Syniverse headquarters moving to New Tampa

The move in November will free up 189,000 square feet at One Tampa City Center in downtown Tampa.

Published March 5, 2005

TAMPA - Syniverse Holdings Inc. last month launched the largest initial public offering by a local company in recent memory.

Now Syniverse is about to become the largest company in recent memory to leave downtown Tampa. The telecommunications services company said Friday it plans to move its headquarters from One Tampa City Center on North Franklin Street to the Highwoods Preserve corporate campus in New Tampa.

Syniverse and its roughly 800 employees occupy about 189,000 square feet of office space on eight floors of One Tampa City Center. The company has signed an 11-year lease with 581 Highwoods L.P. on a six-story, 199,000-square-foot building on the Highwoods campus, Syniverse spokesman Helen Harris said. The company will begin moving into its new location in November and expects the relocation to take several months to complete, Harris said.

Local market observers said they couldn't recall the last time such a large commercial space had opened up in downtown Tampa. They said the closest recent parallel was when the law firm of Carlton Fields moved last year from One Harbour Place on Harbour Island to Corporate Center Three near International Plaza. The firm's offices occupy about half as much space as Syniverse's facilities.

Syniverse's move was prompted in large part by last year's hurricanes, Harris said. The storms raised fresh concerns about the security of the company's on-site network of servers and switches that process a wide array of telecom services, including the transfer of wireless customers' phone numbers from one carrier to another, she said.

The Highwoods campus, which is north of Interstate 75 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, offers the added security of being outside of a flood evacuation zone and having an improved electrical infrastructure for Syniverse's network, Harris said.

Syniverse, formerly known as TSI Telecommunication Services Inc., has been at One Tampa City Center since 1994, when it was part of GTE Corp., which merged in 2000 with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon Communications.

Verizon spun off TSI in 2002, but still leases space over 12 floors of One Tampa City Center and has its name prominently displayed on the building. Cushman & Wakefield, which manages and leases the building, is looking for a tenant to move into five of the floors occupied by Verizon, which no longer needs the space, according to Cushman director Barry Oaks.

Oaks said Cushman is confident it will be able to find a tenant to replace Syniverse, whose home includes 130,000 square feet of contiguous office space.

Downtown Tampa Partnership president Christine Burdick downplayed the significance of Syniverse's move, saying it was less a reflection on downtown than on the company's special needs as a technology company.

"I think we're all very happy that they're staying in the Tampa area," she said. "Not every single business in the whole world is right for downtown."

Louis Hau can be reached at 813 226-3404 or hau@sptimes.com