Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach is home to a veritable Realtors Row, but real estate brokers someday might move from the center’s retail space into the offices next door at The Slat House.
In addition to TooJay’s and Palm Beach Grill, Royal Poinciana Plaza is home to real estate firms Brown Harris Stevens, Corcoran Group, Douglas Elliman, Sotheby’s International and Valore Group. Luxe retailer Hermes Paris is moving into the center, part of an upgrade by Up Markets, which owns a controlling interest in the plaza.
The landlord said there’s no concerted effort to replace real estate brokers with more traditional retail tenants. But Mike Pappas, president of Valore Group owner Keyes Co., said Up Markets has mentioned a move.
Realtors covet retail space for its visibility and convenience. But office space is less expensive. And, Pappas noted, real estate brokers aren’t typical office users.
“That’s the dilemma,” Pappas said. “They’re thinking of us as office rather than retail.”
Alexandra Patterson, project manager for Royal Poinciana Plaza, said there’s no plan to move out Realtors.
“Each of our conversations is tenant by tenant and there isn’t one set of rules that we follow,” Patterson said in an e-mail. “As our conversations evolve, we are solely focused on finding the right space for each tenant.”
Perhaps tellingly, the “key tenants” list on the landlord’s website names Palm Beach Grill, House of Lavande, Sant Ambroeus and Haute Yoga but none of the brokers.
Pappas said national firm Keller Williams is among the brokers that successfully operates from office buildings rather than shopping centers. For Realtors, bricks and mortar isn’t as important as it used to be. Many brokers have been downsizing their offices as agents increasingly work remotely and market electronically.
But brokers who are fans of retail locations say the high street is the most effective place to operate a real estate office.
“You can’t really put a real estate office on the second floor and be successful,” said Douglas Rill, the owner of Century 21 Americas Choice who for years owned an office building a few blocks east of Royal Poinciana Plaza. “It’s the kiss of death.”