February 28, 2024

The City Commission voted 4-1 in favor of amending a lease agreement to allow the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel to undergo a big redevelopment.
Under the 100-year master lease, Rahn Bahia Mar LLC can build a $1 billion mixed-use development – featuring 256 new hotel rooms, 360 condo units and 88,000 square feet of commercial space –  on 39 acres of city-owned land.
In exchange, Rahn Bahia Mar will pay the city an average of $15.5 million annually, according to Ken Krasnow, vice chairman of institutional investor services for Florida with Colliers International. Fort Lauderdale now earns $1.5 million a year from the property.
The April 5 approval of the master lease isn’t the final hurdle for the developer. Rahn Bahia Mar LLC, led by Kenny and James “Jimmy” Tate of North Miami-based Tate Capital and Sergio Rok of Rok Acquisitions in Aventura, still need the city’s final approval for a site plan. 
Bahia Mar is an anchor of the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, a major sales driver for South Florida’s $12.5 billion marine industry.
Boat show owner Marine Industries Association of South Florida, which subleases the Bahia Mar Marina from the Tate brothers and Rok, recently sued the developers, but told elected officials it’s not against the passage of the master lease since it will give the event some security from litigation by future condo dwellers. 
Yet, MIASF CEO and President Phil Purcell said issues remain with Rahn Bahia Mar’s plans that could jeopardize the boat show’s survival. 
Alain Boileau, Fort Lauderdale’s city attorney, said the spat between Rahn Bahia Mar and the boat show shouldn’t influence the city’s decision. 
“It really is not our fight,” he told elected officials. 
According to MIASF and Yachting Promotions’ estimates, the annual boat show supports 149,000 marine industry jobs in South Florida and has a $1.8 billion impact on Florida’s economy.
Jimmy Tate told the Business Journal that the Bahia Mar project will have a $1.43 billion impact and support 2,317 jobs.
Dozens of citizens spoke out against the lease deal, with some residents, including former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle, demanding a referendum on any lease deal at the Bahia Mar site.
Mitsubishi Electric U.S. subsidiary seeks office, warehouse space in Miami area
The elevator and escalator division of Mitsubishi Electric U.S. is looking for office and warehouse space in South Florida.
Margie Harvey, the division’s director of marketing and corporate responsibility, said the company began its search for a Miami facility to store materials and add workers after it secured a “big job” in the city.
“The way our division works is that we win a large job and go to market in that area,” Harvey told the Business Journal.
That big job is Crescent Heights’ Nema Miami project at 2900 Biscayne Blvd., in the Edgewater neighborhood. 
The company is providing five passenger elevators in the residential tower in addition to two low-rise, glass-back machine room-less (MRL) passenger elevators, six escalators and three cart conveyors for the retail portion, Harvey said.
“The high-speed elevators will be equipped with Mitsubishi Destination Oriented Allocation System controls and include the ability to initiate a call for service via smartphone,” she added.
The company currently has up to 10 employees slated for the Nema project, Harvey said. However, it expects to hire more employees as it sets up a Miami office and secures more contracts. 
Mitsubishi Electric is already looking for a Miami branch manager and a field office staff of up to 10 people for services, sales, and logistics and operations. The branch hires its elevator constructors via unions, she added.
Mike Eden, director of Mitsubishi’s elevator/escalator division on the East Coast, said opening an office in Miami is a “logical” next step in its business growth strategy.
“With over 300 high-rises, Miami is an ideal location for Mitsubishi Electric U.S. Our elevators, escalators, modernization and maintenance service offerings are an excellent match for this expanding metropolis,” he said.
Mitsubishi Electric has not yet secured a broker to help it locate flex space, Harvey said. 
This won’t be the company’s first office in Florida. The division opened an office in Tampa in November 2017, soon after landing a big job installing elevators, including its unique spiral elevators, at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.
Mitsubishi Electric U.S.’ elevator and escalator division is based in Cypress, California, and is part of the Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
New York investment firms lease South Florida offices
Two investment firms based in the Empire State are putting down roots in the Sunshine State.
Black Bear Capital Partners, a subsidiary of financial advisory and asset management firm Black Bear Asset Management, leased a 3,000-square-foot space at 1650 S. Dixie Highway in Boca Raton, where it plans to hire.
The firm opened an office in Palm Beach County to serve its Florida clients and expand its market share in the region, BBCP spokesman Russ Colchamiro told the Business Journal
Boca Raton office will be led by Eric Trombly, a senior managing director who was affiliated with the firm’s Chicago team since March 2020. Prior to that, he was senior VP of Boca Raton-based Meridian Capital Group for more than six years. 
Marlon Johnson and Sam Warnick will be Black Bear Capital’s director and associate director, respectively. Johnson and Warnick also previously worked at Meridian Capital.
Colchamiro said BBCP will hire additional financial advisers for the Boca Raton office. 
Further south, Vibrant Capital Partners moved into 3,000 square feet on the eighth floor of the 20-story 1200 Brickell Ave. in Miami in January. Vibrant will also take over a 1,000-square-foot space on the penthouse floor by January 2023, according to Liz Kamper, communications specialist for CBRE Group. 
Arden Karson of Karson & Co. and Carol Ellis-Cutler of CBRE Group represented the firm in the lease deal. 
“Vibrant’s decision to open a second office in Florida was motivated by our desire to continue to attract and retain top talent as well as meet the evolving needs of our global clientele,” said Rocky Chung, Vibrant Capital’s deputy COO.
Quest Workspaces doubles down on West Palm Beach
A South Florida-based coworking company increased its office space by more than 100% in downtown West Palm Beach.
Quest Workspaces will move into 13,164 square feet on the fourth floor of the Northbridge Centre, at 515 N. Flagler Drive, in October, according to a news release from CBRE Group. 
Quest already occupies 12,783 square feet on the building’s third floor. This deal gives the company a total of 25,947 square feet within the 21-story tower.
Kevin Probel and Kevin McCarthy represented landlords Vanderbilt Office Properties and C-III Capital Partners. Lance Benson of Newmark Group represented Quest.
Quest’s West Palm Beach clientele includes Louisville, Kentucky-based insurance giant Humana, West Palm Beach-based health technology company Bravado Health, and Cleveland-based Third Federal Savings & Loan.
Quest CEO Laura Kozelouzek said the additional space will accommodate 150 new clients.
“We are doubling the size of our coworking center because we have seen a consistent increase in demand for our Northbridge location in West Palm,” she said. 
The migration of out-of-state companies – mainly in the finance sector –  to West Palm Beach’s central business district has made its office submarket the most expensive in South Florida. In the fourth quarter of 2021, West Palm Beach CBD asking rents averaged $66.06 a square foot, according to a report from Colliers International.
Quest Workspaces was founded in Miami in 2010. The company has nine locations in Florida: including two in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, Coral Gables, Doral, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation and Boca Raton.
The last thing they want to do is sign a five-year lease.”
Luis Perez of The Instant Group, on the growing demand for flexible coworking spaces in South Florida
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