VOL. 119 | NO. 39 | Thursday, February 24, 2005
By Andy Meek
Federal Agency Constructs Local Office
USCIS to fill build-to-suit space in Summer business park
The Daily News
The Memphis office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services is getting 30,000 square feet of new space in a business park just off
The new building, located at 842 Virginia Run Cove, will
provide office and temporary holding space for the group. The project is slated
to be finished by early summer, and the completed facility will operate in a
business park that includes Rural-Metro Corp. and Heartland Industries Inc., a
provider of yard materials.
Construction activity. 5325
Summer Avenue Properties owns the business park, situated northeast of the
intersection of Summer and Interstate 40 and across
the street from Malcos Drive-In Cinema.
A $1.6 million building permit was filed Jan. 21 for the
project, according to The Daily News Public Records Database,
www.memphisdailynews.com. Three other permits totaling about $1.4 million have
been filed for the property in the last six months.
The new building is being leased to the USCIS by the U.S. General
Services Administration, a group that supports a myriad of federal agencies by providing
buildings, products and services. The USCIS is a new group that was formed when
the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service was folded into the Department
of Homeland Security in 2003.
New local presence. Calls
to the current Memphis USCIS office at 1341 Sycamore View Road were not
returned, but an official with Flintco, the general
contractor for 842 Virginia Run Cove, said the building will house the new
local presence of the USCIS.
They actually have an office now at Sycamore View and
Macon, and theyre going to relocate to this space, said Mary Jo Reese,
project manager for Flintco.
The agencys Memphis location is a sub-office of the New
Orleans District of the USCIS. The Memphis office provides immigration-related
services to East Arkansas, North Mississippi and Tennessee.
Public space. Reese
said the new space on Virginia Run Cove will have several uses for the USCIS,
which will be the buildings only tenant.
Its going to be offices, and as well, people who want to
apply for citizenship can go to this space, she said. They will also detain
any illegal immigrants they might pick up during the day, and theyre not kept
there overnight, but theyre processed and sent to another facility. There are
some holding cells in there, some offices and some waiting rooms.
J. Wise Smith Associates is the architect for the Virginia
Run Cove project. Mike Hoffman, director of construction for Grace Development,
said the one-story building should be finished by June 1, adding that construction
is under way and the shell building is nearly complete. But Reese said it could
be as late as July before the facility is ready to begin operating.
GSA facilities. In
the meantime, the building is one of the newest additions to the General
Services Administrations local footprint, which includes several Memphis
properties. Among them are an IRS Service Center housed in an 884,000-square-foot
building at 5333 Getwell Road and a 3,700-square-foot facility at 2990 Airways
The GSAs Public Buildings Service manages more than 39.1
million square feet of space throughout the Southeast, in states including
Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. The organizations 13,000 associates
support more than 1 million federal employees in 8,000 government-owned and leased
The GSA also is a catalyst for billions of dollars in
federal spending and influences the management of an estimated $500 billion in
federal assets. Those assets include government buildings, an interagency
vehicle fleet and high-priced computer systems. The bulk of GSAs operating
expenses are recovered through the goods and services it provides to federal
agencies; about 1 percent of the groups budget comes from Congressional
Completing the development.
Hoffman said the Virginia Run Cove project was ideal because it allowed more
tenants to be added to the business park. But though he said the new building
has been leased, he declined to identify the new tenant as the USCIS.
Its just one tenant, and were kind of doing a
build-to-suit lease-back kind of deal for them, he said. There are three or four
other buildings already in that park. The easiest, simplest answer is that we
had a piece of land available in there for the tenant thats going to occupy
the building, and it just worked out that we were able to build it and complete
our little development on that street.
However, Gary Mote, public information officer for the GSA,
confirmed that the USCIS will occupy the building. The facility at 842 Virginia
Cove falls in the GSAs Southeast Sunbelt region, which besides Tennessee includes
Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and
According to the groups Web site, more than 1,100
associates work in the region.