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VOL. 126 | NO. 156 | Thursday, August 11, 2011

$20M in Improvements on Tap for One Commerce

By Sarah Baker

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Plans for $20 million worth of tenant improvements are coming right along at One Commerce Square.

Commercial Advisors LLC held a tenant meeting and appreciation lunch Thursday, Aug. 11 in the historic bank lobby, 40 S. Main St. The event was led by Gary Prosterman, president and CEO of Development Services Group and one of the partners in Memphis Commerce Square Partners LLC, the new ownership group of One Commerce.

By the end of the week, a bank with a signed letter of intent will ink its lease in One Commerce. Multiple sources have confirmed to The Daily News that Independent Bank is in the final stages of negotiating a deal to put a bank branch – and possibly additional office space – in the tower, where for years the top of the building was adorned with the logo for National Bank of Commerce and later SunTrust Banks Inc.

Also expected to close in the next two weeks is a new restaurant lease to fill the space formerly occupied by McAlister’s Deli, along with a new coffee and beverage kiosk.

LRK is the assigned architect for One Commerce’s renovations. One of four drawings displayed at the meeting depicted new seating, a relocated security desk and the “addition of a coffee and deli venue.” The words, “Fresh Deli,” were written in white on a dark green background next to a fork, leaf and spoon – a carbon copy of Cheffie’s logo.

Cheffie’s, which opened in March in High Point Terrace in Cruiser’s High Point Hub, is owned by Jennifer Chandler and Matt Wilson, who owns Swanky’s Taco Shop.

Swanky’s Taco Shop catered both Thursday’s meeting and also a breakfast at One Commerce on July 27 when Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. addressed the Memphis Area Association of Realtors’ Commercial Council.

Swanky’s is known for its casual, “Tennessee-Mex cuisine,” along with its tequila bar. Prosterman said the restaurant tenant plans to apply for a liquor license.

Wilson was not able to comment on the matter – yet.

“I really can’t comment about that right now, but at some point in the future I may be able to comment on that, we just don’t have anything concrete yet,” Wilson said. “I would hate to speak out of school if you know what I mean.”

What Wilson did say, however, is the momentum One Commerce is seeing right now will touch far more than the tenants that occupy or will occupy the 30-story Downtown Memphis landmark.

“There is a lot going on in that building, that’s for sure,” Wilson said. “I think it’s great that Pinnacle is moving in there to breathe some life into that building. That old bank annex is a great space there. They’re talking about using that space for meetings, parties, weddings and all kinds of stuff.”

Posterman confirmed that this was the temporary plan, to have the lobby space available for rent, adding, “Ideally, we would love to find a single tenant.”

Another huge change on tap for the 30-story building is to add new operating systems to the elevators. Running at about $100,000 per elevator, that’s an overall commitment of $1 million.

New restrooms, substantial improvements to the parking garage, and “much more efficient” window film that “improves visibility when you look out,” will also be a part of the renovation, Prosterman said.

New lighting is also in store for One Commerce, which will not only provide enhanced security, but also allow the building to turn blue for Grizzlies and Tigers games.

The building is also in the midst of securing silver LEED certification status, making it Downtown’s only office building in that category and Memphis’ second, behind Triad Centre III, 6070 Poplar Ave. Since part of that process encourages employees to walk and bike to work, plans are in the works to add new showers in the building.

This week marked the first phase of Pinnacle Airlines Corp.’s relocation of its headquarters from Memphis International Airport to One Commerce Square. The first 120 of its 650 employees moved in Monday, Aug. 8.

Signs that once bared, “National Bank of Commerce,” will soon say, “Pinnacle Air Lines.” Prosterman assured the audience that the building’s name, however, will remain One Commerce Square. A “real entrance” off Monroe Avenue with a “fairly substantial canopy” is planned, since the building’s current access off South Main Street is minimal.

By the end of September, Pinnacle will occupy a total of 170,000 square feet across 13 floors in the Class A building.

Soon thereafter, Electrolux will temporarily take over the entire 24th floor as a startup command center, overseeing the construction and development of its new 700,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park.

Also announced this week is Great American Steamboat Co.’s new 7,000-square-foot lease.

The leases bring the occupancy rate of the 29-story, 399,350-square-foot building to about 80 percent, Prosterman said.

The lobby is expected to be completed by December or January 2012.

“Most of it is we’re waiting on these two leases to get signed,” Prosterman said.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 51 223 1,152
MORTGAGES 55 189 861
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 25 45 144
BUILDING PERMITS 149 541 2,593
BANKRUPTCIES 24 120 581
BUSINESS LICENSES 14 65 264
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0