Tennessee state workers to leave downtown, relocate to Eastgate, Riverfront Parkway

photo The State of Tennessee Chattanooga State Office Building is located in downtown Chattanooga on McCallie Avenue.
photo The state of Tennessee is seeking to rent office space to move workers from the James R. Mapp Building.

Nearly 700 state employees will move out of downtown Chattanooga next year and relocate to the Eastgate Town Center or offices at 1301 Riverfront Parkway under leases approved today by a panel of the State Building Commission.

The state plans to vacate the Chattanooga State Office Building on McCallie Avenue and the James R. Mapp Building on M.L. King Boulevard in early 2014. The 670 state employees now housed in those state facilities will move into portions of Eastgate and Riverfront Parkway offices in March. The affected workers are employed in state's Department of Children's Services, the Department of Human Services, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The building commission today approved leases for state workers in Chattanooga, Memphis and Nashville to help save up to $74 million over the next decade, state officials said today. A study done of the existing state offices in Chattanooga determined it would be too expensive to repair and renovate the facilities to meet today's building standards.

"Gov. (Bill) Haslam challenged the state to deliver the best possible service as efficiently as possible, and this is a key step in our overall plan to make work spaces more functional for employees and less of a liability for the state," Tennessee General Services Commissioner Bob Oglesby said in a statement today. "We want to create better work spaces that are operationally cost effective so we can focus our resources on the state's priorities, such as education and jobs."

Oglesby said the new leases approved by the Executive Subcommittee of the State Building Commision will ensure that state employees have a modern, efficient, collaborative and productive working environment and there will be adequate public parking at the new office locations.

"We are excited about helping the state meet its office needs at what we believe is a good product at an attractive price," said Paul Malchok, general manager for 720,000-square-foot Eastgate Town Center, which is leasing more than 81,000 square feet to the state. "We already house three state offices (Human Services, Children's Services and a Career Center) and this is a wonderful way of supporting Eastgate as a state government facility."