By  –  Real Estate Editor, Tampa Bay Business Journal
The New York developer of Midtown Tampa is planning a new 16-story office tower along Himes Avenue — a structure that the CEO of Bromley Cos. says will be the tallest building in the city’s Westshore business district.

Midtown East will rise on a vacant site that fronts Himes Avenue and is adjacent to Midtown’s dual-flag hotel and parking structure. It will be 400,000 square feet, with 26,000-square-foot floor plates. Bromley CEO Nick Haines told the Tampa Bay Business Journal on Wednesday that his firm is prepared to move forward with the tower on a speculative basis, without tenants in place, and is working toward a fourth-quarter groundbreaking.

Brasfield & Gorie has been hired as the general contractor; Rule Joy Trammel + Rubio is the architect. Bromley is also planning to expand Midtown’s existing parking deck by 1,000 spaces to accommodate the new office tower. With material costs constantly fluctuating, Haines said it was too soon to release construction cost estimates on the tower.

Midtown West, the first office tower in the district, has won several deals over the last year, including the headquarters of Kforce Inc. and Primo Water Corp. There are multiple proposals out for space in Midtown West that would account for the remainder of that tower, Haines said.

“We’re getting interest from all over the country on office space in Tampa,” he said, “in a way that a year or even two years ago, it wasn’t the case. The momentum is building in Tampa, and the rents are going up, and vacancy is going down.”

While the office market remains challenged nationally in the wake of Covid-19, the Tampa Bay office market has seen robust leasing activity since the end of 2020. At least two large office deals — Maxim Healthcare Services Inc.’s 71,000-square-foot lease in Avion Park and Wipro’s 112,000-square-foot lease at One Independence — have been signed in the first quarter of 2022.

The mixed-use nature of Midtown, Haines said, is compelling to executives as they try to shape their post-Covid remote work policies. Midtown spans 23 acres at Interstate 275 and North Dale Mabry Highway and includes Whole Foods Market, luxury apartments, hotel rooms, restaurants and more.

“All organizations are grappling with how to hire people, retain people and get people back to the office,” Haines said, “and we think there’s a tremendous opportunity to introduce a big block of space into the market.”

Midtown East will have multiple outdoor spaces, including a rooftop amenity deck. But beyond aesthetics and amenities, Haines said there are “infrastructure advantages”: It’s 27 feet above sea level and has dual-power feeds.

“This is a not commodity office building built in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “It’s an office building in the middle of a really dynamic place.”

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