Permit sought for big Germantown project by Daniel Connolly

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A company has filed documents to start construction work related to the big mixed-use TraVure  development in Germantown, which will combine office, retail and hotel space on Poplar Avenue at the city's western edge.

The company Gill Poplar GP has filed with Shelby County authorities for a $25 million building permit this week, and it relates to the parking garage and the exterior shell of a five-story office building, said property developer Ray Gill. He said planners are also seeking approvals from Germantown and Shelby County code enforcement.

Most of the office building will be occupied as a new headquarters for apartment real estate company MAA Inc.

Tax breaks to support the MAA headquarters project at 6797 Poplar Ave. were approved on Oct. 24 by the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen: a 75 percent discount on both city and county property and business equipment taxes. The new headquarters will be less than half a mile from the company's current headquarters and will accommodate a larger number of employees.

In addition to the five-story building, plans call for a three-story office building at the site, with retail on the ground floor, as well as a Hilton Garden Inn hotel and Home2 Suites by Hilton, a hotel for longer-term stays.

Gill said he's talking with other businesses about moving into the property.

"Well, we're talking to other users. Nothing I can announce now. We're open for business and we'd love to lease up the space," Gill said. The leasing agent is Patty Bullock at 758-1100.

Germantown officials approved the broad outlines of the TraVure plan last year. Nearby homeowners complained about the possibility of light from headlights coming into their homes at night, which led to adjustments of plans.

The project cleared its latest hurdle on Nov. 1 when the city's Planning Commission approved an increase in size of the three-story office building from 34,100 square feet to more than 47,000 square feet.

Construction work on the five-story office building and parking garage could start as soon as December and finish in December 2017, Gill said. Construction work on the final phase of the project, the three-story office building, may be complete in the summer of 2018.

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