con­glom­er­ate — leases space at its long­time home on the plaza’s south­west cor­ner.

An­other long­time plaza ten­ant Brown Har­ris Stevens, which va­cated the plaza in sum­mer 2017 af­ter its lease ex­pired, moved back in July. The agency’s newly re­mod­eled space com­prises more than 1,500 square feet in Suite 104 at the plaza’s his­toric Slat House of­fice build­ing at 50 Co­coanut Row.

Lease had ex­pired

Fac­ing an ex­pir­ing lease, Cor­co­ran made the de­ci­sion to move from Royal Poin­ciana Plaza months ago, Hack­ett said, echo­ing Alexan­dra Pat­ter­son, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for Up Mar­kets the plaza’s man­ager.

Since Up Mar­kets took charge of the land­marked plaza four years ago, the com­pany has car­ried out an ex­ten­sive face-lift and shuf­fled the mix of clients to fo­cus on hav­ing lux­ury re­tail stores on the ground floor. Mov­ing Dou­glas El­li­man out of its first-floor space and into larger sec­ond-floor of­fice space on the north­east side of the plaza falls right in line with that fo­cus.

“As we have with all ten­ants over the last four years, our team had con­ver­sa­tions with Cor­co­ran about how their space func­tions and what their size re­quire­ments are,” Pat­ter­son said. “These con­ver­sa­tions con­cluded with our team and Cor­co­ran de­cid­ing that the end of their lease was the right time for them to open in a new space. We’re thrilled that they were able to find a space that fit their team’s needs.”

Pat­ter­son added: “Sim­i­larly, we spoke with Dou­glas El­li­man about their needs for the fu­ture, they were in­ter­ested to learn about the for­mer Cor­co­ran space and we are ex­cited that they will move into that space in 2019.”

Dou­glas El­li­man has had a ground­floor of­fice at the shop­ping cen­ter since the New York-based agency opened its first Palm Beach of­fice in 2012 with the ac­qui­si­tion of the old Martha A. Got­tfried Inc., an agency with a long­time pres­ence at the plaza. El­li­man’s cur­rent home mea­sures about 2,000 square feet and it will add an­other 1,000 square feet when it makes its move. The agency has about 125 agents on its Palm Beach ros­ter, Parker’s of­fice con­firmed.

“We have felt tremen­dous con­fi­dence in the repo­si­tion­ing of Royal Poin­ciana Plaza, and we felt it was a great op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand our (Palm Beach) of­fice,” said Jay Parker, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Dou­glas El­li­man Florida, whose agency has county of­fices in Jupiter, Wellington, Boca Ra­ton and Del­ray Beach as well as a pres­ence in Mi­ami-Dade County.

“We re­ally felt that Royal Poin­ciana Plaza has be­come sort of an epi­cen­ter for the com­mu­nity,” Parker said, not­ing that his lease is still ac­tive.

Brown Har­ris Stevens, how­ever, had no in­ter­est in leas­ing sec­ond-floor space once its lease ex­pired, said bro­ker Ava Van de Wa­ter, who over­sees Palm Beach op­er­a­tions. The Slat House lo­ca­tion — di­rectly across the park­ing lot from the Her­mès bou­tique — proved a good fit when the agency moved two months ago.

“We wanted to be on the ground floor,” Van de Wa­ter said. “We’re thrilled with the new of­fice. Ev­ery­one loves it.” That of­fice com­ple­ments Brown Har­ris Stevens’ head­quar­ters at 353 Worth Ave. and its West Palm Beach of­fice in Suite C1 at 1970 S. Dixie High­way. The New York-based agency also has a di­vi­sion in Mi­ami.

Un­der new own­er­ship

Across town, Cor­co­ran’s sign is sched­uled to go up shortly above the build­ing’s en­trance on Royal Palm Way, Hack­ett said.

He added that he is look­ing to add new agents in Palm Beach and at the new of­fice in West Palm. “We are very, very fo­cused, among other things, on re­cruit­ing,” Hack­ett said.

Cor­co­ran’s Palm Beach lease was inked be­fore res­i­dent and real es­tate in­vestor Tom Quick and his brother, Les­lie C. Quick, in March paid a recorded $14.75 mil­lion for the four-story, 27,530-square­foot of­fice build­ing on Royal Palm Way. Com­mer­cial bro­ker Con­stance Thomas of Tower Com­mer­cial Real Es­tate in West Palm Beach acted op­po­site Cor­co­ran in the leas­ing deal.

Cor­co­ran ne­go­ti­ated the lease with the build­ing’s pre­vi­ous owner, Crocker Part­ners, which sold the build­ing to the Quick brothers’ com­pany, Kin­sale Part­ners

LLC. The lease trans­ferred with the sale.

Dar­rell Hofheinz / Daily News

The Cor­co­ran Group has moved from its long­time home at Royal Poin­ciana Plaza to the ground floor of this of­fice build­ing at 400 Royal Palm Way on the south­west cor­ner of Co­coanut Row.


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