Three Roots Capital is proud to help finance place-making real estate projects that bring high-quality jobs and economic growth to East Tennessee and the greater Appalachian region. Recently, Three Roots provided financing to Partners Development, a local real estate developer and valued partner, to support the creation of a new facility for Elo Touch Solutions (Elo), a leading global provider of interactive touchscreen solutions.
Partners is developing a state-of-the-art, 87,500 square foot facility in Hardin Business Park for Elo, which will house warehousing, logistics, service, product configuration and other customer-facing services. Once complete, Elo expects the building to hold 80 employees, with room for growth. Several employees currently work at a small location in downtown Knoxville, and Elo wanted to expand its footprint in the area where its story first began.
Around 50 years ago, Dr. Sam Hurst, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, invented an early version of the modern touchscreen. With this novel technology, he formed the company Elographics, which was later changed to Elo Touch Solutions. Today, Elo touchscreens are used around the world on everything from medical-grade monitors to point-of-sale systems to mobile computers.
“We are happy to have Three Roots Capital and Partners Development supporting this major investment in East Tennessee, where Elo was founded with our invention of the touchscreen in an Oak Ridge basement 50 years ago,” said Craig Witsoe, CEO of Elo. “Today as the global leader in cloud-connected touchscreen computing devices, you will see Elo at the checkout and self-service kiosks for Target, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and many more. We have also supplied many of the respirator touchscreens and temperature scanning kiosks used to fight Covid, as well as new Industry 4.0 applications. Grady and the Three Roots team’s mission is well aligned with Elo’s continued job and business growth.”
“There aren’t many of us who haven’t gone to a kiosk somewhere and used a touchscreen to order something. We all have had an experience with their technology whether we realized it was their technology or not,” said Randy Jenkins, Chief Financial Officer and Financial Strategist at Partners Development. “They have a global footprint, so it was wonderful for our community to see them expand here in Knoxville, especially when they had other choices they could have exercised.”
Partners Development began talks with Elo in February 2020. Early on, Jenkins knew he wanted to bring on Three Roots to help finance the project due to the complex, competitive nature of the deal.
“We have financed other projects with Three Roots, so I was familiar with the system of how they do and look at things,” said Jenkins. “It was an easy first call for me to call Grady to say, ‘We’ve got this project opportunity. Let’s think creatively about how we can put a package together that meets not only Three Roots’ needs but also our tenant’s needs.”
One of the major selling points of this project for Partners Developments and Three Roots was Elo’s emphasis on bringing high-quality jobs to the community. With this in mind, Three Roots worked with Citizens National Bank of Tennessee to provide $7,750,000 in senior debt to Partners Development to finance the construction project. Jenkins expects the building will be complete by the end of October 2021.
“I enjoy working with Randy Jenkins because we’re both very analytical about deals. Partners’ approach to business is thorough and meticulous, while they are also aggressive and continuously moving forward,” said Grady Vanderhoofven, President and CEO. “The Elo project is exactly in line with the kinds of deals Three Roots wants to work on because it is a major job creator for the area. As an added bonus, it is also really interesting because Elo was born right here in our community.”
After working with Three Roots on the Elo facility and previous projects, Jenkins said he and Partners Development look forward to continuing their relationship with Three Roots.
“They’re an extremely valuable resource in our community,” said Jenkins. “We’re excited to continue our relationship and look for those opportunities to engage them as we finance our projects here at Partners.