Memphis, Tenn. (April 21, 2021) – EDGE worked to accelerate growth in Memphis today by approving four projects that will add high-paying corporate jobs, invest in Memphis 3.0 anchor neighborhoods, create a youth sports mecca in the heart of the City, and spur development around the University of Memphis.
Sylvamo Corporation, a subsidiary of International Paper and soon-to-be independent, publicly-traded Fortune 1000 firm, is evaluating locations for its global headquarters. To help convince Sylvamo’s leadership to bring their 300 jobs averaging $179,235 (excluding benefits) to Memphis, the EDGE Board of Directors approved a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-tax incentive (PILOT). Since Sylvamo has not selected a preferred Memphis location and was therefore unable to provide all the detail typically required for a PILOT application, the EDGE Board made the PILOT conditioned on the Company’s commitment to the global headquarters, jobs, wages, and spending at least $10 million to outfit their space. If Memphis is selected for the global headquarters, Sylvamo has 12 months to identify an office site and provide all the necessary final information to EDGE. At its launch, Sylvamo will have $3.3 billion in annual sales and a suite of recognized brands like Hammermill. The corporation’s global operations include seven paper mills and locations in New York, South Carolina, Brazil, France, and Russia, with the capacity to produce 3.5 short tons of printer and copier papers.
“Attracting a Fortune 1000 company headquarters, like Sylvamo, to Memphis speaks to our competitiveness in the market and the importance of having the programs needed to aggressively pursue jobs and investment for our community,” said Reid Dulberger President of EDGE. “We look forward to working with Sylvamo’s leadership as they consider locations in Memphis.”
EDGE also took the first step to provide up to $32 million of bonds to fund parts of Mayor Strickland’s recently announced Accelerate Memphis project. The $200 million Accelerate Memphis project is intended to spur growth by improving quality of life, driving equity and inclusion, improving connectivity, and solving stubborn problems that are deeper than traditional programs can solve. Funding will be allocated across three core areas, revitalizing citywide assets, improving parks, and activating 35 Memphis 3.0 neighborhood anchor areas across the city. The EDGE bonds will fund improvements to the Historic Melrose High School, improvements to the FedEx Forum and AutoZone Park, and affordable housing initiatives. Additional bonds for Accelerate Memphis will be issued by the New Memphis Arena Public Building Authority.
EDGE also gave final approval to issue up to $175 million of bonds for the Liberty Park Project, the City of Memphis’ redevelopment of the Memphis Fairgrounds. The project includes the construction of the Memphis Sports and Events Complex (MSEC), a 230,000-square-foot building for indoor sports and events; infrastructure improvements; and preparing the area along Central Avenue for mixed-use private development.
The EDGE Board of Directors also approved amendments to the University District – Highland Strip TIF. This administrative action adds 70 parcels erroneously omitted from the original TIF application. Approved in 2016, the TIF is designed to assist the University of Memphis to retain and attract students, faculty, and staff while leveraging the economic impact of the University district and attracting new private investment. The TIF will focus heavily on road and sidewalk improvements and developing pedestrian-friendly features including traffic calming, crosswalks, and beautification features. Approval of the TIF amendment helps insure the project will have the funding originally anticipated to invest In the area.