On ‘Obsolete’ State Structures & the T3 Plan

A study commissioned by the state has found four state office buildings to be “old and obsolete” — the Cordell Hull State Office Building and John Sevier State Office Building in Nashville, the Donnelly J. Hill State Office Building in Memphis and the Chattanooga State Office Building.
The latter is the central focus of an Andy Sher article in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. It was found to need $8.5 million in renovations, purchased by the state for $5.85 million in 1981 and subsequently renovated.
John Fetz, senior managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, told State Building Commission members this summer they should start looking to move offices in all four buildings into other space.
…In its study for a proposed state “master plan,” Jones Lang LaSalle examined 33 of the 156 buildings managed by the Department of General Services. The 33 buildings collectively amount to 4.6 million square feet of office space.
The consultants identified an estimated $241.1 million worth of problems requiring immediate or short-term investments in the 33 buildings. They also called for a modern facility management and operation model.
The Jones Lang LaSalle study dovetails with Gov. Bill Haslam’s ambitious statewide Transforming Tennessee for Tomorrow (T3) plan.
T3 aims to move a number of operations and employees from leased office space into state-owned buildings.
The Department of General Services aims to slash operating costs by concentrating workers more closely and boosting efficiency through updated office environments that spur greater collaboration, according to the plan.
Officials aim to cut the amount of owned and leased office space by nearly 1 million square feet from the present 5.47 million square feet over 10 years and save close to 10 percent, or $102.7 million, in operating costs.
Under Jones Lang LaSalle’s proposed facility recommendations, Tennessee could save $18.8 million in operating costs a year.
…Final recommendations on the Chattanooga building are still under review, said Kelly Smith, spokeswoman for General Services Commissioner Steve Cates.
The building is one of the state’s most underused, figures show. The state could move many Chattanooga employees from leased space to that building, or agencies now in the building could move to leased quarters, Smith said.
Smith said a decision would come later this year or early in 2013.
She said the state for years has not “invested the capital needed to keep the buildings up” adequately. The Haslam administration took office 20 months ago.

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