Unum Group soon will begin several construction projects at its downtown Chattanooga headquarters valued at up to $21 million, including the building of a parking garage.
The projects will enhance the work environment for the nearly 3,000 workers at the insurer’s facilities and continue Unum’s investment in the downtown business district, officials said Wednesday.
The attached photo of a rendering of a planned parking deck and landscaping at Unum is schedued to run on business front
Jim Sabourin, a Unum spokesman, said workers will begin in early 2009 building the garage on an existing Unum lot which will include an elevated crosswalk into Unum’s west building.
The parking deck, which will be in what is now known as Lot B, bordered by Fourth, Walnut, Fifth and Cherry streets, is expected to hold between 1,000 and 1,500 vehicles, Mr. Sabourin said.
Also, renovations are scheduled to begin in September on an area known as the atrium where company meetings often are held.
The combined cost of the projects is expected to be between $18 million and $21 million, Mr. Sabourin said.
“It is obviously a multimillion dollar project and will take several quarters to complete,” he said. “From a public standpoint this isn’t going to be a big deal, but for our employees it is.”
Unum already has acquired the site of the former EPB building at Market and Fifth streets and is turning the area into a parking lot.
The parking deck project will not begin until after the EPB lot is completed to give employees displaced by the construction a place to park until the garage is complete.
Mike Taylor, who manages Unum’s local facilities, said the company is finalizing the details with a construction firm for the projects.
“We will use a construction manager who oversees the work and competitively bid all of the construction work,” he said. “This has proved to be a cost effective and timely approach to these types of projects. Since we are currently negotiating the contract for the construction manager, we really can't discuss who it is.”
Once the parking garage is complete, a portion of what is now known as Lot A will be landscaped into a green space, which officials said will enhance the appearance of the Unum campus.
The new garage will free up several Unum properties, but officials have not determined what will become of them.
Mr. Sabourin said the parking deck will consolidate parking for many employees who are now scattered among several Unum lots downtown.
The project also will free up several Unum properties, but Mr. Sabourin said officials have not determined what will become of them.
“Once everything is completed, we will look at what to do with the other properties,” he said.
The atrium project will double the current capacity of a 40,000-square-foot meeting area and enhance their audio-video capabilities.
The atrium now has a meeting capacity of about 500 people, but after an escalator and several built-in foliage planters are removed, officials believe the space will house up to 1,000 workers.
Mr. Sabourin said the renovations will benefit both Unum employees and the downtown area.
“This will make it safer for employees and certainly much more convenient,” he said. “The green space also will add to the beauty of downtown.”