Business Observer: A Heritage Play

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Ally Capital Group’s gamble on aging Westshore City Center buildings pays off with one of the largest new office deals in Tampa in the past several years.

Heritage Insurance Holdings Inc. will relocate its corporate headquarters and as many as 400 employees to Tampa’s Westshore City Center from Clearwater next April, after signing one of the largest new office leases in the Tampa Bay area in more than three years.

The move from corporate-owned space to 88,643 square feet in 1401 N. Westshore Blvd. will nearly double Heritage’s space, reflecting the sustained growth the homeowners’ insurance company has experienced since its founding in 2012.

Heritage CEO Bruce Lucas says the decision to move to the five-building Westshore Business District project stemmed in large part from its central location and its ability to accommodate future growth.

“I think we’ll be at 700, or perhaps even 800, employees in the next five years,” says Lucas. “I don’t see anything at this juncture getting in the way of our continued double-digit growth.”

Lucas says the Westshore City Center building, which Heritage will fully lease through at least 2031, together with its surrounding amenities, will also assist the company in recruiting new talent.

For owner Ally Capital Group, which acquired the former Austin Center for $28.96 million, the long-term lease with the publicly traded Heritage validates its decision to buy the roughly 50-year-old complex in February 2019.

“We felt we were in a good position because there aren’t a lot of options for tenants of a large size, unless they gravitate to new development, where there are issues of price,” says Andrew Wright, Ally Capital’s managing partner.

“With Heritage, we couldn’t have dreamed of a tenant like them,” Wright adds.

“Securing a tenant of this caliber demonstrates the Westshore market’s continued strength and durability, as well as the excitement building around Westshore City Center,” Matt Alexander, a director with commercial real estate brokerage Franklin Street who together with firm Managing Director Chad Rupp negotiated the Heritage lease, says in a statement.

Read the full article from the Business Observer.

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