City prime for 'relocation surge' as economy improves - WSMV News 4

City prime for 'relocation surge' as economy improves

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For years large swaths of downtown office space has been sitting idle and managers of high rises have been begging for tenants.

Signs that say "for lease" have been no stranger to the downtown landscape. Properties that currently dominate the Nashville skyline have tens of thousands of square feet in unrented office space.

The new Pinnacle building has 40 percent of its office space available. The AT&T building has 250,000 square feet up for lease.

Now, all of that may soon change, even in a bad economy. According to local realtors, out-of- state businesses are looking at Nashville as a home and it could have a big impact for the community.

Warren Smith, the CEO of commercial realtors Cushman and Wakefield is one of the largest managers of downtown Nashville office space. Smith said Nashville is witnessing a relocation surge.

"We're getting a lot of attention, it's exciting to be at that point right now," said Smith.

With so many businesses poised to move here, that empty office space may soon be filled. It's beginning with the so called "A" list buildings.

"We are blessed to be working on the Pinnacle building as well as the AT&T building. We are seeing a tremendous amount of activity in those two premium locations. If we are getting good activity there, then that's going to have a trickle down effect to the other downtown buildings as well," said Smith.

Also driving tenants downtown is a shortage of office space in Cool Springs and Brentwood. Smith sees a side benefit to the construction boom will be a surge of construction jobs.

"I do think we are ripe for development. They are working toward something in Brentwood, and some other developers are close to pulling the trigger to building a few more buildings in the suburban market," said Smith.

The boom hopes to translate into a healthy housing market in the region. The signs are already showing up at the Terrazzo condominiums in the Gulch.

"They are already roughly 90 percent sold out now. They work hand in hand. With a healthy core, the whole city will benefit from it," said Smith.

Cushman and Wakefield said they are also getting a lot of interest from investors wanting to buy property in Nashville.

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