VOL. 126 | NO. 254 | Friday, December 30, 2011
Electrolux Chooses W.G. Yates as General Contractor
By Bill Dries
Electrolux's Major Appliances Division has picked W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co. as general contractor for construction of its manufacturing center in southwest Memphis.
Electrolux executives made the announcement Friday, Dec. 30, three days after some elected leaders expressed concern over the share of work local contractors would get on the $80 million project.
Yates has an East Memphis office, but its corporate headquarters are in Philadelphia, Miss. The contractor recently renewed its lease for 6,072 square feet of office space at 5050 Poplar Ave.
The 47-year-old company has offices in six states: Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. The Memphis office is Yates' only Tennessee location.
As part of its announcement, Electrolux executives also said half of the $80 million construction budget will be spent with Memphis-area firms, with 15 percent to minority- and women-owned area businesses.
The company estimated it has already spent $5 million with 10 local firms as it plans the move from the Montreal area to Memphis.
Shelby County Commission chairman Sidney Chism, outgoing Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery and Tennessee State Sen. Beverly Marrero, chairwoman of the Shelby County delegation to the state legislature, sent a letter to Electrolux Tuesday, Dec. 27, expressing concern about the number of Memphis companies that would be part of the construction project.
The distinction is that Electrolux officials in announcing the Yates decision committed to work going to “area businesses.”
In their letter, Chism, Lowery and Marrero emphasized the need for “Memphis and Shelby County businesses” to benefit from the planned $100 million in state and local government funding for infrastructure improvements on and around the construction site.
Council members plan to talk more about their specific concerns during the council’s Tuesday, Jan. 3, executive session.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said he and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell will meet with Electrolux executives Jan. 12 about a share of the work for local minority- and women-owned businesses.
“Today is just a beginning,” Wharton said in a written statement about Electrolux’s selection of Yates. “We have every confidence the company will continue to show its commitment to minority and local participation.”
Luttrell termed the announcement a “good start in our efforts to revitalize our local business economy.”
“We will continue to talk with Electrolux officials and the general contractor to help ensure there is more involvement from Shelby County area contractors, especially minority-owned and women-owned businesses,” Luttrell added in his written statement.