In the wake of its $19 million deal to acquire the Tampa Bay Times' flagship St. Petersburg building in April, Denholtz Associates of New Jersey and Tampa-based Convergence Capital are eyeing a series of renovations aimed at making the property more appealing to outside tenants.
Cushman & Wakefield, whom the duo has hired to lease and manage the 490 First Ave. S. property — actually a trio of buildings completed between 1924 and 1988 — is expecting to oversee a series of improvements that could be completed by the end of this year.
Among the upgrades being considered for the 250,000-square-foot building are new elevators, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, a new lobby, conference center and cafe. Denholtz and Convergence also may install a fitness center in the eight-story building, Cushman directors say.
“It's going to be a very, very serious investment,” says Mercedes Angell, the Cushman & Wakefield senior director who together with director Wendy Giffin is working to lease the building's 130,000 square feet of available space.
“This building has not been part of the downtown inventory because it's been a single-tenant facility,” she adds. “So it's almost like a new, speculative project is being brought online.”
The available space, which comprises roughly 40% of the total square footage, is expected to rent for between $24 per square foot and $26 per square foot, Angell says.
As part of the sale, the Times signed a new lease that will keep the newspaper in the building through 2031. The media company will, however, consolidate operations in the building later this year to make room for new tenants.
C1 Bank, which occupies roughly 16,700 square feet on the ground floor of the building, will remain in place, Angell says.
The space comes available as St. Petersburg's office market is surging and vacancy has dipped into single digits.
“The market downtown is especially strong,” Giffin says. “As such, we feel we have an incredible opportunity in the marketplace with this building, especially because we'll have footprints available from 15,000 square feet up to 38,000 square feet of contiguous space on the building's second floor.”
Even prior to Denholtz's purchase, the company was no stranger to the Times. It also owns the media company's 10-story Tampa operations building at 1000 N. Ashley Drive, which totals 179,000 square feet.