Legislature could leave JLL when it vacates the Legislative Plaza this fall

It’s at least possible that Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, “Gov. Bill Haslam’s favorite real estate management-services provider, “ won’t get the contract for janitorial and maintenance services at a renovated Cordell Hull State Office Building when the General Assembly move there this fall, reports Andy Sher.

Senate Speaker Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell confirmed to the Times Free Press that JLL has no automatic lock on a contract for services at the 1950s-era Cordell Hull building when a $116 million renovation is complete.

“We have decided to put it out for bid, and of course, they can bid and other companies might bid,” McNally said. “But we’re looking, you know, for the best deal we can get.”

In a statement, Harwell said that as “a different branch of government moving into a brand new building, we want to ensure we look at all qualified vendors, getting the best value and service possible.”

JLL has a contract with Haslam’s Department of General Services to manage 10 percent of Tennessee’s buildings, including its largest office buildings. That includes Legislative Plaza and the War Memorial Building, where the state’s 33 senators, 99 representatives and many staff have had offices and committee hearing rooms for decades. A number of state workers lost their jobs there when JLL came in. And some lawmakers remain unhappy over that and other issues.

In June, the Haslam administration and JLL signed a competitively bid, five-year facilities management outsourcing contract that strongly encourages remaining state agencies and all of higher education to contract with JLL. It covers more than 7,500 state-owned properties totaling nearly 100 million square feet.

… In late April, 75 of the 132 senators and representatives signed a letter to Haslam’s outsourcing czar, Terry Cowles calling for a delay on the latest JLL contract, and pointedly sent a copy to Haslam. Lawmakers were unhappy about how state workers would be treated, among other issues.

One of the signers was Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, a persistent critic of the administration’s outsourcing. Bowling said she thought JLL would not be managing facilities at Cordell Hull.

… Ironically, the General Assembly might not be moving into the Cordell Hull building if not for JLL. The company’s first job for Tennessee was looking at major office building and making recommendations.

The company deemed six buildings not worth spending a lot of money to fix, including Cordell Hull…  The Haslam administration decided to tear down Cordell Hull, sending historians, preservationists, local legislators and others into a rage over the possibility of losing the 350,000-square-foot limestone building with its rose-colored marble interiors.

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