Exclusive: Nissan Picks Well-Known Developer for $160M Expansion

Wednesday, September 9th 2015

NASHVILLE, TN –┬áNissan North America has selected a developer well-known to Middle Tennessee to build a $160 million expansion of its massive factory in Smyrna.

According to multiple real estate sources, Nissan is in talks with Panattoni Development Co. to create a 1.5 million-square-foot facility where suppliers will locate 1,000 jobs or more.

The expansion reinforces how quickly Nissan has emerged as an economic titan in Middle Tennessee. The automaker is the region’s second-biggest private employer, with 10,900 employees. Nissan’s North American headquarters are in Cool Springs. This summer, Nissan committed $120 million to secure the naming rights to the Tennessee Titans stadium. The Nissan factory in Smyrna ranks as the busiest car plant on the continent, on pace to make 660,000 cars and SUVs this year (about one every 21 seconds).
In tapping Panattoni, Nissan is looking to hire one of the region’s biggest industrial developers. Panattoni has built more than 50 projects in Tennessee, totaling 35 million square feet. The vast majority of it is industrial space.

Most recently, Panattoni built a 1 million-square-foot hub in Mt. Juliet for the sports apparel company Under Armour, an economic development deal that could bring 1,500 jobs or more to the region.
Separately, Panattoni has received all the zoning it needs for an equally sized building on an adjacent piece of land in Mt. Juliet. Panattoni also is nearing construction of a 600,000-square-foot building in La Vergne, several miles from Smyrna.

Josh Clifton, a spokesman for Nissan, declined to comment for this story.

Sources said that among the other companies that had competed for the Nissan work included Nashville’s T.W. Frierson Contractor Inc., which built a similar facility for Nissan last year in Canton, Mississippi.