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NASHVILLE, TN-A division of the Tennessee Department of Human Services is expanding and relocating its offices from 90,000 sf at Citizens Plaza in Downtown to 133,635 sf at Plaza Tower in the city’s Metro Center submarket. The agency signed a 10-year, $21.2-million lease, which translates to a gross lease rate of just under $16 per sf per year. The move is expected to occur in the next 60 to 90 days.A source with the state Department of Finance and Administration tells GlobeSt.com that the lease is on behalf of the Disability Determination unit of the Rehabilitation division of DHS. After adding more than 150 employees over the past two years, the unit has 654 employees operating out of about 90,000 sf at Citizens Plaza, which translates to about 138 sf per person. Typically, office users lease at least 200 sf per employee, with the standard being closer to 250 sf.The expanded lease requirement was put out to bid and Plaza Tower came back with the best offer, according to the source. Coming on the heels of a 65,000-sf lease by the state’s new lottery agency, the DHS lease takes the 203,281-sf Plaza Tower back to 100% occupancy about 16 months after Northern Telecom vacated the entire building. The asset is owned by USAA Real Estate Co., which was represented in the transaction by brokers Todd Alexander, Jimmy Pickel and Randy Parham of Southeast venture LLC.Parham tells GlobeSt.com that Metro Center is the smallest office submarket in the metro area, with 1.4 million sf. As such, the DHS lease drops the vacancy rate in Metro Center by nearly 10 percentage points, from about 27% to about 17%.Other business and commercial real estate news outlets are reporting erroneously that the DHS agency is moving from the Capital Plaza building and that the lease rate was $16 per sf per year. The information GlobeSt.com is reporting is the accurate information, according to DHS.

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