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Priatek sale may spur upgrade

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  • | 11:00 a.m. August 12, 2016
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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If a deal goes through and Feldman Equities LLC and Tower Realty Partners acquire the 28-story Priatek Plaza in downtown St. Petersburg, look for the pair to sink millions of dollars into improving the city's tallest building.

Feldman and Tower Realty have a well-earned reputation for investing capital to spruce up their properties and draw tenants -- especially in St. Petersburg.

In the wake of its $29.1 million purchase of the 17-story First Central , at 360 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg, for instance, the duo installed a modernized air-conditioning system and new elevators, put in a state-of-the-art fitness center and fully renovated the building's lobby.

The total price tag came to about $10 million.

After spending $20 million to buy the Morgan Stanley Tower, at 150 Second Ave., Feldman and Tower Realty also plunked down millions to put in new elevators throughout the building and its garage; add a fitness center; gut and revamp the building's lobby; and add new lighting, carpeting and flooring throughout the 17-story tower.

And at the 12-story City Center building, at 100 Second Ave. S., Feldman and Tower Realty injected

$3 million to put in a top-notch fitness center complete with new equipment and shower facilities and make other improvements.

Though a Priatek Plaza acquisition could cost around $50 million, it's likely Feldman and Tower Realty would rip a page from their own playbook and spend additional money to upgrade the 200 Central Ave. skyscraper, which turned 26 years old this year.

Priatek Plaza is about 90% leased to tenants including investment firm Raymond James; law firm Trenam; Bank of Tampa and digital advertiser Priatek.

And unlike the other buildings the pair has purchased, Priatek Plaza also would offer Feldman and Tower Realty an opportunity to add significant space, on a one-acre tract adjacent to the existing building.

Last year, current owner Kucera Properties drew up plans to build roughly 300 apartments, an 80-room boutique hotel and about 800 additional parking spaces, though to date it has not moved forward.

Feldman and Tower Realty could also scrap those plans altogether and develop additional office space at Priatek Plaza. St. Petersburg's office vacancy rate currently stands at less than 7%, the lowest it's been in roughly two decades.

Larry Feldman, the president and CEO of the company that bears his name, declined to comment on a possible Priatek Plaza deal, and Dean Kucera, whose company bought the building in 2002, says through a company official that the 300,000-square-foot tower is not under contract nor on the market.

Potential building acquisitions aren't the only thing keeping Feldman busy these days, though.

Larry Feldman's son, Mack, has joined the company begun by his great-grandfather.

Feldman, 23, a 2015 graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., becomes the fourth-generation of his family to work at the firm, established in New York in 1920.

For now, he's working on leasing assignments and administrative duties, and learning the business firsthand.

“He shares our family's affinity for smart risk taking,” says the elder Feldman.


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