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VOL. 119 | NO. 151 | Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Underutilized Downtown Properties Await Development

By Andy Meek

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The 29-story Sterick Building at 8 S. Third St. was once the city's premier office building - and was the tallest structure in the region for several decades.

Today, the 350,883-square-foot building is vacant and faces the same plight of inactivity as nine other historic Downtown properties identified by the Center City Commission.

This month, the group published a list of 10 underutilized buildings that are most in need of redevelopment.

"It has generated some interest," said Andy Kitsinger, director of planning and development for the CCC. "I've met with a couple of developers that have come in and have had that in hand and said, 'I'm interested in two of these buildings on your top 10 list.'"

Kitsinger said the 10 properties were chosen because of their architectural significance, lack of a solid redevelopment plan, importance to the city and their potential to inspire development around them. Following is a rundown on each of the properties compiled by Chandler Reports, www.chandler
reports.com, which is owned by The Daily News Publishing Co.


The Sterick Building is owned by The Sterick LLC, which lists an Atlanta, Ga., address in ownership documents. The property was appraised at $419,200 in 2005 and was quitclaimed to its current owner in 1997 by three groups: Central Properties LLC, Grosvenor Estate LLC and Wigpic LLC.


The Tennessee Brewery at 495 Tennessee St. is owned by a Memphis group - The Tennessee Brewery LLC - and sits atop the river bluff near the South Main Arts District. The 65,720-square-foot property was appraised in 2005 at $248,600. The brewery building was built in 1890 and was formerly the home of the Tennessee Brewing Co. Brew Ten LLC transferred the property for $350,000 to The Tennessee Brewery LLC in 1999. It was transferred to Brew Ten LLC in 1995 from Marvin Ratner.


The Sears Building at 495 Watkins St. is owned by Memtech LLC, a New York-based group, and was appraised in 2005 at $1.03 million. The building was one of nine mail order and retail centers built by Sears Roebuck and Co. between 1910 and the Great Depression. Sears Roebuck and Co. sold the land and buildings to Memtech LLC for $1.25 million in 2000. A Virginia company, Seaboard System Railroad Inc., transferred the 1.4 million-square-foot property to Sears Roebuck and Co. for $15,575 in 1984.


The Nylon Net Building, at 7 Vance Ave., is owned by Bennie and Sylvia Sacharin, and ownership documents list a Memphis address for the owners. The property, appraised at $520,000 in 2005, is 188,978 square feet and situated in the heart of a residential area. Kenneth and Miranda Sacharin quitclaimed a portion of the property to Bennie and Sylvia Sacharin in 1991 and transferred the balance of their interest in the property to the couple in 1994.


The Toof Building, a 64,544-square-foot vacant office structure built in 1913, is located at 195 Madison Ave., adjacent to AutoZone Park. The Center City Development Corp. sold the property to 195 Madison Ave. LLC for $1.27 million in 2000. A Tennessee general partnership, BCF Properties, transferred the property to the CCDC in 1997. Its 2005 appraisal was $851,000.


The Hickman Building is located at 240 Madison Ave. Built as a medical arts building, the property is being marketed for residential use with possible commercial retail space on the first floor. The 99,159-square-foot property is owned by Hickman Properties Inc. and was appraised in 2005 at $277,900. Joe Cooper transferred the property for $35,000 to Hickman Properties Inc. in 1993, after Thomas Cates quitclaimed the property to him in 1993.


The Alabaster Building, at 678 Beale St., is owned by HPTC LLC, a Tucker, Ga.-based group. The 59,273-square-foot property was appraised at $3.07 million in 2005. It was sold by Alabaster Realty Trust to its current owner in 2000 for $1.2 million. Harold and Bernice Miller transferred the property to Alabaster Realty Trust in 1986 for $500,000.


The Clayborn Temple, which dates to 1893, is the vacant church at 280 Hernando St. where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led marches during the sanitation strike of 1968. The property's owner is Clayborn Temple AME Church, and it was appraised in 2005 at $15,500. No square footage is on file because the building is tax exempt.


The building at 60 S. Front St. is part of a group of four buildings that are attached on the outside and could be connected inside. It is owned by Hodgeco M Inc., which lists a Virginia Beach address in ownership documents, and was appraised at $89,500 in 2005.


The former Union Planters Bank headquarters at 61 Madison Ave. is owned by Calvin Howell, a real estate developer from Bolivar, Tenn. The 257,476-square-foot property was appraised in 2005 at $1.58 million. The property was transferred to Howell in 1995 from a Tennessee nonprofit, Free the Children Inc., for $187,000. Ben Adams transferred the property to Free the Children Inc. in 1994.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 81 301 17,656
MORTGAGES 101 347 22,998
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 38 76 4,504
BUILDING PERMITS 208 722 41,947
BANKRUPTCIES 61 237 16,629
BUSINESS LICENSES 11 61 5,762
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 60 256 25,125
MARRIAGE LICENSES 14 80 5,365

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