July 17, 2017

Thomas & Betts Executive Talks East Memphis Move, Growth Plans

Memphis Business Journal

July 17, 2017

On Monday, July 17, a Thomas & Betts executive told me why his company is planning to keep its headquarters in Shelby County after its lease in Southwind runs out in December.

The company, which has been owned by ABB Ltd. since 2012, is asking for a $3.1 million local tax break to set up its headquarters in a space ServiceMaster is vacating as part of its move Downtown.

The choice to move there, according to Franklin Sullivan — lead division manager for the Electrification Products Division in North America for Thomas & Betts — had to do with its location, nearby restaurants and the company’s growth plans.

ABB, Thomas & Betts’ parent company, owns a lot of property nationwide, Sullivan said, which gave Thomas & Betts ample opportunity to leave the Mid-South all together. But, the company likes being in Memphis and wouldn’t have wanted to leave the workforce it has built up in the area.

Looking within Shelby County, Sullivan said the ServiceMaster space, located at 860 Ridge Lake Blvd., stood out because of its relative proximity to Memphis International Airport, existing employee homes near Southwind and good restaurants.

“Southwind is a lovely area, but it’s not necessarily the center of entertainment and restaurants,” Sullivan said.

The company’s Southwind home consists of about 246,000 square feet, much of it empty after ABB sold two divisions of the Memphis-based business in 2014. Sullivan is confident the new location’s 169,000-square-foot size will amply accommodate the firm and fit in with its expectations for growth in the coming years.

If the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) for Memphis & Shelby County approves the company’s $3.1 million tax break application at its July 19 meeting, the green light will be given on the basis of those new jobs, 523 retained jobs and a $21 million local investment.

The Memphis Business Journal first reported Thomas & Betts’ plans to move to the new East Memphis location in June.

The move was confirmed Friday, in a news release from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD). TNECD spokeswoman Carly Schroer said the department anticipates the company receiving a FastTrack job training grant but that she couldn’t yet provide details because the contract hasn’t been executed.

Both Thomas & Betts‘ old home and its new location are owned by Boyle Investment Co.