VOL. 111 | NO. 171 | Monday, September 15, 1997
By LAURIE JOHNSON
Welcome Wagon purchase
to increase office, retail space
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
The recent sale of the Welcome Wagon building at 145 Court St. will bring about 30,000 square feet of office and retail space online for businesses interested in the Downtown market.
Mark Snyder and Richard Snyder of Snyder Home Builders Inc. recently closed on the property, purchasing the four-story building located across from Court Square at Court and Second streets from the Welcome Wagon organization for $165,000, according to warranty deed filed with the Shelby County Registers Office.
Prior to the sale, the 95-year-old property had been on the market for three years, since Welcome Wagons Memphis headquarters were relocated to Connecticut.
Primarily involved in residential development and construction, Snyder said he and his brother purchased the property because they were in the market for a commercial project and the price was right.
"We are trying to break into the commercial side of things a bit," he said. "And when we saw that it was such a neat old building, in such good condition and at such a good price, we felt like it would be a good thing for us to start with."
The purchase of the building also represents the partnerships first foray into the Downtown market. They primarily develop and build residential subdivisions in Collierville, Arlington and Fayette County.
"It seems like Downtown is finally on a roll," Snyder said. "The momentum that the area seems to be gathering, combined with the fact that we purchased the property at such a good price, we think will make this a good investment.
The building was built in 1903 by the predecessor to the Commercial Appeal to house its operations. Snyder said, according to local legend, people used to congregate outside the building over in Court Square to get the latest baseball scores, which newspaper employees hung out the windows.
When the newspaper moved to new quarters, the building was purchased by the Welcome Wagon organization, which remained there until several years ago.
Although its value had been appraised at $750,000, the buildings sale price was reduced to a lower figure at least once by the owners, Snyder said.
"We came in and made a pretty low offer, and they took it," he said. "Being out of town, I think they were just ready to get it off the books.
"We were very fortunate to get such a good deal on it. We just happened to be in the right place at the right time."
The broker for the transaction was Steve Woodyard of RFS Realty.
With four floors and a basement, the building contains about 30,000 square feet of leasable space, Snyder said.
Its configuration and central location make it well-suited for professional enterprises in the market for a Downtown address.
Negotiations currently are underway for space in the building. Tucker Beck of Crye-Leike is the leasing agent.
"We have had a good response from people interested in leasing space," Snyder said. Several restaurants have expressed interest in space on the ground floor, and a number of lawyers are considering space in the building, as well.
Snyder, whose business is based in Collierville, is planning to open a satellite office in the building, as well. The building will be managed by Snyder Properties, the residential management arm of Snyder Home Building.
Snyder said that because the buildings previous owners left it in such good condition, no comprehensive renovation projects are planned.
Office space on each floor, however, could be reconfigured to some extent to accommodate tenants needs, he said.
Snyder said he plans to begin moving tenants into the building within the next 60 to 90 days.
Lee Warren, vice president of marketing for the Center City Commission, said the sale of the building is a continuation of many positive developments Downtown.
"The Center City Commission is excited about the sale of the Welcome Wagon Building, because it continues to demonstrate confidence in the Downtown Real estate market."