Sallie Mae, the Student Loan Marketing Assn., has moved about 140 of its employees into the new office complex fashioned from the former All-Star Dairy building, 110 McDonald Dr.
Elaine Nelson, manager of Sallie Mae's loan processing operations in Lawrence, said the corporation still has 400 employees working in its 52,000-square-foot center at 2000 Bluffs Dr.
Most of the employees who have moved to the new space are working in loan remediation, which involves servicing loans that have fallen into arrears, she said.
Sallie Mae began searching for additional space after it outgrew the Bluffs Drive facility, which was built in 1987, three years after the national student loan processor opened the Lawrence center. The former All-Star building is about three blocks from the Bluffs Drive facility.
NELSON SAID Sallie Mae is leasing about one-third of the space in the 55,000-square-foot office complex, which was developed by Star Group, L.L.C., an investor group headed by Bo Harris, president of Harris Construction.
Harris said today that Star Group is continuing its efforts to lease the remaining space in the complex, which can be finished according to tenant specifications.
"We're working with a number of tenant prospects," Harris said. "Nothing at this time to announce, though."
Harris said the space leased by Sallie Mae, which is expected to be the largest single tenant in the building, will anchor the complex.
"I think having Sallie Mae there, it's a first-class tenant, is a plus," he said.
HARRIS SAID the building is likely to be attractive to tenants who want proximity to Interstate 70 the west Lawrence exit is a block away and the Lawrence Holidome across the street. Some tenants also will be able to have separate outside entrances, and a 6,000-square-foot annex building also is available for lease to a tenant that wants to maintain an identity apart from the building, he said.
Until Star Group purchased the property earlier this year, the building had been vacant since 1988, when Mid-American Dairymen of Springfield, Mo., All-Star's last owner, closed the dairy.