July 22, 2015

Office Users Find Variety of Reasons to Cluster in Poplar-240 Neighborhood

By Andy Ashby
– Memphis Business Journal –

It seems as though companies like Consumer Credit Association, Inc., are choosing office space in the Poplar and Interstate 240 area for the oldest of real estate reasons: location, location, location.

The national credit reporting company has spent the last 20 years in a 10,000-square-foot office building it owned at 4066 Summer.

By May, the company expects to move 28 employees into a 5,800-square-foot space in Legacy Center, a 62,000-square-foot office building being developed by Peck Development Co. at 1661 Aaron Brenner Drive.

"The facility we were in on Summer held its value and served our company well for years," says president J.B. ‘Sonny’ Jackson. "We weren’t moving because we were unhappy with the Summer area, as much as we saw the Legacy Center as a tremendous opportunity to get back into the center of our customer base."

Consumer Credit Association’s key customers are in the banking and mortgage business.

The move to Legacy Center was also appealing due to current and potential clients in nearby office buildings such as International Place, Crescent Center and Renaissance Center, as well as future office developments by Boyle Investment Co. and Highwoods Properties, Inc.

"We did feel like it would enhance our business and give us the exposure we would like to have in the community," Jackson says. "Just the accessibility to the customers that are operating right in that immediate area, we think will become an instant asset to what we do."

For years, Consumer Credit Association has looked at other areas of Memphis for new office space, but didn’t pull the trigger.

Even though East Memphis Class A space has the highest average asking lease rate in the market, currently $26.35 per square foot according to CB Richard Ellis Memphis’ Office MarketView fourth quarter report, it’s where the company wanted to be.

Other companies apparently agree with them, as the East Memphis Class A vacancy rate is 1.8%.

However, the chance to become an ownership partner in Legacy Center was what ultimately pushed Consumer Credit Association to make the move.

"The opportunity to go in with David Peck on his project and become one of the partners in Legacy Center was actually the driving force behind us making the final decision," says Meredith A. Crawford, executive vice president. "It was just an investment opportunity our board of directors wanted us to participate in."

Nearby, SunTrust Banks, Inc., will consolidate five offices spread across Memphis in 50,000-square-feet of space at Boyle’s new office building at 999 South Shady Grove.

Having a central location for clients is one of SunTrust’s reasons for moving to Poplar and I-240, according to Memphis CEO John Frazer.

"If our people are doing their jobs, they are in the businesses and in the homes of our clients," he says. "It just allows us to be more accessible to our clients. In other words, we’re saving time, we’re more efficient, we’re doing a better job out east than if we were not out east."

A central office location is also key for employees, according to BDO Seidman LLC partner Mark Puckett.

The accounting firm was founded Downtown in 1935, moved to Clark Tower in 1996 and is planning a move into 8,741 square feet in the Crescent Center in May.

"We have people in our firm that live east, north, south and west of the office, but since we’re so centrally located, it’s convenient for a whole host of reasons," Puckett says. "We also view it as an enhancement for our entire office team to be in a premier location."