Grand Boulevard: Work. Stay. Play.

Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach is one of a kind in Northwest Florida, a commercial property that has it all.
Scott Holstein

It’s a shopping center. It’s a lifestyle center. It’s an office park — and much more. Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach is one of a kind in Northwest Florida, a commercial property that has it all, from a Publix to a Marriott to a dry cleaner. With bistros, boutiques and a bank in between.

Having all this in one place is why accounting firm Carr Riggs & Ingram made the decision to move 50 CPAs into a new office at Grand Boulevard, a location that gives the firm easy access to clients in Destin and Panama City. CRI rents about 13,500 square feet in a space that was built specifically to accommodate the firm and its needs.

“There is absolutely no down side to this,” explained Steve Riggs, CRI’s managing partner. “We had at least five viable competitive options, but we made this decision because it was our best option.”

Built by the Howard Group, Grand Boulevard opened about three years ago, just as the economy was starting to go south. But they got creative on pricing and deal structure to keep tenants in their buildings.

“There is so much excess inventory on the market that, to be successful, your property has to offer a lot of extras to win out in someone’s decision making,” said Dana Hahn, lease administrator for the Howard Group who focuses on retail. “Grand Boulevard has those extras, from retail to office to restaurants.”

The concept has been well received, said Merlin Allan, Howard Group’s vice president of real estate, who handles office leasing.

“I’m getting more and more calls from businesses looking to expand,” he said. (This summer, Charter Capital, a private wealth management company, will move into an expanded 2,500-square-foot office.)

“It’s primarily local people, but we’re starting to get some national calls as well.”

About 60 percent of the 200,000 square feet of office space has been leased and close to 90 percent of the 850,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space is also occupied. As soon as the economy recovers, more phases of the project will be developed.

“What we have here is true Class A office space,” said Hahn. “We have the work, play, stay element. You get a lot more than just office space.”

Categories: Commercial, Featured