PEBB Enterprises and joint venture partner Banyan Development closed another major office acquisition in the companies’ home base of Boca Raton. The venture paid $37.5 million for a long-term ground leasehold interest position in the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University®, consisting of a portfolio of seven multi-tenant office buildings totaling 308,305 square feet.
The sale of the ground lease closed on April 28. The seller was an international sovereign wealth fund represented by Avison Young’s Florida Capital Markets Group.
PEBB and Banyan plan to embark on a substantial improvement program to upgrade the office-based research park and drive leasing activity in conjunction with the Research Park at FAU’s existing economic development team. The portfolio is currently 65% occupied. It is the only state university-affiliated research park in South Florida and considered a premier technology business incubator for the region.
Not only does the Research Park at FAU possess strong fundamentals in central Boca Raton, but it also has immediate access to a talented and motivated workforce and direct connection to the FAU campus. The Research Park at FAU allows for companies to work in partnership with FAU faculty across the University’s ten (10) colleges to collaborate and transform the property into a cutting-edge research & development park that can strengthen and diversify Boca Raton’s business community.
Collective goals are to grow and evolve the park as a leading university-affiliated healthcare and medical hub, as well as a biotech advanced engineering center, building upon a community where entrepreneurs and academic researchers come together to collaborate and develop thriving businesses. The group also sees tremendous opportunity in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, machine learning and others where the University already has a significant presence.
The long-term lease landlord remains the Research Park at FAU’s governing Authority, the Florida Atlantic Research and Development Authority, with a dual research and development and economic development mission, aligned with Florida Atlantic University. PEBB and Banyan have worked closely with the Research Park at FAU and will continue to work with it to pursue its mission.
“The commitment of the PEBB and Banyan teams to strengthening the tenant roster with companies focused on R&D and creating new technological and economic energy for Boca Raton and Palm Beach County is very exciting as we continue to seek to be the premier destination for innovative R&D companies in Florida,” said Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park at FAU.
For PEBB, the acquisition continues a trend of investing in Boca Raton office properties with value-add potential. In 2021, the company purchased the 1801 Building in Midtown Boca and 5900 Building within the Park at Broken Sound.
“This is a unique opportunity to own and operate prime office space adjacent to the FAU campus,” said PEBB Enterprises President and CEO Ian Weiner. “The portfolio’s immediate access to I-95 and the Boca Raton Airport make it extremely appealing to tenants. We continue to target new investment opportunities in Boca Raton, which is underserved from an office supply standpoint.”
Located at 3600-3998 FAU Blvd., the office buildings were completed between 1998 and 2001.
The portfolio has a diverse mix of medical, technology and research businesses. Notable tenants include American Sugar Refining, Xeriant, Baptist Health Surgery Center, FAU College of Medicine Clinical Skills Simulation Center, Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Sandow Media, GenesisCare and 4ocean.
“We will target best-in-class tenants that complement the strong existing roster and align with the Research Park at FAU’s and the University’s broader mission,” said Jason Sher, Principal at Banyan Development.
Avison Young Principal Keith O’Donnell listed the portfolio on behalf of the seller and led the off-market transaction.
“It was clear to me who the perfect buyers for the Research Park at FAU would be from the start,” said O’Donnell. “PEBB and Banyan will bring a local, deep legacy experience to this incredible park.”
Avison Young’s Greg Martin, Principal and Managing Director of the firm’s Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton offices, and his team have generated value through leasing at the Research Park at FAU for the past decade. He, along with team members Justin Cope and Lisa Blumer, will continue to oversee leasing at the property.
“We are excited about the new ownership group and the energy they will bring to the property,” said Martin.
Boca Raton’s commercial real estate sector is consistently attracting national interest from companies seeking to expand or relocate their operations, according to City of Boca Raton Economic Development Manager Jessica Del Vecchio.
“The opportunity to work with PEBB Enterprises and Banyan Development, as local ownership of this property, will allow our team to work efficiently and effectively when new innovative startups come to town to scout office space in the highly sought-after Research Park at FAU,” said Del Vecchio.
PEBB and Banyan frequently partner on developments and investments in Palm Beach County. The companies developed the transformative Mainstreet at Boynton Beach project and jointly own the mixed-use Boca Lake in Boca Raton and a future development site in Delray Beach.