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Old Posted Mar 10, 2010, 12:41 AM
Johnny Ryall Johnny Ryall is offline
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Expose on Triad Centre III and official tip-off about new 939 Shady Grove Bldg.

Apperson Crump adapts to one of city's newest, eco-friendly offices
the Commercial Appeal | By Wayne Risher

Three months after moving into one of the city's newest, greenest office buildings, a venerable Memphis law firm is still adjusting to the quirks. Apperson Crump firm senior partners can't park in the best spaces because they're reserved for low-emission and carpool vehicles. Lights go out without warning if workers don't get up and move around every 30 minutes. No one has used the showers on the first floor, but changing facilities and a bicycle rack will be there when employees start biking to work.

Apperson Crump became the anchor tenant of Triad Centre III in December, moving to 6070 Poplar from 6000 Poplar, both in the Highwoods Properties development. Managing partner Richard Myers said the firm was looking for expansion room, not environmental brownie points, when it entered into a 10-year lease to occupy the top two floors of the seven-story building. Its 46 employees include about 25 lawyers, "and we are in conversation with about 10 more who have expressed an interest in joining us." Myers said Highwoods made "an offer we couldn't refuse" because of operating savings from what developers say will be Memphis' first office building with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification.

Features include water-saving low-flow plumbing fixtures and drip irrigation for landscaping; building-wide recycling of paper, plastic bottles and aluminum cans; and sun-reflecting roof and parking lot surface. Steve Guinn, vice president of Highwoods Memphis division, said, "We're looking to recoup our extra expense through operating savings. Our utility costs will be somewhat less. Our water savings, it's small money, but it adds up over a long period of time."

Triad Centre III followed Boyle Investment Co.'s opening of the SunTrust Building, 999 Shady Grove, in late 2008. Boyle has registered its next planned building at 939 Shady Grove to be LEED-compliant, but hasn't gotten close enough to construction to make a commitment, said Boyle executive vice president Mark Halperin. "I do think in the future new buildings are going to be LEED-certified," he said.

Founded in 1865 by a Confederate veteran of Shiloh, Charles Wesley Metcalf, Apperson Crump bills itself as oldest continuously operating law firm in the city. Metcalf's great-grandson is Met Crump, whose The Crump Firm designed the building. Myers said LEED-related features have come with a learning curve. Employees complained this winter about cool temperatures, but the thermostat is controlled off-site. It's disconcerting for lights to go out in the middle of a lawyer-client conference, Myers said.

Guinn said developers feared they were going overboard with 50 reserved spaces, but got twice that many requests for low-emission parking stickers for the three-building complex. Barbara Hepburn, a secretary and paralegal, was delighted to get a prime parking space for her Pontiac G5, which qualified as a low-emissions vehicle. "I think it's great, because we need to learn to save energy," said Hepburn. Myers said when he trades his Ford SUV, he may think about a greener machine. "Am I going to get a car so I can park 10 yards closer to the building?" Myers said. "Maybe that's something that tips me over the edge."
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