Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

SUNZ Setting in Bradenton

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

SUNZ Setting in Bradenton

Article excerpt

THE MONEY MINDERS

A Sarasota County insurance company is packing up and moving to Bradenton.

The parent of SUNZ Insurance Co. said it will relocate its corporate headquarters, with more than 50 employees, to the former First Bank building in downtown Bradenton.

A subsidiary of SUNZ bought the six-story building, 1301 6th Ave. W., for $2.29 million in late December, according to county records.

SUNZ, whose insurance company provides workers' compensation coverage to professional employer organizations and others, will occupy 30,000 square feet, about half of what is now available in the partly filled building.

"SUNZ's new office space is critical for us to increase our capabilities in key areas that align with our current and future growth goals," said CEO Steve Herrig. "The new location allows us to continue to support the personnel growth we are experiencing, while giving us dedicated facilities to host customer meetings.The office building, opened in 1976, has long been anchored by a financial institution. Missouri-based First Bank acquired it when it bought the struggling Coast Bank of Florida in 2007.

Coast had purchased it as a corporate headquarters in 2004 for $6.8 million. First Bank pulled out of the region last year.

The building had recently been listed for sale at $3.95 million.

The company is renovating the building as it relocates staff by the end of the second quarter.

"SUNZ experienced a 200 percent increase in staff during 2015, and we do not anticipate the growth rate to diminish anytime soon," said president Terri Stevens.

The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. worked with the city and Manatee County to lure SUNZ, EDC president Sharon Hillstrom said.

"This relocation and expansion of the SUNZ corporate headquarters is consistent with the EDC's multi-year strategy and will serve as a catalyst for similar corporate activity downtown," she said. …

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