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‘Multi-million-dollar’ renovations begin on downtown tower

Mark Parker

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Downtown St. Petersburg's City Center office tower is receiving a series of new upgrades, including a reimagined atrium lobby. All renderings provided.

Officials with St. Petersburg-based Feldman Equities announced Monday morning that a multi-million-dollar renovation project has commenced at City Center.

The downtown office tower at 100 2nd Ave. S. was built in 1985 and received its last upgrades in 2012. A joint venture between City Office REIT, Inc., Feldman Equities and Tower Realty Partners owns the 242,115-square-foot building.

The announcement comes amid a nationwide flight to quality trend among business owners and professionals. Mack Feldman, vice president at Feldman Equities, said he “absolutely” believes the renovations will help entice people back to the office.

“City Center’s location and views of Tampa Bay are first class, and it was time to bring its lobby and amenities up to the same standard,” Feldman told the Catalyst. “City Center will be the most modern office building in St. Pete once this renovation wraps up, and our goal is to keep it there with continued investment over time.”

The building’s tenants will have exclusive use of a new conference center.

The joint venture purchased City Center for $16.5 million in January 2011. The ownership group invested over $6 million into the property, including $1.7 million in capital improvements.

While the building also received upgrades in 2005, it is now approaching 40 years old. The 88% occupied facility will receive an updated atrium lobby with lounge seating and a new coffee and expresso bar.

The reimagined atrium will also feature updated restrooms and new elevator lobbies. The project includes an expanded fitness center with “state-of-the-art” equipment, showers and lockers.

Tenants will receive a new conference center with 50 seats. They will enter the building through new entryways with enhanced landscaping.

“We are seeing again and again that tenants want to be able to meet in collaborative, functional settings,” Feldman said. “The conference center will be reserved for the exclusive use of our tenants. The espresso bar, renovated lobby, tenant lounge and new food options are all designed to make our building more attractive to workers.”

An updated tenant lounge will feature a new coffee and espresso bar.

James Farrar, CEO of City Office REIT, noted that the local office market is “one of the nation’s strongest” in a prepared statement. According to the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership’s 2024 Development Guide, the central business district has a 5.6% vacancy rate – well below the 19% national average.

However, a lack of available space downtown can deter corporations from relocating to St. Petersburg. A speculative office tower in The Central, a mixed-used development formerly known as Orange Station, recently began leasing long-awaited premium office space in the Edge District.

The project represents St. Petersburg’s first new Class A office space since the 1980s. Brian Caper, the city’s economic and workforce development director, said in February that market-rate rents average $31.65 per square foot, and developers must typically charge $70 per square foot to invest in new construction.

In addition, many workers grew accustomed to working from home during the pandemic. That has led building and business owners to offer additional modern office amenities amid what Cushman & Wakefield called a “leap” to quality.

Renovations also include new fitness facilities.

Entos Design is the City Center project’s architectural firm. CEO and principal Suzanne Brasuell said the building’s “luxurious amenities” will make it a “one-of-a-kind Class A office destination” in a prepared statement.

The ownership group also touts City Center’s downtown waterfront location. Feldman said it offers “the best views in town. Our tenants overlook Tampa Bay or watch games at Al Lang Stadium from their balconies.”

He noted that renovations in common areas will not affect tenants. City Center’s ownership group expects work to conclude by February 2025.

In a prepared statement, Feldman Equities CEO Larry Feldman said employers “desperately want their employees back in the office. So they are trading up from the Class B space knowing that if they give a beautiful space to their employees it will lure them back to the office.”

The officer tower overlooks Al Lang Stadium, home to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Screengrab, citycenterstpete.com

 

 

 

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