FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-A major renovation has begun on the new Portside Yachting Center here which has been vacant for more than three years. The property, which consists of 77,000 net rentable sf, is being upgraded and converted from a failed restaurant/entertainment project into a first-class office center for marine and yachting-related businesses.

The property formerly was known as Northport Marketplace or the Planet Hollywood Complex.

In addition, Codina Realty Services Inc. ONCOR International was recently hired to handle the leasing for Portside Yachting Center. Codina’s Robert McCullough, vice president, and Carlo DiGiorgio are handling the leasing.

A big problem before, McCullough says, was parking. “Parking was just terrible,” he says. “The parking for a retail establishment just wasn’t there.”

The cosmetic and construction upgrades will include retrofits to the building as well as interior demolition work. Property improvements will include redoing and adding to the parking lots, the color scheme will change, escalators in the front will be removed, awnings will be redone, and elevators and flooring will be upgraded and redone. In addition, different artwork and themed décor and lighting will be added, among other changes.

“It’s going to have a whole face lift,” says McCullough. “It’s going to be neat when it’s all done.”

The property will be entirely office space, with the exception of one ground-floor space of 6,000 sf which will remain restaurant space. Applications will be taken for an evening-only dining establishment, he says.

“We’re going to have quite a few people coming to us and wanting that spot,” McCullough says.

Pre-construction leasing rates for Portside Yachting Center will start at $20 per sf on a triple net basis and go up to $30 per sf. Four small spaces of 600 sf to 700 sf will be $30 a sf.

“The big difference is a lot of properties out there now are really bending over backward … to accommodate the tenants. We believe there is a pent-up demand” for this space, and that won’t have to be done there, says McCullough.

The center is on the 17th Street Causeway. People know it, and “people want to be there,” he says. Therefore, McCullough says, they are going to be choosy in selecting who will have space there. And since the new owner, Portside Yachting Center LLC, “bought the property right, we can offer very competitive leasing rates” and pass the savings along, he says. The owner paid between $6 million and $7 million for the Broward County property. Twenty dollars per sf is pretty much below the market right now, he adds.

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