Memphis Business Journal
By: Michelle Corbet
The East Memphis office skyline has a major new addition. The development referred to as Tower IV is now officially International Paper's Training and Conferencing Center, adjacent to the company's main campus on International Drive in East Memphis.
The 10-story, 250,000-square-foot tower and 1,000-car, four-story parking structure was the result of IP's 2012 acquisition and resulting integration of Austin-based Temple-Inland Inc.
Plans for the tower came to light when IP applied and received a $56.9 million payment-in-lieu-of-tax incentive from the Memphis and Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine in December 2012.
In March 2013, Highwoods Realty LP, a subsidiary of Highwoods Properties, bought the 5.1 acres adjacent from IP’s headquarters for $4.8 million from Robert F. Fogelman, trustee of the Robert F. Fogelman Revocable Trust dated Sept. 14, 1989, and construction commenced in the fourth quarter 2013.
The Crump Firm provided the site planning analysis and design for the new tower.
The heart of the project is a group of conference rooms and multipurpose rooms on the first and second floors, which take maximum advantage of the open space afforded by the large lobbies adjacent to and attached to the parking structure, says David Hoback, Crump Firm principal.
“In keeping with IP’s vision for the new building, the exterior strives for an appearance of lightness to the skylight,” Hoback says.
Curtain wall and similar glass components were used selectively against the granite base, similar to IP’s existing campus on Poplar Avenue.
The building will accommodate 1,000 IP team members, and the company’s overall employment level in the Memphis area remains above 2,000 — the level discussed with the city and county when IP first explored building a tower back in 2012, says Thomas Ryan, IP spokesperson.
Legal, finance, IT and human resource functions will be housed in the upper eight office floors, with IP on track to fully occupy the building by mid-July.
Despite a year of heavy rain and a harsh winter, Highwoods effectively delivered the building a month or two ahead of schedule, says Steve Guinn, Highwoods vice president.
The addition of a building with 1,000 employees helped move along the installation of a new traffic light at International Drive and Poplar.
“It’s a feather in Memphis’ cap to provide extra space for them,” Guinn says. “We’ve got a lot of great compliments on it — we’re certainly pleased, and International Paper is as well.”
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