It’s prime Class A property that has been used as temporary office space by both Aflac and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia during major expansions over the last decade.
Now the mostly vacant office building with the address of 6175 Technology Parkway, in the Midland area of Columbus, is poised to become the home — temporary or otherwise — for staff connected to global credit-card and payment processor TSYS.
The company, headquartered in downtown Columbus, is listed on a May 4 city building permit for the property inside Muscogee Technology Park off Macon Road. The construction cost is $800,000, with Brasfield & Gorrie the general contractor. The available office space at the location is 45,700 square feet.
“All I can tell you is we can’t comment on that right now,” TSYS spokesman Cyle Mims said this week when asked about the firm’s plans for the office space, including whether or not it is considering an expansion or perhaps is shifting work or employees from other locations.
TSYS has gobbled up three companies in major multi-billion-dollar deals in recent years, including Austin, Texas-based NetSpend, a prepaid card specialty firm, and TransFirst, a merchant specialty operator headquartered in Hauppauge, N.Y. In January, it completed a $1.05 billion buyout of Boston-based Cayan, a merchant payment technology outfit.
“Our integration activities associated with Cayan continue to move along quickly,” Troy Woods, TSYS chairman, president and chief executive officer, said last month on a conference call with Wall Street research analysts who follow the firm.
The Columbus company also has been steadily landing new contracts and renewing older ones with banks, retailers and other businesses that use its products and services. In the past year, client announcements have included Target, Capitol One, JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Bank of the West, and the Bank of Oklahoma.
At times, groups of TSYS employees focus on a single major client during the length of a contract to keep everything running smoothly. The office space at 6175 Technology Parkway would be appropriate for anyone requiring Class A networks that include telephone and data systems with fiber optics, redundant lines and power sources.
A description of the property on the real-estate site, LoopNet, says the office space is well-maintained and “plug and play” ready, making it “ideal” for a call center, customer service center or back-office operations. It is equipped with updated technology and has an open design that features a two-level atrium with skylights and amenities that include five large conference/training rooms and several smaller breakout rooms.
“That property seems to have become a temporary expansion space for some of our large corporate clients in Columbus, and that’s what it’s doing again,” said David Johnson, the KW Commercial broker who is working on a lease agreement with TSYS at the Midland location.
He said the property was developed in 1996 by athletic apparel manufacturer Russell Corp., which pulled out of its offices in Columbus a couple of years later, but continued to use the adjoining warehouse and distribution center, which is about 370,000 square feet total. The entire building now is owned by MDV SpartanNash, a dry goods and cold-storage grocery distributor that supplies military commissaries and exchanges, including those at Fort Benning.
The office space on one side of the property is about 54,000 square feet, with MDV SpartanNash occupying a small portion on the ground floor. The rest of the ground floor and second floor space, about 45,700 square feet total, has been vacant more than two years.
That’s how long it has been since Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia housed about 400 of its Columbus employees there until a sleek new office complex was constructed at nearby 6087 Technology Parkway. It moved into that building in 2015, vacating its longtime office on Warm Springs Road.
Just over a decade ago, Columbus-based insurance firm Aflac used that same property to house about 200 of its employees as it embarked on a major expansion in Columbus. That was the creation of the Paul S. Amos Campus in Corporate Ridge Business Park off Macon Road.
“Aflac did some upgrades to the infrastructure in there, which involved power, the telephone and data system, and also the capacities for the teledata system,” Johnson said. “Blue Cross took that and upgraded it and brought a second line into the building, fiber optics, so it’s got redundant teledata capacity both with traditional cable and with fiber optics.”
A separate city building permit dated May 4 shows $14,000 is being spent by TSYS for demolition at the property. That would presumably be to knock out walls and add custom offices and other spaces for its own needs.
“They do have some renovations they’ll need specific to their business,” Johnson said. “But it’s very close to being move-in ready for them.”
As TSYS has experienced steady growth in recent years through its increasing client base, as well as the company acquisitions, its workforce has surged. The firm now employs about 12,000 people in 13 countries, with just under 5,000 of those earning a paycheck in Columbus. Its revenues have risen to $4.9 billion in 2017, with the company processing nearly 28 billion transactions.
The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce said it has yet to hear of plans by TSYS at Muscogee Technology Park.
“We would love to work with TSYS on an expansion, there’s no doubt about it,” said Brian Sillitto, the chamber’s executive vice president of economic development. “With the NCR news that would be great.”
He was referring to Atlanta-based NCR Corp., which has said that it plans to close its two Columbus plants in the coming months, eliminating 359 employees on its payroll and another 679 temporary staffing contract workers it has been using to assemble automated teller machines and point-of-sale equipment. That’s a loss of 1,038 jobs altogether for the city.