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VOL. 113 | NO. 72 | Monday, April 12, 1999

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Apartment construction Apartment construction surges in Downtown By KATHLEEN BURT The Daily News Although the first quarter of 1999 lagged behind its predecessor in the number of permits filed for new apartment construction, several projects could make the year a big one for the apartment market, particularly Downtown. According to building permit records compiled by The Daily News, 19 permits for apartment-related projects were sought with a total value of $1.1 million in the first quarter, compared to the first quarter of 1998 in which 33 permits were filed with a total value of $23 million. However, 1999 is seeing the fruits of 1998. Construction has begun on Echelon at the Ballpark, a $32 million Downtown project that will bring 350 luxury apartments to an area experiencing a resurgence as construction resumes on the new AAA ballpark. Dallas-based Echelon Residential Inc. is working on another project, Echelon at Midtown, which will bring 280 units to the Midtown/Downtown area. This complex, in the medical center district, will provide housing for medical students, residents and staff of nearby hospitals. While Echelon is making a push in an area that has been overlooked for large apartment projects because of lack of available land, many builders are bringing plans for adding apartments Downtown. The Downtown sub-market also is expected to make a big surge in 2000 with an estimated 886 completions. Nearly half come from the Echelon at the Ballpark project. Other markets also are seeing a wave of apartments coming online from the completion of projects started in 1998. Although the first quarter saw only 84 apartment units go online, an additional 286 units were completed in late 1998, most in the Cordova/Germantown area. The Reserve at Dexter Lake I and Bailey Creek were completed in late 1998. Champion Hills Stonebridge II was completed this year in that sub-market. In DeSoto County, Annandale Gardens I in Olive Branch now has 120 units online with 48 completed in the first quarter. Church Lake II in Southaven added 38 units in 1998. However, Cordova/Germantown is expected to retake the top spot in 2000 for overall multifamily construction, with an estimated 1,800 units. "DeSoto County has nudged Cordova/Germantown out of the top spot for estimated completions in 1999. Completions in 1999 for DeSoto County and Cordova/Germantown are expected to total 850 and 744, respectively," said Holly Dargie, vice president of marketing for the multifamily division of CB Richard Ellis Memphis. South Bluffs III, a Turley Co. development, had 20 units come online in the first quarter in Downtown. Gary Garland, owner of the Garland Co., is another builder that has made Downtown a recent hot sub-market. Two projects, Island Park and the Apartments at Harbor Town Square, added 300 units Downtown in 1998. Garland has four garden-style apartments called the Harbor Town Centre Apartments opening this weekend. He is also adding 29 loft-style apartments at 409 and 421 S. Main St., with construction beginning in May. "With improvements at the National Civil Rights Museum, the Gibson Guitar Factory and the ballpark adding jobs there's a strong, growing demand and no supply," Garland said. Loft-style apartments that incorporate existing architecture into new dwellings is the "rage of the industry" right now, Garland said. "I'm going to be setting the rental rate in this market at about $1.20 a square foot. But, these apartments are certainly different from the norm," Garland said. Among the amenities offered are concierge service, elevators, proximity to the Mississippi River and Downtown, high smooth ceilings and architectural features not often seen in a typical apartment. The average rent for 1990s construction Downtown is 82.6 cents per square foot, with the average rent set at $779. In additional to Garland's projects, the Orgill Brothers are adding apartments at Tennessee and Calhoun streets with construction expected to get underway in the coming year. "I don't see any way it can't continue to grow," Garland said.
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0