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Morning Watch: Tampa building sells for record price; Trump adds Rick Perry to cabinet; our top TV shows of 2016

Here's what's new around the bay area this morning.

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CITIGROUP BUYS ITS HUGE TAMPA SERVICE CENTER IN RECORD DEAL

Citigroup Inc. has purchased its huge Tampa service center, home to 5,600 employees, in what is being called Florida's largest-ever sale of single-tenant office buildings. The price was not disclosed and the deed had not been recorded as of Tuesday, but the 92-acre, six-building site in the Sabal Park area last sold in 1999 for $147 million.

TRUMP TAPS RICK PERRY TO HEAD DEPARTMENT HE VOWED TO ABOLISH

President-elect Donald Trump picked Rick Perry to head the Energy Department on Wednesday, seeking to put the former Texas governor in control of an agency whose name he forgot during a presidential debate even as he vowed to abolish it. Perry, who ran for president in the past two election cycles, is likely to shift the department away from renewable energy and toward fossil fuels.

 

ALEPPO CEASE-FIRE RUINED, THREATENING EVACUATION PLANS

A cease-fire deal between rebels and the Syrian government in the city of Allepo foundered on Wednesday, threatening plans to evacuate the remaining rebels and tens of thousands of civilians out of harm's way in what would effectively seal the enclave's surrender.

PROSECUTORS: DEPUTIES WERE JUSTIFIED IN USE OF LETHAL FORCE

Prosecutors have decided not to file charges against two Hernando County sheriff's deputies who shot and killed a suicidal elderly man, determining that the officers' use of deadly force was justified. The decision comes more than two months after the Sept. 15 incident.

Times files

HISTORY CENTER ANNOUNCEMENT COMING

The Tampa Bay History Center plans a major announcement at a news conference Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. That's all the history center will say for now. Opened in 2013 along the Tampa Riverwalk downtown, the center — a Smithsonian Institution affiliate — features 12,000 years of local history in its three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space. The center also boasts a museum store, the Witt Research Center, a map gallery, event hall and the Columbia Café, a branch of the historic Columbia Restaurant. Follow @PGuzzoTimes for the big news.

FUTURE OF HILLSBOROUGH TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION TO BE DISCUSSED

The Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission holds its first meeting Wednesday morning under new chairman Al Higginbotham, a Hillsborough County commissioner. The previous chairman urged the abolition of the PTC as he stepped down and key members of the local legislative delegation hope to make that happen in Tallahassee during lawmakers 2017 session. Follow Chris O'Donnell at @codonnell_Times for updates.

MEET RINGLING BROS. FIRST FEMALE RINGMASTER

Kristen Wilson stood in the bathroom at Palmetto-based Feld Entertainment, threw her hands in the air, mouthed a silent "whoop" and did a victory dance that shook her bouncy, brown curls. Only a week had passed since the 35-year-old Florida native was waiting in line for a first audition in Orlando, but she came to believe that she started on the path to becoming Ringling Bros. circus' first female ringmaster during childhood.

COLORFUL BURANO WORTH A SIDE TRIP — BY WATER — FROM VENICE

Four miles and 40 minutes from Venice, Italy is Burano, primarily known for houses that look like they came straight from a child's coloring pad. Boxy in shape, they eschew the muted hues of many Italian structures in favor of egg-yolk yellow, carrot orange and other cartoon colors. Here's what it's like to take a day trip to one of the world's most colorful and picturesque islands.

BEST OF 2016: 10 NEW TV SHOWS

At least something good came out of 2016. More than ever this year we needed to escape into our screens, and thankfully we have a lot of quality TV right in front of us. And that means it's harder than ever to pick what programs to watch. There are familiar titles you've probably already watched and hopefully a few you haven't. Catch up on these before even more new shows drop (we'll preview those in a few weeks).

FX

"Atlanta" is one of the best new TV shows of 2016.

Citigroup has purchased this and five other buildings in its 92-acre CitiBank campus in Tampa  in what is said to be Florida's largest sale ever of single-tenant office buildings. (Photo by Brentton Johnson)

Citigroup has purchased this and five other buildings in its 92-acre CitiBank campus in Tampa in what is said to be Florida's largest sale ever of single-tenant office buildings. (Photo by Brentton Johnson)

Morning Watch: Tampa building sells for record price; Trump adds Rick Perry to cabinet; our top TV shows of 2016 12/14/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 9:07am]
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  1. Jones: Stop talking and start building a new Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was good to see Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, talking Rays baseball and the hope for a new stadium somewhere in Tampa Bay.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is popular with the media on a visit to Tropicana Field.
  2. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. What do kids need to stay away from deadly auto theft epidemic?

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — More than a dozen black teenagers told U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist on Wednesday that children need stronger mentors and youth programs to steer clear of the auto theft epidemic plaguing Pinellas County.

    Congressman Charlie Crist (center) listens as Shenyah Ruth (right), a junior at Northeast High School, talks during Wednesday's youth roundtable meeting with community leaders and kids. They met to discuss the ongoing car theft epidemic among Pinellas youth and how law enforcement, elected officials, and community organizations can work together to put an end to this dangerous trend. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  5. Bucs talk social issues, protests at team meeting

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Each time Dirk Koetter walks through the door of his office at One Buc Place, he passes by the only jersey framed on his wall.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) wears custom cleats to represent Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) as part of the NFL???‚??„?s "My Cause, My Cleats Campaign" before the start of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.