With Esperante Sold, Crocker Wants More
Fresh from a big sale, Crocker Partners is in the hunt for more South Florida value-add office investments. But it's finding those are few and far between.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Crocker sold its Esperante office tower, a landmark 20-story skyscraper in West Palm Beach, which it owned in a JV with Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, to RedSky Capital for $126M. That's not a bad turnaround given the JV purchased the 256k SF building in 2013 for $71M. Crocker's Angelo Bianco (second from right with Crocker Partners senior staff Christopher Eachus, Thomas Brockwell, Thomas Crocker and Todd Amara) says they pumped $8M into the building's redo, brought occupancy up to 98% from a low of 60%, and moved valet parking next to an atrium for a more impressive drive up.
It's part of Crocker's South Florida MO: Buy when the property needs help, and sell at a high. It also helped that Esperante is in West Palm Beach, a submarket that “has the highest rents south of Washington, DC,” Angelo says. The firm is hunting for other value-add plays, but Angelo notes South Florida has become a hot target among office investors, especially those with access to foreign capital seeking a safe haven. “It's a challenge finding good deals today,” he says.