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By and  –  Tampa Bay Business Journal

One of the largest banks based in the Southeast has purchased the naming rights to Midtown Tampa’s first office tower — and committed to half a floor within the building.

South State Bank’s signage will rise above the intersection of Interstate 275 and North Dale Mabry Highway atop Midtown West, the eight-story, 150,000-square-foot office building under construction in Midtown. The bank has also signed a lease for 10,000 square feet or roughly half a floor in the office tower.

Midtown Tampa is a 22-acre mixed-use district that includes office space, apartments, hotel rooms, restaurants and retailers.

“Since we’ve moved to Tampa, we’ve been trying to identify a place that would serve our clients in a central location, and give us better brand visibility,” Angel Gonzalez, the bank’s Tampa Bay market president, told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. “For two years we’ve been actively pursuing a site, and we’ve been working with Midtown over the last nine months.”

South State Bank, formed through the merger of a Carolina-based bank of the same name and Tampa Bay’s CenterState Bank, has $34 billion in assets and $26 billion in deposits. In a release, the bank described the Midtown location as its “West Florida regional headquarters.” It will consolidate operations in Westshore, downtown Tampa and from a previously shuttered branch on MacDill Avenue into the new Midtown space.

It is the first office lease that Midtown developer Bromley Cos. and Highwoods Properties, its joint venture partner on the office component of the district, have announced. Bromley CEO Nicholas Haines declined to say whether the partners have signed any other tenants for the office building.

In the Tampa Bay market, a 10,000-square-foot office lease is an average-sized deal. While naming rights have traditionally been part of a lease deal with the anchor tenant in an office building, the market has shifted in recent years to a model in which tenants pay for signage.

“We’d been approached by a number of people for signage rights, and given their stature as one of the most dynamic banks in the Southeast, we evaluated not just the transaction but also the brand they’re trying to create,” Haines told the Business Journal, “and we felt really confident with their senior leadership team.”

Gonzalez said that to date, 27 people have been selected to work at the Midtown location and that others will be added as the bank begins to ease employees back into the office. He said the move-in is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2021.

“We believe in the project and what it means for Tampa to have a true midtown,” Gonzalez said. “We believe in Bromley and Highwoods and the relationship we developed with them. This will be a successful, visible and big project for Tampa Bay. This well-serves our employees and clients, and we plan on building off the energy of the project.”

While South State has taken a half floor in the building, Haines said there are other discussions underway with potential tenants for full floors or multiple floors.

“There’s some good conversations going on in the office world, and the death of office space or the lack of need for office space is greatly exaggerated,” he said. “As employees and tenants hit Zoom fatigue, the dynamism of the Midtown environment will be just what the doctor ordered for a number of tenants.”

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