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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 11, 2015 6 years ago

Small company does big deal

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Bank of America it's not, but Odessa-based Priatek LLC will soon have something in common with the mammoth lender: The digital advertiser will have its name atop St. Petersburg's tallest office building.

Bank of America it's not, but Odessa-based Priatek LLC will soon have something in common with the mammoth lender: The digital advertiser will have its name atop St. Petersburg's tallest office building.

One Progress Plaza will be renamed Priatek Plaza during a dedication ceremony scheduled for Sept. 17. The company's public relations team calls the event “history in the making.”

And while that's debatable, the increased exposure associated with signage atop the 28-story, 386-foot-tall skyscraper is undeniable.

Bank of America's name adorned the 200 Central Ave. tower until November 2010, when it underwent a corporate consolidation and relocated. In its wake, the 300,000-square-foot building's owner sought $5 million for naming rights for a decade.

No word on how much Priatek is paying; its chief executive and founder, Milind Bharvirkar, was traveling last week and unavailable for comment, company reps said.

Priatek, which occupies the 25-year-old building's 23rd floor, shares space alongside tenants like QOR; Raymond James Associates; Merrill Lynch; Bank of Tampa; and law firm Trenam. The building is currently 90% occupied, according to a statement from owner Kucera Properties. Managing partner Darin Kucera did not return calls for comment, but in a statement released Sept. 8 he boasted about the deal.

“We want technology startups and mature technology companies not to be just a trend in the St. Petersburg region, but a long-term phenomenon,” says Kucera. “Renaming One Progress Plaza to Priatek Plaza is of major historic significance because it is an outward sign of our belief in that vision for our region.”

Incorporated in 2011, Priatek makes electronic kiosks that display digital advertising in malls and other retail venues.

But a lingering question remains in Priatek's staying power. The company received $3 million in funding earlier this year from angel investors. But the concept remains unproven and it's a competitive marketplace. The business model is to sell franchise territories around the country for $50,000 per million in population.

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