Axle Logistics opening $13M headquarters on North Central Street

Central Street is landing an Inc. 5000 business headquarters, millions of dollars in investment and an influx of hundreds of workers in one fell swoop.

Logistics services company Axle Logistics is relocating its headquarters from the Langley Building on Summit Hill to an historic building at 835 N. Central St. later this year.

Axle will invest $13 million in the project and receive a 15-year PILOT from the city of Knoxville and Knox County.

"I think it's really important to our co-founders to break ground on a headquarters not only here in Knoxville, but that it is a representation of the collaborative and work hard, play hard type of environment that we instill in our company culture," Axle Logistics director of strategic development Ali Fraley said.

Work on the building began Tuesday and the office is anticipated to be completed by November.

The search for a new headquarters began for a practical reason: rapid growth. In 2019 Axle had 66 employees. Today it has 82 and that growth is about to speed up.

The company plans to add 50 team members before the new building opens and will hire additional 200 employees in the subsequent five years.

The firm needed more room and a building that better reflected their company culture. And it needed a space that would make recruiting a snap.

It was also important for the homegrown business co-founders Drew Johnson and Jon Clay to stay close to downtown. They were looking for lots of space, an up-and-coming area and some historic significance.

North Central Street checked all the boxes.

I'm excited to get into this more neighborhood-feel area of downtown," Fraley said. "Being a part of this community is a really big deal for us. I think it's incredible to be one of the first organizations to bring a headquarters to that area."

In 2019, Axle Logistics ranked at No. 1,117 on the Inc. 5000 list, reporting $81.6 million in revenue in 2018 and 372% growth. It was named the Top Workplace in the small category in 2019.

The company provides truckload, inter-modal and warehousing logistics services to customers in the continental U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Fraley said the office will be split between two floors and will have an open floor plan. It will also include a full cafeteria, gym, half basketball court and collaboration rooms.

The building will be a key selling point for hiring.

"I came to Axle because of our culture, so I'm really excited to see our team really get into a new space that's energized, state-of-the-art, and really get to expand and add the staff since we'll have the space to do it," Fraley said.

Conversion Properties is managing the project, which includes partners Design Innovation Architects and Denark Construction.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Brenna McDermott

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Published February 28, 2020