By Richard Lawson
CoStar News
February 11, 2020 | 03:49 P.M.

After 55 years in the same location, the Nashville, Tennessee, owner of retail brands Johnston & Murphy and Journeys is moving its headquarters elsewhere in the city.

Genesco, a company founded in 1924 as Jarman Shoe Co., announced it has leased most of Highland Ridge Tower at 535 Marriott Drive, which is located about 4 miles north of its current headquarters on the other side of the Nashville International Airport.

The company said it plans to fill about two-thirds, which equates to about 206,677 square feet, of the 310,000-square-foot building that opened in 2000. CoStar data shows 216,299 square feet of empty space in the building, most of it left over from when Bridgestone moved its North American headquarters to downtown Nashville in 2017.

New York City-based AG Mortgage Investment Trust teamed with Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co. last October to buy Highland Ridge Tower and a neighboring office building for $85.5 million. The company plans to be in the new space in about a year, according to a statement.

In its announcement, Genesco promised to create new jobs and invest more than $30 million over the next five years. Genesco has 800 employees in its current location at 1415 Murfreesboro Road, where it occupies a large part of the roughly 300,000-square-foot building. Genesco has occupied the building since it was constructed in 1965. The city of Nashville sold the office building to the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority in 1970 for $2.9 million.

Genesco’s lease at its current building expires in April 2022, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition to Johnston & Murphy and Journeys, Genesco has licensed brands Levi’s Footwear and Bass Footwear. It has 1,490 retail stores around the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

“As the Genesco lease is set to expire, the airport authority will look to identify the best short to mid-term uses for that property while we continue to plan for the expansion needs” of the airport over the long term, Kym Gerlock, an airport spokeswoman, said by email. “The specifics and timeline haven’t been settled upon at this time, but the planning and preparation process continues.”

The building sits close to one of the airport’s runways but also anchors what’s called Genesco Park. Directly behind it, Nashville and Davidson County built a municipal office building in the early 2000s.