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Tech Data scurries to keep up with its growth

Tech Data Corp. plans to start construction in January of a new office building at its rapidly growing headquarters complex in Clearwater.

The 70,000-square-foot building will be a mirror image of one completed in May, and the two three-story structures will be connected by a 5,000-square-foot atrium.

Tech Data is one of the largest distributors of microcomputers and related hardware and software in North America.

On Tuesday, the Pinellas County Commission approved certain issues related to a development order, effectively giving the go-ahead on the project. However, there is a 30-day appeal period in which objections may be heard.

In all, the company plans to have 310,000 square feet of space at its expanded headquarters.

A year ago, Tech Data said it would construct the additional building if the need arose. Now, the company says, it clearly has.

Analysts expect the company's revenues to reach $2.4-billion in the fiscal year ending in January _ about 10 times as much as six years ago _ making the company one of the biggest in the Tampa Bay area.

Tech Data now employs 1,700 people in the United States, including 1,350 in Pinellas County. Less than three years ago, the company employed 690 staffers.

The building is expected to be completed within eight months, said JefferyP. Howells, Tech Data's senior vice president and chief financial officer. The building will accommodate approximately 500 people, he said.

Tech Data's headquarters is in the Bay Vista office center, off Roosevelt Boulevard, west of St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

_ Staff writer Ned Seaton contributed to this report.