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VOL. 130 | NO. 15 | Friday, January 23, 2015

Amos Maki

SEND COMMERCIAL LEASE ANNOUNCEMENTS to Amos Maki, who can be reached at 603-4025 or amos@memphisdailynews.com.

Raymond James Tower Fetches $20 Million

By Amos Maki

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How much is a 21-story skyscraper overlooking the Mississippi River worth? About $1 million a floor.

New York-based investor Jacob Sofer will pay Parkway Properties around $20 million for the Raymond James Tower at 50 N. Front St. Downtown, according to several people with knowledge of the transaction. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal for the 340,000-square-foot building is $24 million.

As part of the pending sale, the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. board approved a resolution Tuesday, Jan. 13, transferring a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes lease agreement on the property, which Parkway Properties acquired in 1997.

Formerly known as Morgan Keegan tower, the skyscraper was completed in 1985.

Ron Kastner, senior vice president of office leasing with CB Richard Ellis Memphis, said the new owner’s top priority is increasing occupancy at the tower.

“With this new ownership, we will initiate an extremely aggressive leasing campaign which will bring Raymond James Tower to a much higher level of occupancy, and will include marketing the Tower as a multi-tenant office building,” said Kastner.

“We are pleased the new owners recognize the value of a fast response time, creative leasing incentives and attention to detail at every level,” Kastner said. “This makes our job a whole lot easier, and keeps fellow real estate brokers and tenants very happy.”

The tenant roster includes Raymond James, which currently occupies 185,000 square feet, several high-profile law firms and two banks. The tower sits at the corner of Front and Jefferson Avenue.

In April 2012, Raymond James acquired Memphis-based Morgan Keegan & Co., which had occupied the Downtown skyscraper since it opened in the 1980s. Raymond James in June announced it had reached an agreement with Parkway Properties to lease 185,000 square feet on 12 floors at the building through 2024, a deal that kept around 600 jobs Downtown.

The marketing and disposition of Raymond James tower was coordinated on behalf of the seller, Parkway Properties, through the combined efforts of Johnny Lamberson and Terry Radford of CB Richard Ellis Memphis, and Will Yowell and Justin Parsonnet of CBRE Inc.

The sale of Raymond James tower would complete Parkway Properties’ exit from the Memphis market. Parkway Properties, which had approached Raymond James about buying the office tower, sold a portfolio of buildings, including six in Memphis, to Santa Monica, Calif.-based Hertz Investment Group in 2012.

• In leasing news, a Memphis insurance agency has renewed its lease at a prominent East Memphis office building.

Oseman Insurance Agency Inc. has renewed its 4,698-square-foot lease at the Forum I building at 6750 Poplar Avenue, located at Poplar and Kirby Parkway.

Started in 1985, Oseman Insurance has evolved into one of the region’s premier agencies, offering a wide array of services to clients. Oseman primarily handles property, general liability, automobile, worker’s compensation, directors and officers liability and professional liability insurance.

Will Barden, vice president of office services and brokerage at Colliers International Memphis, represented Oseman Insurance. Patrick Reilly of CB Richard Ellis Memphis represented the landlord, Hertz Investment Group.

• In other leasing news, one of the nation’s oldest wealth management firms has renewed its East Memphis office lease.

Hillyard Lyons has renewed it 4,338-square-foot lease at Clark Tower, located at 5100 Poplar Ave.

Hillyard Lyons’ roots trace back to Louisville in 1850s. Henry J. Lyons & Co. began to thrive in 1878 and acquired a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, John James Byron Hilliard, also of Louisville, joined others to form a bank, eventually changing its name to J.J.B. Hilliard & Son. In 1965, the two companies merged, producing J.J.B Hilliard, W.L. Lyons.

Will Barden, vice president of office services and brokerage at Colliers International Memphis, represented Hillyard Lyons. Anna Tranum of Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors represented landlord In-Rel Properties.

PROPERTY SALES 51 223 1,152
MORTGAGES 55 189 861
BUILDING PERMITS 149 541 2,593