Downtown West Palm buildings from 1930 moving aside for office tower

2:34 p.m Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 Local
West Palm Beach plans to sell the 1930’s buildings at 464 Fern St. that served as a city employee health clinic. The proposed buyer plans a Class A office tower. (Tony Doris / The Palm Beach Post)

Two downtown buildings from 1930 will be moved to make way for a Class A office tower, under a deal tentatively approved this week by the city commission.

The board unanimously approved selling the buildings at 464 Fern St. to Linton Jog Associates, Ltd., for $1.3 million. The buyer would move the old two-story offices, which formerly housed a city employee health clinic, to an appropriate site elsewhere in the city.

Linton Jog Vice President John Hoecker said Wednesday his real estate investment and development firm hopes to close on the purchase within 60 days, after a final vote of approval by the commission. The firm owns three adjacent properties that run from South Dixie Highway west almost to Quadrille Boulevard.

His properties, combined with the additional 0.3-acre site at the corner of Fern and Quadrille, would have room for a top-flight office tower of 200,000 square feet or more. The city, desperate for quality office space to attract companies downtown, had no use for the vacant buildings and hoped to put the land back on the tax rolls.

One of the two buildings, the one used for the clinic, was renovated in recent years and is protected by historic designation but the other needs substantial work, officials said. Hoecker’s firm would be responsible for finding a buyer for the structures and an appropriate new location for them within the city.

Hoecker said his development team includes one of the developers of the of the Esperante office tower downtown, Kent Wilmering.

The office tower would be built “as soon as the market warrants it,” Hoecker said. “Sooner, rather than later.”