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Meridian Buys Tampa Office Park for $8.2 Million and Plans Redevelopment

An extreme makeover is in the works for an office park in Tampa’s Carrollwood area.

Meridian Development Group, in a joint venture with with Blue Vista Capital Management LLC, has acquired the Premier Corporate Center for $8.2 million in a deal that closed Friday, Meridian managing director Steve Kossoff told theTampa Bay Business Journal.

Premier is a 145,000-square-foot park — three one-story buildings and one four-story building on 12 acres — in the southeast quadrant of Gunn Highway and Linebaugh Avenue with frontage on both roads. Kossoff’s group is planning to invest $1 million in the park, to demolish the four-story building and renovate the interiors of the remaining three. That will make way for more parking, which Meridian and Blue Vista are hoping will give them a competitive edge. The office trend nationwide is significantly reducing square footage per employee, putting as many people in as little space as possible. That dynamic creates need for more parking than most properties have.

WellCare Health Plans Inc. is the anchor tenant in the park, Kossoff said. Its IT division leases 66,000 square feet there. After the demolition, the park will total 103,521 square feet.

Post demolition, Premier will offer six parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of office space in a market where most landlords offer four to five spaces per 1,000 square feet at most. That, combined with discounted rents — $18 to $19 per square foot — is what the groups are betting will lure office users north, Kossoff said. Westshore rents are climbing into the mid-$20s per square foot and in some cases as high as $27 per square foot, Kossoff said.

“The big trend is office rents in Westshore have really gone up,” he said. “This market is just 10 minutes north of Westshore.”

Kossoff’s group is acquiring the park at a steep discount to what it sold for at the height of the real estate market. A group of New York investors paid $22 million for the park in 2007, Hillsborough County property records show. Premier went back to the bank in 2011, and a group of Indiana investors paid $8.5 million for it in 2012.

Rick Colon of Cassidy Turley represented the seller in the transaction. James Molerand Paula Buffa of Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. have been retained as leasing agents for the park, and Meridian’s property management arm will manage the property.

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