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Tampa-St. Pete ranks high for office buildings getting a makeover

Margie Manning

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First Central Tower at 360 Central Ave.

Nearly one in four of the office buildings in the Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area has gotten a facelift in the past two decades.

About one in 20 office buildings locally has been fully renovated since 2000, according to a new study by CommercialCafé, a commercial real estate blog.

The report ranks the Tampa-St. Pete metro area among the top cities in the U.S. for office building upgrades. Improvements can range from complete overhauls that include structural and mechanical systems, to cosmetic touch-ups to facades, lobbies and common areas.

In St. Petersburg, where there’s been little new office building construction and a growing demand for space by companies new to the area and those already here that are expanding, state of the art amenities and added curb appeal can help draw higher rents.

A total of 38 office buildings larger than 25,000 square feet in the Tampa-St. Pete metro market, or 4.9 percent of the large office properties, were completely renovated between 2000 and 2019, CommercialCafé said.

One of them is First Central Tower, a 17-story, Class A office building at 360 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg.

Feldman Equities bought First Central Tower, one of three high-rise office buildings it owns in downtown St. Pete, in 2014, and said it would spend about $10 million on capital expenditures, tenant improvements and brokerage. At the time, the building was about 50 percent occupied. It’s now 95 percent occupied, according to Feldman.

The company recapitalized First Central Tower earlier this year and quickly raised the about $22 million in a crowdfunding campaign.

Tampa-St. Pete ranked No. 10 on CommercialCafe’s list of medium-size markets, based on the percentage of complete office building renovations.

The local market was No. 9 on a list of markets where office buildings got cosmetic changes. About 23.9 percent of the office buildings in the market had a touch-up in the past two decades, including 200 Central, the tallest office building in Pinellas County with 26 stories and 295,000-square-feet.

In 2019, Third Lake Partners announced a multi-million dollar renovation of the lobby at 200 Central. This past June, coworking operator Industrious said it would lease nearly 37,000 square feet on three floors in the property.

Lobby renovations at 200 Central

Click here to see the full report by CommercialCafé.

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