Raymond James Tower elevators getting 'highest upgrade'

By Published: April 03, 2019 5:26 PM CT

A new, $3 million elevator system – described as “the highest level of upgrade available” – will be designed, manufactured and then installed in Downtown’s Raymond James Tower over the next 18 months, the landlord announced Tuesday.

Such building improvements typically don’t come to the public's attention, but the condition of the existing elevators could likely be a factor if anchor tenant Raymond James decides to move from Downtown to East Memphis.

The Florida-based financial services firm and landlord have been entangled in a lawsuit in which elevators were an issue. Raymond James claims its employees were too frequently entrapped in unreliable elevators, causing frequent rescues by Memphis firefighters.

Building owner Jacob Sofer, through his 50 North Front Street TN LLC, has contracted with the Memphis office of thyssenkrupp Elevator to carry out a “robust elevator-modernization project,” the landlord announced in a release.

“This contract is the result of months of vetting elevator contractors and engaging with elevator consultants to engineer, plan and design the proper scope of work for this building,” the release states.

Thyssenkrupp will install a new elevator system that the company calls “AGILE.”

The system is “the highest level of upgrade available on the market, which will greatly enhance efficiency, reliability and ride comfort for the building’s tenants,” the release states.

The AGILE elevator system lets building managers “more intelligently” group and assign passengers to elevators, move them more rapidly, adjust passenger flow and personalize touchscreens and kiosks, the release states.

The AGILE elevators provide “a smart environment of unprecedented connectivity and personalization.”

Thyssenkrupp expects to design and make the elevators within six months, and take another 10 to 12 months to install them.

“Mr. Sofer is hoping for the best, hoping they remain the flagship tenant,” Catherine "Kitty" Taylor said of Raymond James.  The marketing strategist for RedRover Co. spoke Tuesday for the landlord.

TOM BAILEY: Raymond James Tower elevators soon to be modernized, landlord says

Raymond James representatives “have not announced their decisions and have not given Mr. Sofer a decision yet,” she said.

Raymond James had not responded by late Tuesday afternoon to questions from The Daily Memphian.

More than 600 Raymond James employees work in the tower, Taylor said. 

The 336,000-square-foot building is one of the most distinctive in the Memphis skyline, with its brown granite exterior and 61-foot-tall spire on top of the roof.

Since buying the 21-story building four years ago, the landlord has spent nearly $2 million on the building, including caulking and sealing the façade and refinishing the windows; installing a new roof system and water pumps; overhauling the air-conditioning chiller; upgrading the lobby furniture and interiors of elevator cabs; and installing a new outdoor canopy.

“We are committed to offering the downtown market the most competitive, modern and comfortable office space available,” Sofer said in the release. “The investments we’ve made since 2015 are part of our long-term plan to keep this preeminent piece of real estate in peak condition for the Memphis-area’s top-tier tenants.”

Several Raymond James employees, on condition they not be identified, told The Daily Memphian in late February that the company sent a memo to employees informing them of a possible move from the Downtown building to several buildings in the Ridgeway Center office park in East Memphis.


Commercial Real Estate Raymond James
Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey covers business news for The Daily Memphian. A Tupelo, Mississippi, native, he graduated from Mississippi State University. He's worked in journalism for 40 years and has lived in Midtown for 36 years.

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