Middle Tennessee leaders need to get to work on expanding transit options for the region's suburbanites, according to a new report from the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee. Says RTA CEO Steve Bland: "If you believe we’re going to grow by a million people, tweaks — small improvements, short-term improvements — aren’t going to be anywhere near enough to maintain the quality of life that we’re used to here."
SEE ALSO: Tracking our transit future from our new Boom magazine
Memphis-based Hunter Fan Co. has leased almost 30,000 square feet of flex space near Nashville International Airport for a new division that will make large fans for commercial and industrial customers. The company plans to hire 25 people in the next year and grow its local workforce to 100 by the end of 2018. Adam Sichko at the Business Journal has more details here.
"As we grow, we'll need more R&D engineers and more industrial designers. We'll need creative people in sales and marketing. Those folks are pretty widely available here, as compared to Memphis," Bredeson added. "If you're churning through those folks every six or 12 months, that gets to be devastatingly expensive for the company."
UPDATE: The official number of jobs coming here is 380 and Lyft's investment will total $5.1 million. In a statement, Lyft COO Rex Tibbens said Nashville "is a city whose welcoming, creative culture and values mirror our own. Our history in Nashville coupled with our admiration for the community is why we’re so excited to make downtown Nashville the home of our newest Lyft office, and will be investing in our growth there for years to come."
As originally reported:
Ride-sharing service Lyft is preparing to relocate a customer service team of about 20 to Nashville from San Francisco, TechCrunch reported over the weekend. The move will help bring the company closer to its East Coast customers while cutting office space costs by more than half. It also looks to be the beginning of something big.
We’ve been told the plan is to grow the Nashville office and hire hundreds of new employees. It’s not clear if all 20 of those team members asked to go will do so. However, we’ve heard that at least one longtime senior member of the team will be making the move.
On Sunday, Gethan Ward at The Tennessean reported that Lyft officials have signed a lease at the Sash & Door Building (pictured below) at Second Avenue and Commerce Street and will grow their office there to 100 by year's end. From there, its Nashville team is forecast to grow to 400 in the coming years.
The Middle Tennessee economy grew at a 3.6 percent clip last year, up from 3.1 percent in 2013 and good enough for 53rd among the country’s 381 metropolitan areas.
The 3.6 percent number was almost double the overall growth of U.S. metropolitan areas and lifted Nashville’s GDP to $98.5 billion in 2009 dollars. Since 2009, the area’s economy has grown from $81.5 billion.
Four different sectors — trade, finance/insurance/real estate, business services and education/health care — contributed at least half a percentage point to the region’s growth last year. That helped Middle Tennessee comfortably outpace the state’s other major metro areas. Knoxville’s GDP grew 1.0 percent last year and Memphis’ 0.4 percent while Chattanooga’s economy shrank by 0.9 percent and Clarksville’s contracted by 1.2 percent.
Check out all the 2014 BEA metropolitan data here.
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