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VOL. 126 | NO. 194 | Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Three-in-One

Highwoods’ capital improvements cohere Triad Centre buildings

By Sarah Baker

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Highwoods Properties Inc. is about two weeks away from completing more than $1 million in parking lot renovations and building improvements at the East Memphis office complex Triad Centre, bringing its three developments into a cohesive, campus-style environment.

Highwoods Properties is making interior and exterior changes to Triad Centre II including a new lobby floor, front entry, elevator cabs, reconfiguration of the parking lot and landscaping.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)

The three-month project was basically a parking lot renovation for both Triad Centre I (6000 Poplar Ave.) and Triad Centre II (6060 Poplar Ave.), while also enhancing the entrance and lobby for Triad II.

Steve Guinn, vice president of Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods Properties, said since the real estate investment trust in 2009 built Triad Centre III (6070 Poplar Ave.) – the city’s first office building certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – it knew improvements were also going to be required for the complex’s front two buildings.

“One of the things you don’t want to do is build a new building and forget about the other buildings,” Guinn said. “Obviously, we’re not going to forget about our two buildings that front Poplar. I think it’ll pay off it in the long run.”

The firm had just finished renovations in Triad I in the fall of 2009, including new elevators and lobby improvements. So the focus was strictly on Triad II, Guinn said.

The results of that focus include a completely refurbished front entrance with two sets of double doors, doubling capacity. The doors are also handicap accessible.

Inside the building, Triad II has new flooring, ceiling, wall finishes, elevator cab finishes and lighting.

Another new feature – which greatly increased traffic efficiency – is the creation of a new drive-thru lane for Bank of America, housed in Triad II.

Before, Guinn said, if a customer was using the drive-thru, there were a couple of options to do so but it was effectively driving through a parking lot.

Now, there’s a much easier way to access the drive-thru bank teller windows, which will take a lot of the traffic out of the parking lot.

While the construction only started in mid-July, conversations with Bank of America started about two years ago.

“They’re effectively running a retail operation there, so we needed some good coordination with them and their buy into it,” Guinn said. “Which, the bank’s been great. And it’s a very busy bank.”

A worker passes through the lobby of Triad Centre II, which is being renovated by Highwoods Properties.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)

Parking lot changes to the surface lot, which holds about 325 cars, included restriping, changes to the curbing, landscaping and the addition of handicap accessibility among all of three entrances from the public sidewalks.

Highwoods annually makes capital improvements based on priority, and Guinn said that this was “kind of par for the course, so-to-speak.”

“Our parking lots were in relatively poor shape, and so we took the opportunity to redo them,” Guinn said. “I think just in general, all of the parking flow is much better than it was.”

Parking lot layout revisions were completed by David Hoback and Scott Hatley, architects with The Crump Firm Inc. The duo also worked with Highwoods for about two years from start to finish on Triad II’s new building frontage and interior lobby improvements. Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC was Highwoods’ contractor, and civil engineering primarily was completed by The Reaves Firm Inc.

But perhaps the most notable changes – at least for those crossing the Poplar Avenue and Ridgeway Road/Shady Grove intersection – can be seen in the new signage. Additional space on new monument signs allowed Highwoods to include the names of tenants such as Glankler Brown PLLC law firm, which was not there previously.

The old signs that once read, “6000 Poplar” and “6060 Poplar” have been removed and replaced with “Triad Centre.”

And that’s exactly the brand Guinn is proud to present to the public.

“We’ve been referring to it as Triad Centre for a couple of years, but I always said to myself, ‘Until we get those signs down, it’s going to be difficult for the public to quit saying 6000 and 6060 Poplar and start saying Triad Center I, Triad Center II,’” he said. “And I think it’s coming.”

Triad I and II’s occupancy levels are both about 90 percent, Guinn said. And Triad III – which has inked recent leases like Southern Sun Asset Management, Evolve Bank and Trust and Courtview Capital Securities with several prospects lined up – is well on its way to approaching full occupancy as well.

“I think this is one of the highest profile intersections in town, if not the highest profile,” Guinn said. “We’re glad we’re able to get this done and have all three buildings more cohesive.”

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