MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Police said ServiceMaster's future opening in downtown's Peabody Place will make the area more secure.
Deputy Director Mike Ryall made the comments while taking a ServiceMaster tour planned specially for first responders and safety officials.
“Nothing is worse than a vacant building in a downtown area," Ryall said. “Anytime you have an organization that comes in and brings 1,000 people into a building, they establish a good eye and ear point for us. It expands that security measure outward."
“I verified some things from them. What we’d like to see, what we’d expect when we arrive on scene should we have a medical emergency,” EMS Batallion Chief Daniel Wakefield said.
ServiceMaster officials conceded the relocation from East Memphis to downtown had caused some concerned among employees.
“There has been some concern about safety. But to make people feel more comfortable we're gonna add extra patrols in the beginning,” ServiceMaster's Rachel Sparks said.
Officials said the company was also doing panhandler training for employees.
ServiceMaster officials showed how they hoped the open floor plan would spur innovation among employees. The space will hold 1,200 employees who start moving in June. The transition should be completed by March 2018, officials said. They said the building may allow for a total capacity of about 1,400 people.
The building, which occupies an entire block off B.B. King and Peabody, is four floors and 340,000 square feet.
ServiceMaster officials also stressed the importance of maintaining the original character of the Peabody Place building, including an original bowling alley sign.
“We’ve kept several pieces so we can incorporate them somewhere in the building. So when people visit they still see that. They still see part of Memphis here,” Sparks said.