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TAMPA, FL-Coca-Cola Enterprises has opened a multi-million-dollar customer development center in suburban Temple Terrace after purchasing the 12-year-old, 86,000-sf structure from CitiFinancial Mortgage Co. for “under $100 per sf” or an estimated $6.88 million, area brokers familiar with the submarket tell GlobeSt.com.

Coke searched nationwide for the property and the site, the company says in a prepared statement. Coca-Cola Enterprises already has a major presence in Hillsborough County with an estimated 1,200 full-time employees working in various divisions.

Built in 1991 as a retail property, IMC Mortgage Co. converted the building to office use in 1997, Bill Obregon, a partner and senior vice president, global corporate services at CB Richard Ellis Inc. in Tampa, tells GlobeSt.com. CitiFinancial later bought the building from IMC.

“This is the largest call center transaction in Tampa since 2001,” Obregon says. Kyle Burd and Steve Rigby of CBRE worked with Obregon on the six-month deal and represented CitiFinancial, working with that firm’s Dallas office. Gary Bauler and Steve Hughes of CBRE negotiated for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises.

Obregon declined to disclose the contract price for the property; however, area retail brokers and construction industry estimators familiar with comparable properties tell GlobeSt.com the building was probably built in 1991 for $50 to $75 per sf or a total estimated hard construction cost of $5.5 million.

The call center is Coke’s second facility in Temple Terrace, which is about 80 miles west of Downtown Orlando. Coca-Cola Enterprises located its Florida division office in suburban Tampa Oaks in 1998. The company also has a production facility in Tampa and a shared services center opened in suburban Brandon in 2001.

In a prepared statement, Coke says the new call center will start with a workforce of 135 full-time employees and could grow to 400-plus over the next several years.

“A major factor in the decision to move these services to Temple Terrace was the tremendous cooperation we received from Gov. Jeb Bush and his Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, Enterprise Florida, Workforce Florida, Hillsborough County, the city of Temple Terrace and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of One Hundred,” says Tim Goff, vice president, cold drink, North American Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises.

Goff says “another major factor was the excellent university recruiting opportunities in Hillsborough County. It was obvious to our company that this state and this community are committed to ensuring the area’s economic vitality.”

Jay Ard, vice president and general manager, Florida division, Coca-Cola Enterprises, says his company plans to invest in other local projects in the near future.

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