WEST PALM BEACH, FL-A plan to build 159,000 sf of class A office space in the East Central Regional Government Center would complete development of the 36-acre mixed-use office park.

Elected Palm Beach County officials recently approved a conditional-use permit to allow construction of the 5-story office building and a 98,900 sf parking garage in the county-owned office park at the northeast corner of Southern Boulevard and Australian Avenue.

The rezoning petition comes as the county embarks on an overall development plan to upgrade a real estate portfolio that contains a number of aging office facilities.

Office construction costs on the 159,000-sf building are expected to total about $17 million, or $107 per sf, John Chesher, who directs the county’s capital improvements division, tells GlobeSt.com. Garage construction costs are expected to total about $6 million, or $61 per sf.

County records show that officials scaled back the project from an original proposal of 283,000 sf.

The development site already contains two, five-story office buildings and a one-story office building containing about 124,000 sf, all used for government operations purposes. Besides the office space, Hilton Hotels operates a 248-room, 283,000-sf lodging facility within the office park.

Although it hasn’t chosen a general contractor, yet, Chesher says, the country recently awarded the bid for architectural and design services on the office building and garage to the West Palm Beach-based firm Schwab, Twitty & Hanser Architectural Group.

Construction at the East Central site is expected complement a related proposal to acquire 62 acres of land in the 500-acre Vista Center Corporate Park for government-use purposes. The county is proposing a $36 million investment in new industrial-warehouse and office facilities on that site at Jog Road and Okeechobee Boulevard.

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