PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL-Aquila Property Co. Inc. of Coral Springs has paid $19 million for a 190,000-sf, campus-style office park in northwest Palm Beach County.The Weiss Group, a group of companies whose businesses include publishing, financial ratings and money management, sold the property for $100 a sf. The property, which will be called the Innovation Business Park, is located on 16 acres adjacent to a 17-acre lake at the northwest portion of Beeline Highway and Innovation Drive, about two miles from the proposed Scripps Village site. Scripps Village–a 2,000-acre, mixed use development to become the eastern regional headquarters for Scripps Institute, a nonprofit biomedical research institute–is expected to start construction early next year.Innovation Business Park consists of three buildings: two two-story office buildings, each about 80,000 sf, and a third building that houses a fitness center, a 450-seat cafeteria and a 400-seat audio-visual presentation room. The Weiss Group has inked a long-term lease to keep its corporate headquarters in one entire building at the property.The property currently has 75,000 sf of vacant, contiguous space. It represents the remaining space in one building that also has a day care center. There is little existing office space nearby, making the investment appealing for Aquila, which expects to see demand for the space within the next six months.”We’re the only building that’s out that way,” says Tom Weber, president and co-founder with Jordan Paul of three-year-old Aquila Property Co. The price also was appealing. “We bought this building well below replacement cost.” That was partly because the property’s office space is nearly 50% vacant, he says. Also, “It never made it to the market. We were able to buy it before it went to market.”Weber says northwestern Palm Beach County is expected to have growth over the next 10 to 15 years. “Our focus is still on all of South Florida, but really in northwestern Palm Beach County. This market is the next real frontier for growth.”He adds in a statement: “The Innovation Business Park is ideally located and offers outstanding on-site amenities that will be attractive to a variety of large users. We are very excited about the potential of this project and look forward to continuing to grow our portfolio in this area.”Pratt & Whitney vacated both office buildings in the park, and when Weiss purchased it, it did $7-million in property improvements within the last year. Aquila also plans to resurface the parking lot.Ben DeVries, president of DeVries Real Estate Counselors Inc., represented the Weiss Group in the sale. The local attorneys involved in the transaction were Norman Weil of Fowler White for Aquila and Steve Cohn at Holland & Knight for the Weiss Group.Aquila, which specializes in acquiring and upgrading suburban office buildings, has purchased four South Florida properties in four years. The company owns and manages more than 500,000 sf of office space worth more than $70 million in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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