The State Building Commission’s executive committee signed off Friday on leasing new office space for employees now working in four state buildings slated for closure despite what The Tennessean calls “lingering questions about the state’s relationship with” Jones Lang LaSalle, the firm that recommended the closing and leasing of new space.
The Tennessean story focuses on employees at the Cordell Hull Building, located on the north side of the state capitol building, who will move to a Metro Center building perhaps two or three miles away. The Commercial Appeal has a story focused on employees of the Donnelley J. Hill building in Memphis, who will move a few blocks to the One Commerce Square building.
Excerpt from The Tennessean:
The move, as well as similar relocations in Chattanooga and Memphis, received a nod from the Tennessee comptroller, treasurer and secretary of state even as the comptroller’s office conducts an audit of the Department of General Services, which oversees state buildings.
The audit will include a review of the contract between the state and Jones Lang LaSalle, the Chicago firm hired to hammer out the leases. The company stands to net more than $2.3 million in commissions, paid by the landlord, once the deals close. Comptroller Justin Wilson said his vote Friday was not influenced by the ongoing audit.
“I wanted to be sure that (the leases) were done consistent with the contract, and I was assured that they were,” he said. “We haven’t issued that audit. I can’t talk about what I think one way or the other about that until that thing is done.”
The Department of General Services has been reshuffling state offices in Nashville and elsewhere as part of a plan to bring down the state’s real e costs. Thousands of workers have been moved — sometimes just a few floors, other times across town — into new quarters renovated to save space.
The Department of General Services said the deal will cost the state about $1.25 million a year, about $6.4 million a year less than the cost to renovate and operate Cordell Hull and the Central Services Building, its annex.
Department officials estimate that the plan to close Cordell Hull and other state buildings will save Tennessee as much as $74 million over the next decade.
Excerpt from the CA:
The state will close the Donnelley J. Hill State Office Building on Civic Center Plaza after the move of 480 state employees about six blocks south into One Commerce Square, which opened in 1972 as the home of National Bank of Commerce. State officials haven’t decided what to do with the 14-story Hill Building, which opened in 1968 and contains 121,505 feet of rentable space.
…JLL’s commission on the Memphis lease is $953,519 but $148,204 of that will be rebated to the state, according to the Department of General Services. Its commission on the four leases approved Friday averages 72 cents per square foot, Heimbach told the Building Commission.