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Akerman Law Firm Eyeing New Fort Lauderdale Office Tower

Proposed Building Would Be the Largest to Rise Downtown in More Than a Decade
February 9, 2018
The Akerman LLP law firm is nearing a deal to move its Fort Lauderdale, FL offices to the largest tower to be built in the city's downtown corridor in more than a decade, CoStar News has learned.

Akerman would take 48,000 square feet in Stiles' planned 360,000-square-foot building at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd., though the lease is contingent on development milestones that Stiles must achieve, sources say.

Scheduled to open in fall 2020, the 23-story building also will include 17,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. The project is located next to a parcel at 212 SE Second Ave., where Stiles is planning more than 300 apartments and more retail space.

Stiles and Akerman representatives declined to comment for this story. The developer is waiting to announce tenants until it has enough commitments to secure financing. Stiles President Scott MacLaren has said lenders typically require a developer to have a third to a half of the property preleased.

Akerman currently occupies more than 23,000 square feet in Las Olas Centre at 350 Las Olas Blvd., a 4-Star building built by Stiles nearly two decades ago, according to CoStar data.

A handful of other tenants, totaling nearly 200,000 square feet, are strongly considering moving into the new Stiles building from other sites in the Fort Lauderdale market, sources say.

  Related News: Numerous Projects Under Construction Signal Ongoing Office Boom in Tri-County RegionOCTOBER 19, 2017  |  PAUL OWERS


The new building is the firm's most significant office construction in the city's downtown since Stiles built a 186,516-square-foot tower at 200 SW 1st Ave. for Autonation in 2007. The Great Recession and financial crisis put a halt to major office building in the market, but the lack of new space has pushed vacancy rates down in recent years.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale's vacancy rate in the fourth quarter was 8.5 percent, compared with 11.2 percent in the same period a year earlier, according to CoStar data.

"Over the last two years, we started to see the signs that another building in the downtown could be justified," MacLaren said in October.

Bob Swindell, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, said he's pleased that Stiles is planning another building, which he insists will be a key factor in helping to lure companies to the area.

"The lack of inventory is a real detriment," Swindell said. "Having available space is crucial to being competitive with other communities."



Paul Owers, South Florida Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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