Boca Raton is attracting some of the highest office leasing activity. What that means for the city’s future

Boca Raton is attracting some of the highest office leasing activity. What that means for the city’s future

Sun Sentinel, Abigail Hasebroock, 2.07.23

Boca Raton’s office leasing activity led the way in South Florida in 2022 and 2023, surpassing some more populous cities in the tricounty area, according to a recent analysis. It’s yet another indicator of the city’s growth — as well as the demand for office space across the region in a remote-working era.

Boca Raton’s total significant leasing activity last year was higher than any other city in Palm Beach County, according to recent data compiled by the city’s Office of Economic Development and originating from Colliers 2023 Quarterly Office Reports.

“We have led the county in 2022 and 2023 for significant leasing activity,” said Jessica Del Vecchio, Boca Raton’s economic development manager. “What that means is we’ve leased more square footage from the commercial office side of the business than any other city in Palm

Beach County.”

What’s led to the city becoming an attractive area for “corporate headquarters and businesses of all sizes,” as city Mayor Scott Singer put it?

Del Vecchio believes the surge of leasing activity began as the world began to emerge out of COVID-19 constraints. The pandemic triggered heightened interest in South Florida in general, she said, which has especially flourished in Boca Raton.

Boca Raton has a “built-in workforce,” Del Vecchio said, a product of the universities dotting the area, namely Florida Atlantic University, Lynn University and Palm Beach State College.

“We have a lot of smart, well-educated, talented people here, and I think that’s what the draw is that sets us a part in South Florida as a whole,” she said. “It’s so important to be by where the workforce is when you’re bringing a company into an area.”

The COVID-19 pandemic also proved the feasibility and success of a hybrid working model, making opportunities like physically working in Florida for a New York-based company possible.

“We don’t have to work on Wall Street,” she said. “We can keep a presence on Wall Street, but we can relocate to an area that we want to be in, that’s low taxes.”

The leasing activity momentum continues into 2024 with the announcement of six lease agreements at the Boca Raton Innovation Campus, or BRiC.

On Jan. 18, the CP Group, the developers behind the revitalization efforts to BRiC, announced in a statement four new tenants and two lease renewals with one expansion.

Those six tenants are: Engineering Express, a structural engineering firm; Hollywood.com, an entertainment company; LandAirSea (LAS), a GPS tracking system manufacturer; MODE Architects, a full-service architecture and design firm; EdgeMed, a revenue cycle management platform for medical organizations, and Orchid Bay Financial Holdings, an investment firm, which is also renewing its lease.

This is one part of a $100 million project to transform the former IBM facility into an illustrious campus full of contemporary amenities along with residential units, a hotel, restaurants, retail and more.

“We are continuing to see an influx of cutting-edge companies flocking to South Florida in search of flexible, yet turnkey, workspaces to meet the needs of their employees,” said Michael Perrette, general manager for BRiC, in the statement.

BRiC is yet another component of Boca Raton’s growth, which is only projected to progress as other projects such as the Center for Arts and Innovation continue to advance, and people keep taking advantage of recent additions to the city, such as the Brightline service.

“We are poised on making ourselves attractive to new investment and we engage our community stakeholders in conversations,” Mayor Singer said. “I think employers want to see a city like ours poised on what’s ahead for the next century.”