Microsoft makes office pitch to Nashville, Tennessee officials
Microsoft expressed an interest in opening a Tennessee office during a meeting with local and state officials.
Mayor John Cooper’s administration confirmed to The Tennessean that two top mayoral aides attended a Dec. 10 presentation by the tech giant, coordinated by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
A follow-up meeting was scheduled between Microsoft and the Cooper administration last week, but did not take place. It is not clear why the secondary meeting did not happen.
A Microsoft spokesperson and state officials declined comment Wednesday.
Cooper’s spokesperson Chris Song said “Nashville is open for business to everyone” and said the administration welcomes talks with Microsoft.
“With our low tax rate, talented workforce, and many cultural and hospitality offerings, Music City is the perfect fit for tech companies interested in expanding their footprint in a diverse, business-friendly marketplace,” Song said in a statement.
Microsoft’s potential interest in Tennessee comes as Cooper, who ran on re-evaluating how economic development incentives are doled out by the city, has not yet announced the status several other lingering deals — including with Asurion and Smile Direct Club.
As the city works to deal with its budget struggles, any significant new spending is being delayed or reconsidered by the administration, which is focused on funding priorities such as Nashville schools, raises for Metro employees and teachers and recruiting more public safety personnel.
Finance Director Kevin Crumbo told the Metro Council the Cooper administration is putting economic development deals in the “back seat” until it can navigate its finances.
“I know my friends in the business community won’t be happy about some of the choices that are embedded here or some of those I think we’re going to make just to improve our position,” Crumbo said in December, when presenting how the administration was balancing this year’s nearly $41.5 million budget gap.
Economic development, he said, will continue with or without major funding from the city.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Yihyun Jeong
The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org
Published January 17, 2020