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DUNEDIN, FL-Grady Pridgen Inc., the largest commercial real estate property holder in St. Petersburg, has increased its 2.5-million-sf portfolio with the $9.58-million purchase of the former Nielsen Media Corp. complex and the adjoining 5.5-acre, two-parcel Brighthouse Networks property. Dunedin in Pinellas County is 80 miles west of Downtown Orlando and about 50 miles northwest of St. Petersburg.

Developer Grady Pridgen tells GlobeSt.com he paid $8.4 million for the vacant three-building Nielsen property and $1.19 million for the adjoining 5.5-acre Brighthouse Networks land which has a telecommunications tower on the site. The total price for the three buildings equates to $41.92 per sf. Area brokers tell GlobeSt.com the Nielsen high-tech-installed property can’t be replaced for less than $200 per sf.

On the $47.85-per-sf price he paid for the asset, Pridgen tells GlobeSt.com, “When we’re speculating by buying so much office space in a soft market, we need to ensure that we’ve gotten good value in order to retrofit the building and market it.” The developer adds, “In order to mitigate the cost of retrofitting and marketing the property, the price has to be competitive. We think this is a win-win transaction. Nielsen was happy to sell the building and we were happy to buy it.”

Pridgen tells GlobeSt.com the class A property at 375 Patricia Ave. is ready for occupancy to a call center operator. The projected gross rent is $17 per sf. Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. negotiated for the seller. Grady Pridgen Inc. represented itself.

The purchase price included Nielsen’s office furniture and all of its telecommunications equipment. “We even got a satellite dish that lets us hook up worldwide,” the developer says. “We can get any TV station in the world.”

He adds, “Because of the kind of work Nielsen does, the building has redundant power sources, including a generator to keep systems operational despite external conditions. It even has a built-in UPS system for surge suppression.” Nielsen acquired new Florida facilities about a year ago.

The Nielsen properties include a single-story, 80,650-sf building constructed in 1961; a two-story, 42,537-sf structure built in 1980; and a three-story, 77,161-sf building erected in 1984. The existing open floor plans in the buildings provide 1,200 cube work spaces, phones and fiber optic systems.

Pridgen calls the acquisition “a unique property in a lovely community. There is a great Downtown, providing an attractive setting to get the attention of high-paying employers.” He tells GlobeSt.com the deal was done at this time because “everyone was ready” to do it.

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