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CELLPHONE TAX RATE IN FLORIDA IS FOURTH IN U.S.

Florida ranks among the top five states nationally in cellphone taxes, according to a report released Wednesday. The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C., think tank that has been largely backed by conservatives, listed the Sunshine State fourth in federal, state and local taxes and fees for wireless service with a rate of 22.38 percent. Washington state led the list with a tax rate of 24.42 percent, followed by Nebraska at 24.31 percent and New York at 23.56 percent. Illinois rounded out the top five at 21.63 percent. The average American pays 17.05 percent in taxes for wireless service. For those looking for the better tax deals, try one of the five states with the lowest rates: Oregon (7.59 percent), Nevada (7.69 percent), Idaho (8.45 percent), Montana (11.83 percent) and West Virginia (11.97 percent). This is the fifth in a series of reports by the Tax Foundation that examine trends in the taxes, fees and surcharges imposed by federal, state, and local governments on wireless service.

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Office buildings in Tampa being sold

Three high-end office buildings that make up the Corporate Center at International Plaza are being acquired by an Orlando-based company as part of a $237 million deal. Parkway Properties said it is buying a portfolio of 22 buildings in six Southern states to obtain Corporate Center I, II and III in the hot Westshore market. As part of the same transaction, expected to close this year, the company will sell the other 19 buildings to an undisclosed buyer who has put down $10 million in earnest money. "The successful disposition of the 19 office buildings ... will allow us to achieve our ultimate goal of acquiring the three Corporate Center assets in Tampa, where we believe we can add considerable value," James R. Heistand, Parkway's president and CEO, said in a statement. Corporate Center's current occupancy rates are well below those of other Westshore office buildings, some of which are 90 percent leased. Parkway, which owns or has interest in 51 office properties in eight states, is buying the 22 buildings from entities connected to Saudi Arabia's royal family.

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Harbour Island apartments to rise

Construction is due to start by the end of October on a 21-story apartment tower on Harbour Island. The project will transform an empty lot into an upscale, 235-unit community with a mix of one- and two-bedroom floor plans and two-story townhomes. There also will be a seven-story, 414-space parking garage. The as-yet-unnamed project is a joint venture between Forge Capital Partners and Intown/Framework Group, both based in Tampa. Intown is known for its urban residential developments including Skypoint and Element in downtown Tampa and Meridian Lofts in the nearby Channel District.

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