Downtown businesses prepare for ServiceMaster employees to land in June

In early June the first employees and tenants will move into the ServiceMaster Innovation Center inside the company’s new downtown headquarters at the former Peabody Place Mall, with construction on the remainder of facility continuing through 2016.

Nearby businesses are excited about the boost in sales they expect to see from the more than 1,200 people who will work at the ServiceMaster facility once it is fully operational by early next year.

“It’s definitely going to add a huge jolt to our daytime business on Beale Street and in all of downtown,” said John Shivers, director of Beale Street for Beale Street Management. “To us, by far this is the biggest thing to happen since the FedEx Forum being built.”

Richard Magevney, Blues City Café event & business development manager, sees a ripple effect that will positively impact all nearby businesses including restaurants, hotels, retail shops and even the Grizzlies and Redbirds.

"To us, by far this is the biggest thing to happen since the FedEx Forum being built.”

“I live downtown and walk to work, and this is a game changer. It’s exciting," said Magevney. “If some of these employees move Downtown or just eat at the nearby businesses for lunch or dinner, it will be huge. Even for people who live in other parts of town and don’t normally eat Downtown, the experience they will have and the good will, perception and word-of-mouth will be incredible.”

Property owner Belz Enterprises began converting the former mall into Class A office space last June.

A 20,000-square-foot Innovation Center on the lowest level will be the first portion of the facility to open up on June 1. The area will be divided into thirds, with one-third being ServiceMaster employees working on moonshot ideas and the company’s ServSmart program/platform, one-third consisting of outside small businesses that ServiceMaster is investing in and the final one-third will be rentable space for dedicated office, work space or flexible seating.

“We’ll go through joint venture-type pitches, and we’ll give companies seed money,” said ServiceMaster manager of corporate communications Jay Robinson, who explained that the companies will already be established, possibly from working with other local incubators. “So when they get to us, they will be looking to scale out.”

The company is trying to foster “collisions” between companies to share best practices and new ideas.

Utilizing adaptive reuse, designers kept relics and signage from the mall's former bowling alley, which will now be used as a large storage area. The planks from the bowling lanes will be repurposed as conference tables.

The top three floors of the facility, with 100,000 square feet on each floor, will be used as office space. Platforms that extend out into the open interior atrium will have couches and tables for employees and guests.

The main floor, which has street-level floor-to-ceiling windows, will be home to human resources, supply chain management, meeting and training rooms, locker rooms and the employee café.

The second level will house the company’s executive suites, the legal department, and leadership and operations for Terminix, American Home Shield and the Franchise Services Group. The top floor will include a conference center, and functional support areas like IT services, finance, communications, social media, and marketing.

There won’t be any corner offices. Most of the building will all be an open floor plan.

“We’re more and more becoming an IT company as we see that our industry, home services, is being disrupted,” said Robinson. “A few years ago we realized that we would need to change or be left behind, so that’s what a lot of this transformation is about.”

Doors on the north end of the space connect to the Peabody Hotel.

“So if we want to do a meeting with 1,200 people, the Peabody’s grand ballroom is right there,” said Terry Ingram, ServiceMaster vice president of supply chain. “We’ll also have the ability to do smaller meetings for 150 to 200 people right here in our atrium.”

FlintCo is the project’s general contractor. LRK is the structural architect and IA is the archiect of the internal floor plans.

The last tenant of the former space moved out in 2009 and officially locked their doors in 2012, and the space has sat dormant since then.

ServiceMaster plans to have all 1,200 employees working in the building by early 2018. The property has room to expand to house 1,400 employees. ServiceMaster’s brands include American Home Shield, AmeriSpec Inspection Services, Furniture Medic, Merry Maids, ServiceMaster Clean, ServiceMaster Restore, and Terminix. ServiceMaster, which is Memphis' fourth largest public company, operates a network of more than 8,000 company-owned and franchised locations.

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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