Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) has announced that it has sold its downtown Lakeland headquarters to Publix Super Markets Inc for an undisclosed amount.
FCM has been at the site - located at the southeast corner of Orange Street and Massachusetts Avenue - for 68 years.
"Florida Citrus Mutual had a long run here and there have been a lot of important decisions made in this building that have shaped the direction of the Florida citrus industry, so this decision was not made lightly," said Michael Sparks, executive vice-president and CEO of FCM. "Our board of directors believes now is the right time to sell. We couldn't have a better buyer. Publix is the pinnacle of professionalism and we appreciate their diligence in making this happen."
The deal encompasses the 21,000ft2, two-story building and the city block bordered by Massachusetts and Orange as well as Lime Street and Iowa Avenue. The parcel overlooks Lake Morton and has garnered much interest over the years. Sparks said Mutual's staff and executive committee is now looking for a new headquarters somewhere in Polk County.
FCM once employed more than 75 people in the building known for its art deco design and unfinished wood paneling interior. But that number has dwindled with the shrinking citrus crop and now Mutual and a handful of tenants occupy it. The current tenants will vacate the building prior to 31 August 2017.