» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
Skip Navigation Links
VOL. 128 | NO. 7 | Thursday, January 10, 2013

James Lee House Bed & Breakfast Granted 10-Year Tax Freeze

By Sarah Baker

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()

The James Lee House redevelopment is moving along in Victorian Village. 

The Center City Revenue Finance Corp., a board of the Downtown Memphis Commission, approved a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement for The James Lee House Bed & Breakfast at 690 Adams Ave. at its Tuesday, Jan. 8, meeting. The PILOT benefit over the 10-year term is $309,778.

Representing The James Lee House LLC were partners Jose Velazquez, former executive director of Latino Memphis, and J.W. Gibson, owner of Gibson Cos. Inc. and also a partner in the Chisca Hotel redevelopment project.

The plans are to convert the 8,100-square-foot Lee House into a five-suite, luxury bed-and-breakfast inn, an investment of about $2.3 million. Suites will be named after each of the four families that have owned the property – the Lee Suite, the Goyer Suite, the Harsson suite, and now, the Velazquez suite, as Velazquez and his family plan to live on the third floor.

Redevelopment of the Lee House is a priority of the DMC, as listed on the organization’s “Top 10 Redevelopment Sites.” The property has been vacant for nearly 60 years.

DMC backed the 10-year PILOT, an exception from its eligible 7.5-year-term, because it will “save an important historical structure from neglect, remedy blight, create jobs, increase surrounding property values, revitalize a prominent corner in Memphis, provide needed hotel rooms in the core of the city, bolster tourism, reduce the city’s liability for owning a blighted structure, and stimulate economic development,” according to the PILOT application.

The DMC believes the project when completed will serve as a catalyst for future development in Victorian Village and the Memphis Medical District.

The James Lee House’s $1 transfer from the city to Velazquez was approved in August. It had been owned by the city since 1929 and was exempt from property taxes.

The 171-year-old house at Adams and Orleans Street is designated by the Library of Congress. Built in 1841 as a two-story, four-room farmhouse, the Lee House underwent massive renovations in three phases through the 1870s.

The house was built in the Italianate style, but with architectural influences of French second empire – dominated by heavy stone work, limestone on the front façade and scored stucco made to look like limestone throughout.

It was the original home of Memphis College of Art in 1927, thanks to a donation by James Lee’s eldest daughter, Rosa, until the organization moved to its current location in Overton Park in 1959, and has been vacant since.

The design plans will be presented to the DMC’s Design Review Board in February. Construction is scheduled to begin in February and be completed by November.

The architect for the project is Fleming Associates Architects PC and the contractor is Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC.

Sign-Up For Our Free Email Edition
Get the news first with our daily email


 
Blog Get more from The Daily News
Blog News, Training & Events
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 72 368 16,413
MORTGAGES 66 422 21,432
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 15 76 4,266
BUILDING PERMITS 176 877 39,378
BANKRUPTCIES 60 294 15,542
BUSINESS LICENSES 20 98 5,491
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 69 423 23,573
MARRIAGE LICENSES 17 95 5,035

Weekly Edition

Issues | About

The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.