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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

BOCA RATON, FL-Technology entrepreneur Hank Asher has established three companies that will be headquartered at Boca Corporate Park and Campus at 4530 Conference Way South. Cancer research company JARI Research Corp., Schmitt & Rossi, a fine art company, and TLFO, a high-powered data processing center, will all locate under one roof at the 143,000-square-foot office building, says Bill Reichel, president of Reichel Realty, which brokered the transaction on Asher’s behalf. The lease is for 10 years, though the value was not disclosed.

“This is a very significant transaction, particularly in this market where most companies are shrinking,” Reichel tells GlobeSt.com “Here is a company that is looking to expand and grow.” He adds that the tenants chose Boca Corporate because of its location, structure and services: “The facility is a hurricane bomb shelter, and has components such as redundant electric and water and a concrete roof.”

The corporate park, which was developed and occupied by IBM in the 1970s and 1980s, contains a total of 1.7 million square feet on 131 acres and is 65% leased, says Jeffrey Kelly, senior vice president with CB Richard Ellis. Leasing rates at the park range from $13.50 to $17.50 per square foot triple net, with operating expenses at $7.34 per square foot. Kelly handled the transaction on behalf of the park’s landlord, New York City-based Blackstone Group.

The availability of a large amount of contiguous space was another reason the new tenant was attracted to the property, Kelly tells GlobeSt.com. “To get that size a space all on one floor is very difficult, if not impossible in this market.”

Asher’s leases are a boon to the Boca Raton office market, where a total of 303,700 square feet became vacant in the fourth quarter of 2008 alone, according to CBRE. As the biggest submarket within Palm Beach County, Boca Raton includes 11.2 million square feet of rentable square feet with a current vacancy rate of 26%. Absorption for all of last year ended at negative 469,288 square feet, with another 123,882 square feet under construction.

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