ON THE MOVE
Douglas Elliman lands plaza space vacated by Corcoran.
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.
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.