Billionaire breaks ground on Palm Beach County’s tallest tower

The Related Cos., the development firm of billionaire Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, has revealed plans for the first new Class A office tower in downtown West Palm Beach in a decade.

Totaling 295,000 square feet, 360 Rosemary would rise at the corner of Rosemary Avenue and Evernia Street near CityPlace, a mixed-use project developed by New York-based Related Cos. It would also be near the new Brightline passenger rail station, which connects with Fort Lauderdale and Miami, with an Orlando stop planned later.

The company hopes to break ground on 360 Rosemary later this year, pending city approval. Company officials said they anticipate a vote by the city commission this summer.

The 18-story building would create more than 700 jobs and, once completed and leased, host about 1,000 employees.

“The office building at 360 Rosemary is part of Related Companies’ vision for the future of the downtown district – to transform the area from an entertainment destination into a thoughtful urban district, where residents and visitors are completely integrated into the fabric of the city,” said Gopal Rajegowda, senior VP of Related Cos. “The state-of-the art office building will allow the downtown area to continue to thrive, bring more businesses, jobs and full-time residents to the epicenter of downtown West Palm Beach.”

In December, the Related Cos. announced plans to redevelop and expand CityPlace with an office building, an apartment tower, enhancements to the movie theater, and streetscape improvements.

The last new Class A office building constructed in downtown West Palm Beach was CityPlace Office Tower in 2008, so 360 Rosemary would be the second building for this project.

The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County has advocated for developers to build another large-scale office building downtown because there’s a shortage of premium office space for companies that would like to relocate there. Many financial companies have sought downtown office space to be near the wealthy island of Palm Beach.

According to the fourth quarter report by Colliers International South Florida, the 2.58 million square feet of Class A office space in downtown West Palm Beach had a 10.8 percent vacancy rate and an average asking rate of $40.04 a square foot.

In addition to the Related Cos., three other developers have secured approvals for mixed-use projects in downtown West Palm Beach that would include a significant amount of office space. None of them have broken ground.

Given the deep financial resources of the Related Cos. and owner Ross, who Forbes says has a net worth of $7.6 billion, there’s little doubt that it could fund construction of an office building here.