Go inside Midtown Tampa’s first office building, Midtown West

ByAshley Gurbal Kritzer

South State Bank has already expanded its footprint in Midtown Tampa’s first office building — and the bank’s presence there is a boost to leasing efforts.

South State, which signed a lease for 10,000 square feet in November 2020, has taken an additional 3,000 square feet on the second floor of Midtown West. The eight-story, 152,000-square-foot Midtown West stands at the North Dale Mabry Highway entrance to Midtown, along with Whole Foods Market and REI Co-op. (REI is the office building’s first floor; the main lobby is on the second.)

The bank, which also purchased signage rights to Midtown West, took occupancy of its space in July, said Dan Woodward, Tampa market leader for Highwoods Properties. Highwoods developed Midtown West in a joint venture with Bromley Cos., the New York-based master developer of Midtown.

“As we look at Midtown and everything that Midtown has to offer — it’s a vibrant mix of uses,” Woodward told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. “To finally see a customer open up there was fantastic. When they [prospective tenants] see customers in the space, it ramps up additional leasing activity.”

Midtown spans 22 acres at the intersection of North Dale Mabry Highway and Interstate 275. It includes office buildings Midtown West and the Loft at Midtown as well as apartments, a dual-flag hotel and 220,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

Midtown West has come to market at an unprecedented time in Tampa Bay: After a decades-long drought of new office development within Tampa city limits, multiple developers have delivered multitenant buildings within the last two years. Heights Union, in the Armature Works-anchored Heights district, is fully leased after landing deals with Pfizer Inc. and DoubleLine Capital. Tampa-based ReliaQuest will move its headquarters to Water Street Tampa’s new office tower. SkyCenter One, an office building on Tampa International Airport property, also opened this year.

“We’re feeling good. There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” said Lauren Coup, Highwoods director of leasing. “People were skittish, and now they’re ready to make a decision.

“You have to be in the office. You need it for the culture; you need it to mentor people.”

At Midtown, Highwoods pitches prospects on the convenience aspect of the district: An office tenant could accomplish errands from grocery shopping to optometrist and chiropractor appointments within Midtown’s boundaries. There are also multiple options for corporate entertaining, from a forthcoming food hall and chef Chris Ponte’s new restaurant to rooftop bar Sal Y Mar.

As Midtown’s storefronts come to life with new businesses — from Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea to a Sephora — Bromley’s vision of a live-work-place district is beginning to resonate with prospective tenants, Woodward said.

“Now that it’s coming together, they truly see the value of a mixed-use environment,” he said.