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City's Vacancies Hidden Behind Four Walls

Long Beach property manager, broker say office market remains stable.


Beyond the vacant storefronts on Park Avenue for all of Long Beach to see are the empty office spaces that go unseen behind corridor walls.

Anthony Ponte, owner of Premier Property Management, is trying to fill a few of those spaces at 100 W. Park Ave, at the corner National Boulevard, a 15,000-square-foot, three-story building that houses Bob’s Natural Foods, AT&T, Beach Nails, Denis Kelly’s law firm and 20 office suites. Ponte has just three vacancies to fill there, and he and a broker call a stable commercial office market.

“Long Beach is a very hot area,” Ponte said. “It’s such a strong rental market now. Everyone wants to be near the beach.”

The owners of 100 W. Park, who Ponte described as group of Long Beach investors, acquired the property last year through a court-order foreclosure, and Ponte has managed the building for the past three months. The three units he looks to fill include a 450-square-foot former Pilates studio for lease at $1,150 a month; a 650 square-foot unit for $2,000; and a 160-square-foot unit at $500; all with utilities included.

Renovations are coming to the building that was originally developed as an apartment in 1962. The roof will be refurbished and feature a skylight, the exterior will get a power washing, and the gray corridors and stairwell will be modernized. “When this building is done it will be Long Beach’s best office building,” Ponte promised.  

The tenants range from several psychologists, attorneys, a real estate broker, a chiropractor, a marketing consultant, among others. Most have rented there for a decade or more, Ponte said.

Joseph Pontecorvo, a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman on West Park Avenue, said that the trend in the office market has involved more people moving their commercial offices into their homes while many others with home offices are seeking larger spaces at commercial buildings.

“I think it’s just a cycle in which some people’s businesses slow down, so they try to regroup and have gone back into their homes, whereas other businesses in their homes are trying to take one step up into their offices,” Pontecorvo said.

People are finding value in a rental market that is “a little soft,” Pontecorvo added, with leases for commercial offices, virtually all of which are on Park Avenue, ranging from about $700 a month for a one-room unit to about $2,500 for an 1,000- to 1,200-square-foot office with three rooms and a waiting area.

Another trend he sees is that accountants or others with similar office-based business are moving out of their homes to share commercial spaces. This co-opting is occurring among retail businesses in town, too.

Meanwhile, Ponte, an Atlantic Beach resident who was a broker for six years with Coldwell Banker in the West End before he established his management company, said he looks to acquire more buildings in Long Beach. This will add to the 48,000 square feet of property he already manages, from a multifamily property at 644 E. Broadway, a commercial retail building in Brooklyn, and a mixed-use property in Hewlett.

He said he and his associates try to manage each property as if it were their own. “A lot of buildings are undermanaged,” he said, “not only in that things aren’t kept clean to make everyone happy, but also they don’t keep the energy costs down.”

Jonathan Kaplan April 05, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Long Beach has no shortage of shrinks, they should be able to easily fill those offices

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