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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

TAMPA, FL-Locally based Bay Cities Bank has the rare opportunity to open two new office buildings within a short stretch of each other in its nine-year history. Having been the first tenant of Corporate Center One at International Plaza in 1999, it will hold the same distinction early next year when it moves to the nearby Corporate Center Four.

In signing a 12-year lease with landlord Crescent Resources LLC, Bay Cities will take 13,342 sf of class A space in the new eight-story building at 4301 W. Boy Scout Blvd. The bank’s new space is only slightly larger than its current headquarters at Corporate Center One, though the new building will include a drive-through teller window and corporate signage.

“We get the chance to start from scratch with this new building,” Greg Bryant, Bay Cities president and CEO, tells GlobeSt.com. “We find ourselves needing some additional space and the new layout will allow us to operate a little more efficiently.”

Bay Cities is one of only a few Tampa banks in growth mode lately, with assets of more than $360 million and no past-due loans through last year. Its parent company, Florida Business BancGroup, quickly sold $7.5 million worth of private-placement stock earlier this year.

Bay Cities owns the majority of its branches beyond its leased headquarters in Tampa’s Westshore business district, according to Bryant. He says the bank, whose current lease expires in late 2009, considered other possible locations before deciding on Corporate Center Four in August, and will likely seek a subtenant for its existing space at Corporate Center One when it moves over to the new building sometime next year.

Corporate Center Four, one of three new class A office buildings under construction within a mile of each other in Westshore, promotes itself as the first in the district to pursue LEED certification, which it expects to receive soon after getting its certificate of occupancy in November, says Sharon Bragg, the building’s leasing associate with Crescent Resources. She says there is plenty of interest by prospective tenants for remaining space in the 247,000-sf building, though no other leases have yet been executed beyond the one with Bay Cities. Crescent Resources will also move its Tampa office to the new building, she adds.

Charlotte, NC-based Crescent Resources is a joint venture between Duke Energy Corp. and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund. The company is a dominant commercial development and land management firm in many major markets throughout the Southeast and Southwest.

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