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Major U.S. defense contractor leasing office space in downtown St. Petersburg.

Defense contractor L3 Technologies is moving dozens of employees to downtown St. Petersburg, which has struggled to attract major new office tenants.
L3 Technologies is joining the roster of tenants at 490 First Avenue St. in St. Petersburg that includes the Tampa Bay Times, Penny Hoarder and Bank OZK.
L3 Technologies is joining the roster of tenants at 490 First Avenue St. in St. Petersburg that includes the Tampa Bay Times, Penny Hoarder and Bank OZK.
Published Jan. 2, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — L3 Technologies, a major U.S. government contractor, is moving dozens of employees to downtown St. Petersburg.

The New York-based company has begun leasing space at 490 First Avenue S, headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times, according to a notice posted in the building. An L3 spokesperson did not provide further details Wednesday.

The move is a significant development for St. Petersburg's downtown office market, which has attracted few big-name tenants in recent years.

Founded in 1997, L3 provides a broad range of high-tech products to customers including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. intelligence agencies, aerospace contractors and commercial telecommunications and wireless customers. Among its best-known products are the 360-degree body scanners used at Tampa International and other airports.

In October, the company announced it is merging with Melbourne-based Harris Corp., another major government contractor. The deal, which would create a $33.5 billion company called L3 Harris Technologies, is expected to be completed in the middle of this year pending a Defense Department review.

With nearly 50,000 employees, the new company will become the sixth-largest U.S. defense contractor, the Washington Post reported.

L3 currently has facilities in 13 countries and 18 states. Last fall, it said it was cutting 67 of the approximately 120 jobs at a location on Gandy Boulevard in north St. Petersburg where it makes security devices.

In addition to the Times, L3 joins Bank OZK and online financial advice site the Penny Hoarder at 490 First Avenue S. Last month, California-based Lincoln Property Co. bought the three-building complex for $39.35 million. Construction is underway to accommodate L3, which is leasing the fifth and sixth floors and part of the first.

L3's shares, traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LLL, were at $171.11 Wednesday afternoon, down $2.55.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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