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VOL. 126 | NO. 137 | Friday, July 15, 2011

Sarah Baker

SEND COMMERCIAL LEASE ANNOUNCEMENTS to Sarah Baker, who can be reached at 521-2464 or sbaker@memphisdailynews.com.

CrescoAg Inks Lease for New Downtown HQ

By Sarah Baker

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Downtown Memphis has landed another corporate headquarters. CrescoAg LLC, an independent information management company, has signed a new lease on 4,594 square feet at 88 Union Ave.

CrescoAg provides services and technologies to agriculture retailers, advisers and farmers, as well as companies such as Jimmy Sanders, BASF and Monsanto. Services include real-time crop-monitoring systems, automated soil sampling and decision support tools.

The agricultural start-up company will occupy the entire fifth floor and bring the occupancy of the 78,064-square-foot office building to 77 percent.

Grant Ridgway of CB Richard Ellis Memphis represented the landlord, Three Sisters Partnership, and was the only broker involved in the deal.

N.A. Williams Co. formerly occupied the fifth floor before moving down to the ground floor space at the corner of South Main Street and Union. The new lease is positive news for the building– backfilling a recently vacated space – and also Downtown as a whole, Ridgway said.

“Just as Jimmy Sanders signed a lease and then spun off a new company, CrescoAg, I think it really will be a good, long-term tenant for the building as I expect growth,” he said. “It’s good to have another new headquarters in addition to the (Great American) Steamboat Co. Even though it’s 5,000 square feet at a time, good things are happening Downtown and this is one of those.”

On Monday, July 11, at its Decisions 2011 Seminar at The Peabody hotel, 149 Union Ave., the company introduced its suite of crop decision and risk management tools that will help growers and their trusted advisers better analyze data and make decisions to maximize profitability.

CrescoAg products will primarily be available through retailers and crop consultants throughout the Mid-South and Southeastern U.S. for the 2012 growing season.

In other commercial leasing news, Sweet CeCe’s Frozen Yogurts and Treats has signed a 1,571-square-foot lease in Parkway Place, 1250 N. Germantown Parkway, joining tenants such as Petco, Party City, Bonefish Grill, Thai Bistro and outparcel user Chili’s Grill & Bar Restaurant.

McKay Smith, owner of McE Ventures LLC and the Shelby County franchisee for Nashville-based Sweet CeCe’s, opened his first location in Laurelwood Collection in late October, and is pleased that his second location will also be managed by Lurie & Associates LLC.

He said a second store is a result of the competitive self-serve frozen yogurt market.

“Unless you have a real strong hold on a particular area with little or no competition, I think it’ll be a real challenge to go into this environment with one store,” Smith said. “From leveraging your costs to creating awareness, you can see that the shops that have had the most success at this point – from YoLo to Yo!Gurt Mountain to the Gracie Bleu – all have multiple stores and we always planned on having multiple stores. More is the goal, certainly, but I think the landscape will look a different a year or two from now in regards to who’s all out there and who survived and what’s going on.”

Both Yo!Gurt Mountain and Cool Bliss Frozen Yogurt have locations within a few miles of the new Sweet CeCe’s, but Smith still considers the area “a little less underserved.”

“I know there were some other folks interested in that particular area,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of research, as I know the competitors have, and you look at different things, from demographics to population, schools, churches, parking, etc., and I think in a lot of regards you just try to make the best educated guess you can. It’s a nice outfit, there’s some nice exposure around and I think Cordova will be real receptive to it.”

Gary Shanks and John Reed with The Shopping Center Group LLC represented the tenant. Will Sharp, affiliate broker with Hobson Realtors, represented the landlord, 1250 PP Master Lessee LLC.

The 52,588-square-foot retail center is located in the heart of Cordova, with traffic counts of about 60,000 vehicles per day and an average household income of $76,000 in a three-mile radius. Shanks knows first hand the aggressive nature of the frozen yogurt market.

“We are continuing to see the ‘weigh and pay’ yogurt concepts active in the marketplace looking for class A retail space,” Shanks said.

Sweet CeCe’s is shooting for a middle of September opening.

Snappy Tomato Pizza has signed a 2,002-square-foot lease in the northeast corner of Appling Crossing, a Kroger-anchored retail center off U.S. 70 at Appling Road.

Snappy currently has one location at 932 N. Germantown Parkway – which serves mainly as a delivery and carry-out restaurant – whereas the new Bartlett location will be a pizza buffet with dining area in addition to its delivery/carry-out operation.

The buffet will feature endless Snappy’s signature pizza items along with pasta, salad and desserts. Snappy Tomato Pizza was founded in Fort Mitchell, Ky., and is a privately held pizza chain operating in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Alabama, Florida and New Mexico.

Ford Beach of Beach Investment represented the Memphis-area franchisor and will scout other centers for new locations.

“We are focusing on the eastern part of the city and North Mississippi at this time but will consider other areas, with new franchisees opening in other parts,” Beach said.

Tim Lehning and Tammy Walton with Nashville-based Market Land Co. represented the landlord, Appling Crossing Shops LLC.

PROPERTY SALES 56 289 2,908
MORTGAGES 55 226 2,009
BUILDING PERMITS 108 1,002 6,703
BANKRUPTCIES 42 248 1,225