Germantown approves tax break for apartment company MAA by Daniel Connolly

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The apartment real estate company MAA Inc. plans to move its corporate headquarters a short distance from East Memphis to Germantown, and Germantown's governing board approved tax breaks Monday evening to support the move.

The company decided to move into a yet-to-be-constructed corporate headquarters at 6797 Poplar Ave. in Germantown,

The company owns more than 100,000 apartments in 300 properties across many states and has outgrown its corporate headquarters at 6584 Poplar Ave. near Kirby Parkway in East Memphis, said company CEO Eric Bolton.  The company currently has 167 employees in Memphis and would have 219 employees at the new site in Germantown. Bolton said the job count is growing in part because the company is absorbing Atlanta-based Post Properties.

The company was considering new headquarters sites as far away as Dallas and Atlanta, he said.

Cities often compete with each other to offer subsidies to get companies to move to their communities. But in this case, Memphis-area economic development leaders wanted to avoid a tax break bidding war among municipalities in Shelby County, said Reid Dulberger who leads the EDGE economic development agency. "Job one was keeping them somewhere in Shelby County," he said.

He said local leaders told the company to pick the site that worked best for them before the various communities put tax breaks on the table. MAA currently has no PILOT tax break deal with local governments, Dulberger said.

The new headquarters will be less than half a mile from the current site.

Bolton said company leaders had looked at a lot of different sites across the region, taking into consideration criteria such as financial factors and how quickly they could move in. "The fact that it's in close proximity to where we are currently is really just happenstance," he said.

The corporate headquarters will become an anchor tenant in a large new development on Poplar, said Ray Gill, a property developer involved in the project. "It's got a hotel in back. Five story office, five story garage ... and then we'll do a 47,000 foot, three-story retail and office building across TraVure Drive, both fronting Poplar."

Construction has already begun on new roads at the site, and new building construction could start in December, he said. "We're on a fast track to accommodate MAA. They're huge. They've done so well in terms of their growth."

Germantown's Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved 15-year, 75 percent discounts of new Germantown and Shelby County property and business equipment taxes at the site.

Monday night's vote count was 4-0, with aldermen John Barzizza, Mary Anne Gibson, Dave Klevan and Rocky Janda voting yes.

Alderman Forrest Owens recused himself because his mother works for MAA.

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