The Esperante Corporate Center building on Lakeview Avenue might soon have a new owner. According to several real estate sources, Parkway Properties of Orlando was selected as the winning bidder for the property, with a price likely to be more than $80 million. The deal still is in the works and is not yet closed, sources said.
Esperante is a 246,000-square-foot trophy building known as one of downtown West Palm Beach’s signature properties.
In January 2009, it was sold to a CB Richard Ellis fund for a $67.55 million. The sale was part of a larger portfolio of office buildings outside the state.
The economy at the time was grim. Nationwide, companies were shedding thousands of jobs. Locally, the Esperante’s occupancy rate had slipped from 95 percent in 2005 to about 64 percent when CBRE picked up the property.
Since then, a number of new deals involving firms new to the market have been struck at Esperante, bringing the building’s occupancy rate up to about 75 percent.
During the past two years, CBRE also has embarked on a makeover of the property, pouring $6 million into building upgrades.
Word is that CBRE wanted to sell Esperante packaged in a group with other properties but instead is selling the properties piecemeal.
Through the years, prices for the property have been all over the map. In 2003, Trizec Properties, which bought Esperante in 1998 for $39 million, sold the building for $60.8 million to Rockwood Capital. Two years later, in November 2005, Rockwood flipped the 222 Lakeview Avenue building to ING Clarion for a record $105 million. Then in 2008, ING Clarion started dumping assets. Although some market watchers said ING Clarion had hoped for a blockbuster figure of $115 million, Esperante ended up selling for a loss to the CBRE fund.
Source: Palm Beach Post
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