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Iconic Austin Center sells in Tampa's Westshore


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  • | 1:00 p.m. April 7, 2015
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TAMPA -- A commercial development that predates Tampa's Westshore district, and is tied to that business center's founder, has sold.

The Austin Center, built in 1967 by the late Al Austin, sold April 6 to an affiliate of Redstone Investments. Located on North Westshore Boulevard between the 1111 and 1411 blocks, the terms of the sale were not released, nor were details of the sale immediately available through Hillsborough County property records.

The development is by far the oldest in Westshore, with 300,000 square feet on 10 acres near Tampa International Airport. It went on to become the cornerstone of a district eventually boasting 11 million square feet and employing nearly 100,000 people.

“Austin Center is strongly positioned in the Westshore area, and is well known to the Tampa Bay area business community,” says Jonathan Levy, managing partner and co-founder of Redstone Investments, in a release. “We are delighted to be the new owners, as we have always admired the vision Al Austin had for the entire Westshore Business District.”

Redstone, which concentrates its efforts in both Tampa and Youngstown, Ohio, owns more than 75 properties in 15 states, representing more than 4.5 million square feet of commercial space.

Austin, who was instrumental in bringing the 2012 Republican National Convention with nominee Mitt Romney to Tampa, died May 21 , at the age of 85.

Austin and his father bought several acres of vacant land between Interstate 275 and the then-young Tampa airport in the mid-1960s, according to the family's website. At the time, the land was nothing more than cow pastures, orange groves and pine forests.

“Al was first in Westshore,” Tampa businessman Dick Beard said of Austin after his passing last year. “He was the visionary.”

Despite the growth and turnover all over Westshore, Austin never sold his original buildings, an investment the family would hold on to for nearly 50 years.

 

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