A former Nortel Networks building in MetroCenter north of downtown will become the new home of the Tennessee lottery.
Under preliminary terms, the lottery will lease 55,181 square feet of space on part of the first floor and all of the second floor at about $925,000 in annual rent. It will be a 10-year lease.
At an average annual rate of $16.76 per square foot, it was the lowest bid of the three buildings lottery officials looked at seriously, said Steve Adams, the lottery's chief administrative officer.
Lottery officials liked the site for its visibility and accessibility.
The real estate at the top of the nine-story building is a bonus, lottery chief executive officer Rebecca Paul said. As part of the deal, the lottery will place its logo there visible from Interstate 65 and downtown, Paul said, adding that it's a marketing tool you can't put a price on.
The building, Plaza Tower at 200 Athens Way, is owned by USAA Real Estate Co., based in San Antonio, Texas. Nashville-based real estate firm Southeast Venture Corp. represents the owner in leasing and managing the building.
For about a year and a half, Nortel emptied its one-time North American headquarters during corporate restructuring. The space 211,000 square feet officially came on the market for lease earlier this year, driving up the office vacancy rate in MetroCenter to more than 30%.
"The good news is it's a positive shot in the arm for MetroCenter," said Nashville agent Barry Smith with Eakin Partners, which submitted a losing proposal for space. "The building has been sitting there languishing."
For now, the lottery is the only tenant for the building. The lease and the lottery's presence could help generate some momentum for the building and the area, Smith said.
In its proposal, the building owner offered free rent for eight months, two guards and 6,500 square feet in free storage space, Adams said.
The lottery headquarters and Middle Tennessee regional staff will be on the second floor.
Its prize-claim center will occupy 1,900 square feet on the first floor. That's where the lottery's biggest winners will be feted and presented with giant checks. Middle Tennessee winners of tickets worth $600 and more also will claim prizes there, Paul said.
Starting next week, the lottery staff will begin moving out of downtown space in the Tennessee Tower into temporary space on the Nortel building's top floors, free of charge, while the leased space is prepared.
Adams estimated it will take three months to move into the permanent space.
About 26,000 square feet on the building's third floor will be available for the lottery's online-game vendor to lease at the same rate, Adams said.
The two other finalists were:
" The old J.C. Bradford office, more recently the CMT building, at 330 Commerce Street downtown, which offered 58,280 square feet at a rate of $20.63.
" The former Bridgestone headquarters, called Briley Corners, at the corner of Lebanon Pike and Briley Parkway between the Nashville airport and the Opryland area, which offered 66,263 square feet at a rate of $17.28.