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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

TAMPA, FL-The city’s traditionally successful Westshore office submarket, which once enjoyed low vacancy and high rents, is now suffering along with most others in terms of tenant attrition. However, a noticeable trend is emerging in that office users that are confident in their futures are looking to upgrade to newer space.

They can certainly find it in Westshore, where at least 500,000 square feet has been added over the past year, bringing total inventory to more than 12 million square feet. The 247,000-square-foot Corporate Center Four at International Plaza is one of those new structures, and now it has managed to lure a tenant away from a nearby older building.

Law firm Cole Scott & Kissane PA will relocate in November from Bridgeport Center to 32,723 square feet in the fourth floor of Corporate Center Four, according to new landlord Crescent Resources LLC. The firm joins Bay Cities Bank and Sage Software in the eight-story class A building, which is now undergoing interior finishes.

“We’re able to get tenants to upgrade from class B space,” Sharon Bragg, Crescent’s leasing associate in Tampa, tells GlobeSt.com. Though she did not disclose additional terms of Cole Scott’s 10-year lease, she says Corporate Center Four has been able to hold firm to its initial asking rent of $32 per square foot.

Westshore’s current rents for class A office space averages $30 per square foot, the highest in the Tampa Bay market and a full $5 over the local average, according to Cushman & Wakefield of Florida. Vacancy in the submarket, previously in low single-digit range during good times, measured 16.7% through the first quarter.

One advantage Corporate Center Four has over its nearest new building, the 250,000-square-foot MetWest International across Boy Scout Boulevard, is that it has three siblings preceding it. Crescent has developed nearly one million square feet near the International Plaza mall over the past decade, with Corporate Center One opening in 1999.

“We have a history as to what we have been able to do,” Bragg says, noting that prospective tenants have been able to visit Corporate Center Two and Three to get a better idea of how their space will turn out in the newest building. “We’ve also been able to develop relationships and keep them.”

Another marketing point, she says, is that some companies are forced to look to newer space because they are unable to grow or consolidate in their existing buildings. New space offers tenants the opportunity to move into contiguous space as soon as it is ready for occupancy, she says.

Corporate Center Four is seeking LEED certification and expects to complete the process this summer. The building is now 55% leased.

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