For law firms, office location is critical. Several factors determine where a firm will lease or purchase an office, building image, surrounding amenities, and traffic and commute time for employees. Many other considerations come into play, but for firms with a significant litigation practice, close proximity to the county circuit court can be critical. When “time is money,” litigators, court reporters, forensic accountants, and all of their supporting vendors need to get to and from the courthouse quickly and easily.
With that in mind, Berger Commercial Realty has created a Courthouse District Office Market Report, focusing on office buildings within a one-mile radius from each of the three county circuit courthouses – Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. Our report gives an overall indication of market conditions. Are we in a landlord-friendly market? A tenant-friendly market? A turning point between the two? There are many other variables to consider and we could not cover them all. If you’re considering a new office, renewal, expansion, or contraction, it’s always best to consult with a commercial real estate broker with local market knowledge and a track record of successfully representing office tenants, but this overview can get you started with your analysis.
Currently, Broward County’s Courthouse District is the tightest, with 10.2% vacancy within one mile of the Broward County Circuit Court. Class A is slightly higher at 11.7% vacancy, but Class B (3.6%) and Class C (1.2%) will present challenges for tenants, making a “plugged in” broker even more important to your search. This is a healthy vacancy rate, with leverage slightly in landlords’ favor. The Miami-Dade Courthouse District is a bit more favorable for tenants at this time, with overall vacancy at 14.3%. Class A space is at 15.5% (a great time to negotiate favorable terms!), Class B at 11.6%, and Class C at 3.8%. Palm Beach County’s Courthouse District is showing interesting statistics, with overall vacancy at 12.3%, a fair equilibrium of power for landlords and tenants. Class A space in the Palm Beach district is at 12.8%, Class B at 9.7%, but Class C is at 15.3%, bucking the trend of Class C buildings outperforming the market in other counties. For those needing low-cost space, this is an ideal time to negotiate in Palm Beach County.
Note that some buildings within an asset class or county may be outperforming or underperforming the rest of the market, and buildings (and portfolios) must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis when negotiating, to assess your bargaining power and obtain all that you should in your lease. Please call us with any questions regarding this report or your own requirement, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.