FedEx Logistics to move HQ into Gibson building downtown

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Feb. 12, 2019 at 11:03 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - FedEx will be taking over the Gibson Guitar Factory building in Downtown Memphis.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee made the announcement at the building on B.B. King Boulevard in Downtown Memphis.

FedEx Logistics will be headquartered in the building with Gibson leaving the Bluff City.

The company is investing more than $44 million in Shelby County, and the move will create more than 680 jobs, with roughly 340 of them new. The facility contains 120,000 square feet of office space.

“FedEx and its subsidiaries have been a true Tennessee success story, and we as a state are proud to see this company continue to grow and call Tennessee home,” Lee said.

FedEx Logistics, formerly known as FedEx Trade Networks, Inc. They have 22,000 employees worldwide.

“The importance of FedEx to Memphis cannot be overstated,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said. “With this move, we’re bringing life back to the Gibson Guitar Factory with one of the strongest brands in the world and continuing to bring more jobs and people to our downtown. I couldn’t be happier with this announcement and look forward to working with Richard and his team to continue moving our city forward.”

Gov. Lee said the state incentive package had not been finalized yet and couldn’t be publicized Tuesday, but it would include clawback provisions if benchmarks weren’t met.

“Now we can say who would’ve thought that a guitar factory would’ve been turned into a corporate headquarters,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.

“I think one of the most important things we can do is develop a workforce so that industry will be more easily attracted here,” Gov. Lee said.

FedEx Logistics is asking the EDGE board for a $2 million grant to assist with the facility renovation.

“As we consolidate here we’ll actually outgrow this building so we needed to understand there was a plan and there would be plenty of office space,” said Richard Smith, President and CEO of FedEx Logistics.

Tuesday afternoon, national developers along with the Orgil family locally announced plans for an eight-story office tower, hotel, and retail known as The Clipper, just steps away from the new FedEx Logistics headquarters.

“We realized FedEx is moving into this space at 100 percent capacity,” said Ian Ross, managing director at Somera Road, Inc. “They’re going to need room to grow and further office downtown and are going to need new office space.”

So they’ll build The Clipper, a mixed-use development across the street.

It will be an eight story, 250,000 square foot Class A office tower with conferencing space, parking, retail, restaurants, and more.

"Potential grocer to downtown, convenience, a pharmacy, of that nature,” Ross said.

The Clipper joins the likes of the Union Row and One Beale mixed-use developments.

“We hope that rising tide does rise all ships,” Ross said. “We hope all of those buildings are full.”

As for how the plan to move downtown came to be, Smith said former Memphis City Council Chair Berlin Boyd first raised the issue in 2017 at a Grizzlies game.

“Being an opportunity, I’m like ‘Richard, we need FedEx downtown, we have the forum, we need people downtown,’” Boyd said.

This move for FedEx was discussed in 2018 and put on hold. Smith said that was for two reasons.

First, FedEx Logistics pressed pause after the death of Chamber President Phil Trenary, amid some crime concerns.

Then they re-branded FedEx Trade Networks to FedEx Logistics.

Now, it seems the time was right.

FedEx Logistics plans to move into the Gibson Guitar Factory in April 2020.

FedEx Logistics joins AutoZone, ServiceMaster and First Tennessee Bank as large companies with headquarters in downtown Memphis.

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