PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL-A fund advised by JPMorgan Investment Management Inc. has acquired a “substantial interest” in the 250,000-sf Golden Bear Plaza from owners Philadelphia-based BPG Properties Ltd.

The plaza consists of three class A office buildings located at 11760, 11770 and 11780 US Highway 1. New York-based law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP represented the fund in the acquisition of an interest in the property and subsequent refinancing with ING Life Insurance Co. Stroock’s team was led by Miami office real estate partners Manuel Fernandez, Jonathan Kurry and associate Martha Rabbitt. West Palm Beach-based Merin Hunter Codman Inc. will manage the property. The sales price was not made public because only an interest was purchased.

Kurry tells that the transaction reflects two trends in the marketplace. First, the purchasing of interests in properties–rather than entire properties–is becoming more popular in areas like Palm Beach County, where the total inventory of class A office space is limited. In addition, the county is attracting more institutional investors. In the last year, Stroock has represented clients in the acquisition and financing of nine other class A buildings in Palm Beach County, which Kurry says represents in the range of 70% of the total inventory of class A space. The properties included Granite Gardens at 3801 PGA Blvd.; buildings located at 7121, 7108 and 7111 Fairway Dr.; Centurion Towers at 1601 Forum Place; 1400 Centrepark at Interstate 95 and Belvedere Road; Northpoint Corporate Center at 701 Northpoint Parkway; and Bank of America Center at 625 Flagler Dr. “We’re seeing a trend of institutional money, such as those from pension funds, going into that market,” Kurry says.

Kurry adds that investors are attracted to Palm Beach County because it is becoming home to many high-profile companies. “People are anticipating that high-profile tenants will be coming into the market. The county is encouraging it,” he says.

BPG Properties Ltd. purchased Golden Bear Plaza for $32.3 million in March 2004, as previously reported. A $6-million renovation followed the acquisition. Golden Bear Plaza got its name from professional golfer Jack Nicklaus, whose company, Golden Bear International, has been a tenant there since it was developed.

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