Tampa Apartments

The transformation of the now-defunct Tampa Tribune‘s downtown real estate will begin sooner rather than later.

Related Group, which is planning a 400-unit, eight-story residential development on the Tribune site, began removing furniture from the building this week, said Arturo Pena, vice president of development.

Miami-based Related closed on the 4.4-acre waterfront property at 202 S. Parker St. in July 2015, paying $17.75 million. The development will also include a 10,000-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor.

Pena said some environmental abatement will be done next week, and that “optimistically,” demolition could begin July 1. “Realistically,” he said, it will likely be mid-July before the building comes down.

The redevelopment of the Tribune site, which has dazzling views of the city skyline, could mark a new era in urban development in Tampa, driving growth on the western bank of the Hillsborough River.

When Related bought the Tribune‘s real estate last summer, then-publisher Brian Burns told his newspaper that the paper would move to other office space and either relocate its presses or make arrangements with a printing company. The Tribune signed a temporary lease with Related, allowing the newspaper to stay in the building until May 1.

Tribune leadership toured several office buildings in Tampa, zeroing in on four different locations and striking a deal with the Tampa Bay Times to print its papers.

In the end, though, a much bigger deal with the Times was signed: The Times on May 3 announced it had acquired the Tribune and would shutter its rival immediately.

Ashley Gurbal Kritzer is a reporter for the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

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