A warehouse in the Nashville airport area is trading in plastic injection molding for GooGoo Clusters.
GooGoo maker Standard Candy Co. is anchoring Holladay Properties’ redevelopment of a 170,000-square-foot building at 660 Massman Drive, down the street from its headquarters.
Holladay recently paid $3 million for the building that had once been a plant for defunct auto supplier Collins & Aikman. The developer will this month begin converting the building into a $6.6 million distribution center. Work is scheduled for completion at the end of the year.
Standard has leased 100,000 square feet. Allen Arender, project manager for Holladay, said the firm is responding for requests for proposals for the remaining 70,000 square feet.
The lease could register is one of the larger ones this year in a sluggish industrial market for leasing. Vacancy is roughly 9 percent across the board in the Nashville area and only the 300,000-square-foot lease by Nissan supplier George Johnson in La Vergne have put a dent in that number. In addition, new space coming online later this year could sit empty longer and drive up vacancy if leasing activity doesn’t pick up.
Holladay’s Massman building was built in the 1960s and added on to into the 1980s. It has sat empty for several years in part because its interior space has columns everywhere as well as pneumatic piping running along the ceiling.
“Nobody could figure out what to do with it,” said Ronnie Wenzler, a broker with Colliers Turley Martin Tucker who represents Holladay.
“When you walk in, all you see is spaghetti and steel,” Arender said.
Arender said a structural engineer came in and determined that many of the columns weren’t needed since their primary purpose was to support cranes used in manufacturing but not for structural support.
Holladay started down the path toward converting the building without a tenant in mind. Standard Candy came into play through its broker Jim Smith, who happens to be a broker with Wenzler at Colliers.
The company is based at 715 Massman Drive and has warehouse operations scattered in the area. It is consolidating that space into the converted building and doubling in size. The company employs more than 100 people locally has annual sales of about $70 million.
“It’s a great example of a local manufacturer growing,” Wenzler said from the Donut Hole in Destin, Fla.