Pet food manufacturer Mars Petcare has picked the Ovation mixed-use development in Cool Springs for its $96 million new U.S. headquarters, which Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwood Properties will develop.
The business segment of McLean, Va.-based candy and consumer brands conglomerate Mars. Inc. will occupy up to 224,000 square feet of space in two connected buildings with structured parking.
Renee Peets, a vice president at Mars Petcare, referred to the planned move from leased space at two separate Cool Springs office buildings as an efficiency play by the company that employs roughly 1,000 people in Williamson County. "It allows for much more collaborative space — common areas where associates can gather," she said, adding that Mars Petcare's new headquarters will also be pet-friendly.
Construction should start in the third quarter on the pair of new buildings, which will kick off Highwoods' overall development of up to 1.4 million square feet of office space on part of its 68 acres at Ovation.
Completion is targeted for the second quarter of 2019 for the Mars Petcare buildings. They will be part of a four-or-five building creative office campus that will have up to 500,000 square feet of space overall on 12.5 acres at what's being called the East End at Ovation, just east of Ovation Parkway.
he pair of buildings will sit among some of the 56 acres of preserved green space planned at Ovation. The green space is planned for land owned by Highwoods and also Atlanta-based Thomas Land and Development, which separately has zoning approved for 480,000 square feet of retail space, 450 hotel rooms and 950 apartment on the bulk of its 77 acres at Ovation.
The overall 145-acre Ovation property is at the southeast corner of Carothers Parkway and McEwen Drive, adjacent to the 85-acre Liberty Park.
Currently, Mars Petcare has its headquarters in 120,000 square feet of space at the Aspen Grove Office Center II building at 315 Cool Springs Blvd. and occupies a floor and a half at The McEwen Building at 1550 W. McEwen Drive in Franklin. Expiration of those leases will coincide with the the company's move to Ovation.
Elsewhere in Middle Tennessee, Mars Petcare has manufacturing and distribution operations that employ roughly 100 people in Lebanon. The company also has its Global Innovation Center in Franklin, which employs about 150 people. Parent Mars Inc. has separate Wrigley candy and Mars chocolate plants in Chattanooga and Cleveland, Tenn.
Brian Reames, a senior vice president with Highwoods and regional manager for its Nashville division, recalled Mars a decade ago being a customer of the developer at Brentwood's Maryland Farms office park. "I'm excited about restarting the relationship," he said. "We're back working with each other again."
Mars Petcare's Peets said the company evaluated many property options across the Nashville region, but staying in Cool Springs emerged as the top priority.
"It was important for us to be within a 10-mile radius of our existing campuses to minimalize impact of commute," she said. "We wanted an environment engaging to our associates and we wanted a site that would deliver on the Cool Springs conveniences — proximity to Nashville and area airports and all of the shopping, restaurant, services and amenities."
Article from The Tennessean. Original article below: