In May of 2019, developer and billionaire Jeff Greene launched multiple Palm Beach projects. In addition to starting construction on Clear Lake Estates and moving forward with other plans, Greene had just broken ground on One West Palm, a two-tower, 30-story mixed-use project in downtown West Palm Beach. However, in April 2020, the developer threatened to stop construction on the massive building. Here is more on Jeff Greene’s Project in West Palm Beach:
Jeff Greene v. The City of West Palm Beach
In 2016, Green agreed with the City of West Palm Beach to develop the two towers that were to become One West Palm. The 250-million-dollar project has been under development for five years and is Greene’s most extensive in the city.
When Green initiated the project, the city approved zoning for specific square footage that was approved for hotel, office, and multifamily use. The city agreed to a zoning change to allow the building’s height to be increased to 30 stories to provide for the project’s mixed-uses. This was a marked change from the usual ten stories permitted for buildings at that time.
Although one West Palm tower was planned to have 328 apartments, Greene now believes that the remaining space would be better used as multifamily property instead of for office and hotel space. With 200,000 square feet of commercial spaces remaining unleased, Greene requested that the city allow a zoning change to all multifamily use. However, city Mayor Keith James is refusing to make yet another zoning change for the One West Palm project. The City has taken the position that the time to address these issues was long before now and that Greene should be held to the original terms of his bargain.
Having already invested $100 million into construction, Green doesn’t see the value in moving forward with the office or hotel components of the project. At one point, Greene threatened to walk away from the project without finishing construction if the city did not agree to a zoning change. However, he has since indicated that he plans to apply for rezoning and finish the project. Greene has acknowledged the wisdom in completing construction and reported that he might ultimately sell the building later.
Some have speculated that One West Palm’s occupancy problems have come from competition with comparable Class-A Office buildings in the area. With more people adapting to working from home, it remains to be seen if office spaces such as these will remain vacant in Palm Beach.
At Rabideau Klein, we have extensive experience handling multi-million-dollar transactions for high-end real estate in Palm Beach County. David E. Klein Esq. and Guy Rabideau, Esq. are Florida Board-Certified Real Estate attorneys with the expertise and local knowledge you need to assist you in managing your residential and commercial real estate issues. Contact Rabideau Klein today to discuss your real estate legal needs.