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News Clips 01/31/2013
Poynter property comes into sharper focus as USF St. Pete explores new locations
Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal, 01/30/13
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By Mark Holan
The University of South Florida St. Petersburg is exploring four new locations to construct its College of Business building.
Among the sites is land owned by the Poynter Institute of Media Studies, 801 Third St. S., which put four acres on the market last summer between Eighth and 11th avenues and Third and Fourth streets next to the campus.
Poynter, which owns Tampa Bay Times’ parent Times Publishing Co., experienced a $3.8 million loss in 2011 and has been trying to lease space in its 36,500-square-foot headquarters building.
University spokesman Tom Scherberger said a soccer field on Third Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues; the former Dali Museum building on Third Street South; and the Piano Man building on 7th Avenue South are also under consideration for the College of Business.
Commercial real estate and media sources have speculated that Poynter eventually could end up relocating to the Times’ headquarters building, 409 First Ave. S., which also has been leasing space, notably to C1 Bank.
“I hear that chatter, too,” Poynter President Karen B. Dunlap said late Wednesday. “But let me say there are no plans to do that.”
Dunlap acknowledged that the land sale is tied to the financial challenges faced by the journalism school, which once relied on handsome dividends from the Times and hefty training budgets at newspapers nationwide.
She reiterated earlier statements that Poynter’s undeveloped property was bought anticipating future expansion, which has become unnecessary in the digital age.
None of the acreage is under contract, Dunlap said.
The St. Petersburg architecture firm Harvard Jolly was retained last summer to design the 70,000-square-foot College of Business in a parking lot across from the University Student Center.
The lot was ruled out a few months ago when university officials decided they might need the land to expand the nearby Science and Technology Building, which opened in 2010.
The university is hamstrung by height restrictions due to nearby Albert Whitted Airport.
The College of Business building is expected to cost $28 million, and the university is watching to see whether it wins an appropriation in the upcoming legislative session.
Business is the top major at the St. Petersburg campus, Scherberger said.
“We have urgent needs,” he said. “We have professors and classes in six buildings around the campus. That is not the way to foster collaboration and creativity the way you want.”