Memphis-based Federal Express could be landing in Nashville with a substantial investment.
Sources have said the company is looking at building a back-up processing center near the Nashville airport. They say the center would be about 500,000 square feet and mean a major capital investment.
The city’s economic development officials at both the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and in Metro government had no comment.
This deal could give Mayor Karl Dean an early economic development victory and be just the beginning as other deals floating around land, one of those being Oreck Corp.’s headquarters.
New Orleans-based Oreck has been rumored to be moving its headquarters here for the past two years, especially last year when it opened a manufacturing operation in Cookeville and established sales and marketing in downtown Nashville.
Oreck’s Long Beach, Miss., operations reopened after Hurricane Katrina but the company faced high insurance costs and couldn’t get coverage in some instances.
While Oreck has insisted its headquarters wouldn’t be moving, the signs show another direction. This summer, Tom Oreck, president and chief executive officer and son of the founder David Oreck, this summer bought the Minnie Pearl mansion on Curtiswood Lane next to the Governor’s Mansion for $4.6 million.
Oreck’s purchase was downplayed as a signal of a headquarters move. But real estate sources say Oreck has been looking at office locations near the airport and in Brentwood.
Meanwhile, FedEx could land soon. The company’s back-up center won’t mean a tremendous number of jobs, possibly 100 or so. But the jobs for these centers pay above average median income in the range of $70,000-$80,000 a year.
Though not a big job generator, the FedEx deal would mean a substantial capital investment that possibly reaches into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
An architect familiar with such projects said processing centers are among the most expensive buildings to construct, saying the cost runs $900-$1,200 per square foot to build.
Total cost depends on what goes in the building. Back-up generators alone, for example, can cost $1 million a piece.
Apparently, one source said FedEx has already started to price equipment locally and the center would have 30-40 such generators. Then there’s a bevy of redundancy built in that drives up the cost.
Such buildings are nice for a city because they generate above-average personal property tax revenue. A former official with Mayor Bill Purcell pointed to the Bank of New York’s back-up processing center, which opened two years ago in Nashville.
“That’s a cash cow for the city,” the former official said of the taxes collected on the equipment in the building.