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‘Priatek Plaza’ towers over downtown St. Pete

By Steven Girardi
Published: September 17, 2015 Updated: September 17, 2015 at 06:14 PM
The name of Priatek is added to the downtown St. Petersburg tower. LANCE ROTHSTEIN / STAFF

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County’s tallest building has a new name, and one that city promoters say will boost the county’s technology image, as well.

The 28-story office building at 220 Central Ave., previously known as One Progress Tower, has been renamed Priatek Plaza, where politicians and business people gathered Thursday to announce the change as the new signs went up.

Priatek, which moved into the building’s 23rd floor five months ago, is an interactive, digital advertising company founded by Milind Bharvirkar.

The company links consumers with advertisers through prize contests on public kiosks, social media or mobile applications, Bharvirkar said. Customers at kiosks, for instance, choose from a menu of advertisers’ products and then compete to win it or to get discount coupons toward the purchase.

Customers must register to play, and advertisers are charged only for the times their product is chosen.

Bharvirkar said it is an innovative and simpler way for advertisers to use prize promotions, which are popular but complicated to run on their own.

“We create them for the businesses and market them,” he said.

Bharvirkar, 47, has grossed more than $150 million in sales through various prize promotions. He said he and his wife, Heather, who have two young children, were impressed with St. Petersburg during visits and meeting with local officials, and decided to move the company here from the San Jose, California, area.

He said Priatek is an acronym for Prize Advertising Technology. The company started in 2009 with two employees working from his home and now has 15 employees and continues to grow. He said Kucera Properties, which manages the tower, offered him the chance to put his name on the 386-foot-tall building, and he agreed after several months of consideration. He declined to say what the company paid for it.

Chris Steinhocher, president of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Rick Kriseman and county commission Chairman John Morroni were among those who welcomed Bharvirkar. Each mentioned the importance of having a new innovative, high-tech company assume such a high profile in the area.

“I can’t wait to see how big you guys get,” Kriseman said.

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