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Weekend edition July 22, 2022 | Tom Ballard

“High level of interest” being shown in Warner Bros. Discovery Knoxville campus

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Jay Cobble, Principal Broker with Providence Commercial Real Estate, said there’s a “high level of interest” that has been shown since the Warner Bros. Discovery Knoxville campus went on the market several weeks ago. At the time, the media company, formed in April after the spin-off of WarnerMedia by AT&T and its merger with Discovery, Inc., revealed that it would be selling the office complex and moving its 1,000 local employees into smaller, leased space.

“We’ve launched our marketing efforts and started conducting tours,” Cobble told us. Providence is the local partner for global giant JLL, also known as Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. The Fortune 500 company has annual revenue of $19.4 billion, operations in over 80 countries, and a global workforce of more than 100,000.

At 344,000 square feet, the two-building complex just off Interstate 40 and just east of Pellissippi Parkway is massive by local standards. It was built in phases, starting in 1995. Cobble cited several unique features including:

  • The 155,000 square foot “Knoxville Office Building,” as it is called, being “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) Gold-certified, a green building certification program used worldwide;
  • The 189,000 square foot “Knoxville Tech Center” housing what he describes as an “absolute state-of-the-art production facility” – two studios with enhanced HVAC capabilities along with production support areas – that was redone during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • A cafeteria and both wellness and fitness centers; and
  • The only parking garage not at a hospital outside the downtown area.

The complex’s heritage predates the formation of its previous occupants and actually goes back to legendary Knoxville producer Ross Bagwell whose Cinetel Products was acquired in 1994 by Scripps, an owner of newspapers and broadcast properties. Fourteen years later, Scripps spun out its cable networks – Food Network and HGTV among others – and online properties into a new, publicly traded company known as Scripps Networks Interactive. In 2017, Discovery Communications announced that its was buying Scripps, founded on July 1, 2008, for $14.6 billion. Just a few months later, the acquirer announced that it would move its National Operations Headquarters to Knoxville once the sale was completed.

Other attractive features cited on the “Offering Summary” include:

  • VALUE ADD OFFERING: It is deemed the highest quality office in the Knoxville market for owner/user or third party lease up;
  • POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY: There are 11 acres of excess land prime suitable for multi-family development;
  • STRONG KNOXVILLE FUNDAMENTALS: The community has a diverse economic base; and

EXCELLENT ACCESS AND VISIBILITY: The campus is located in West Knoxville within the heart of Knoxville’s major commercial corridor.

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