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Times new home set to open

The Citrus Times on Monday will open a new office on SE Kings Bay Drive, a move company officials said addresses space needs and fortifies the newspaper's long-term commitment to Citrus County.

The new west-side home of the regional edition of the St. Petersburg Times is in the former Horn's Jewelry building, near a Publix supermarket and a Bank of America branch.

The new office will house the newspaper's advertising manager and staff as well as several news staffers. The Citrus Times' main newsroom is on Main Street in Inverness.

The building is larger than the paper's former office on U.S. 19, which the Times leased for nearly two decades, and is within city limits.

"This move provides the Times a great opportunity to really sink roots in Citrus by being a corporate landowner and enhances our relationship with our readers and advertisers," said Larry Beasley, North Suncoast general manager.

The Times Publishing Co. purchased the Horn building, situated on 1.4 acres, in December for $450,000. The inside has been remodeled, and exterior renovations are expected to be complete by August.

Jim Falkenburg, retail advertising manager,

said the new office is needed because of increasing ad sales and circulation.

"This larger building with state-of-the-art technology will enable us to serve our customers more efficiently and accommodate the fast-paced growing needs of our community," Falkenburg said.

"We're thrilled to be moving to a bigger building," said editor Greg Hamilton. "The old office was bursting at the seams. It feels good to have some elbow room for the growing staff."

In the past decade, the Citrus Times daily circulation has grown to more than 16,000 from 8,500 and the Sunday edition to more than 20,000 from 13,000.

The overall Monday-through-Saturday circulation of the St. Petersburg Times, including all zone editions, is about 353,500, making the Times the largest daily newspaper in Florida. The Sunday edition tops 434,000.

The new office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The main telephone number for the office is 564-3614.