July 22, 2015

Financial Federal, Wunderlich Securities Call Humphreys Center Home

By James Overstreet
– The Memphis Business Journal –

Financial Federal Savings Bank is relocating its 55-employee office to a recently completed 50,000-square-foot facility at Humphreys Center business park in East Memphis, a move that has the park’s developer ready to launch a twin site.

The Memphis-based savings bank, which is currently conducting programming and planning studies on the site, is leasing from 15,000 to 20,000 square feet at the new building, making it the largest tenant.

Memphis-based Wunderlich Securities, a full-service brokerage house, has also inked a lease at the building for 7,300 square feet and will relocate 25 employees there in November. Earlier this year, Data Communications Corp. leased 10,000 square feet.

Privately held Financial Federal is active in commercial, apartment, multifamily lending and single family lending. The company is currently located in an 11,000-square-foot space at Kirby Center, a 32,000-square-foot facility at Kirby Parkway. "We love where we are now but need space to grow into," says John Montesi, Financial Federal president. "And we think it’s a great location and are excited about being close to the Baptist-East campus."

Memphis-based Boyle Investment Co. began construction on the two-story speculative office building last year and strong leasing activity has the developer bullish enough to begin work on a twin two-story, 50,000-square-foot building adjacent to the new facility.

"The market isn’t red hot, but there is a steady flow of prospects," says Mark Halperin, Boyle senior vice president of office properties. "We’re negotiating with potential tenants, including one that could take all of the next building."

The two buildings, the latest in the seven-building, 300-acre office park, are made of pre-cast concrete and include nine-foot ceilings and column-free space. Boyle officials say construction will begin on the second building by year end and it’s scheduled for occupancy next summer.

With the Financial Federal and Wunderlich leases, Boyle now has about 8,000 square feet available in the completed facility. The Kirby Center space that Financial Federal is vacating is owned and managed by Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods Properties, Inc., a real estate investment trust that has aggressively pursued acquisitions and new developments in the Memphis market during the last few years.

"We’ll have ample time to backfill the space that Financial Federal is clearing out of," says Mike Harris, Highwoods vice president in Memphis. "Demand has been pretty good in this market, and we’re comfortable with the inventory level right now.

"What is going to be interesting is how the crunch on the credit market recently is going to impact some of these big projects that have been announced, "Harris says. "The spigot has been tightened or turned off in some cases, so there’s a lot of pressure." Several large-scale office projects are either under consideration or nearing construction.