MBJ: ServiceMaster faces a lot of work to make Downtown plans reality
By the end of 2017, Peabody Place should be ready to become the new headquarters for ServiceMaster. But until then, a ton of work will need to be done to make it happen.
The company has officially committed to relocating its 1,200 local employees to Peabody Place, a decision that Robert Gillette, CEO of ServiceMaster, said came down to Memphis and one other location.
While he didn’t mention specifics about the other location, Gillette said the idea of converting Peabody Place into the company’s new headquarters helped make the decision.
Gillette acknowledged the amount of work that will need to be done to make the plan a reality, but he’s pleased with what he’s seen from Peabody Place owner Belz Enterprises and Looney Ricks Kiss, the project’s architect.
As far as the project’s budget, Gillette and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam would not discuss how much the renovation would cost or what types of incentives ServiceMaster will receive.
Haslam and Randy Boyd, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic Development, said state incentives would be discussed during the State Funding Board Meeting in Nashville next week. On the local side, any tax incentives that ServiceMaster might receive would be divided among the Downtown Memphis Commission and the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) for Memphis & Shelby County.
While it’s possible that EDGE could address incentives for ServiceMaster during its June meeting, it’s more likely the board will look at the project at either a special called meeting later this month or during its July EDGE meeting.
Despite being pressed on the incentive issue by local media, Gillette insisted incentives were not a major part of the overall package for ServiceMaster.
But Haslam called ServiceMaster “one of the world’s great corporations” and said the decision to stay in Memphis is a big win for the city.
“They could be anywhere,” Haslam said. “It’s a great building and a great location. It’s hard to imagine a better outcome for this building than having a great corporation call it their headquarters.”