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VOL. 115 | NO. 69 | Wednesday, April 11, 2001

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By SUE PEASE Board to hear Tennessee Trust plans By SUE PEASE The Daily News A construction application for a banquet hall Downtown tops the list of items to be considered by the Center City Commission during its Design Review Board meeting at 5 p.m. today. The banquet hall at 9 and 11 S. Main St. is connected to the Madison Hotel, a development project begun in 1999. The hotel project is transforming the old Tennessee Trust building at 79 Madison Ave. and the three properties surrounding it, including the space at 9 and 11 S. Main. The entire $8.5 million project was approved by the Center City Revenue Finance Commission for a 24-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes freeze in 1999, said John Lawrence, director of business development for the CCC. The project was approved before the CCRFC capped tax freezes at 20 years. The Center City Development Corp. also approved an $85,000 development loan for the project. "(The boards) all thought it was a truly significant project. You dont get anymore in the center of Downtown and it was a very large, vacant historic building. They all wanted to participate at a very high level," Lawrence said. The Renaissance Group is the architectural design firm on the project. Plans for the exterior of the banquet hall will be reviewed at the meeting. The banquet facility will encompass 4,500 square feet and include a kitchen of roughly 1,100 square feet, said Barry Allmon, project manger for The Renaissance Group. The fourth building, at 83 S. Madison Ave., is a three-story adjacent building and will eventually house a restaurant and bar area for the hotel, Allmon said. When the entire project is complete, the four properties will connect. The plans for the banquet hall front are an effort to bring the exterior in line with the streets historical significance. The exterior was redone in the 1970s, Allmon said, and had lost its historical style. "We are trying to bring back an elevation that is more reflective of the old-style architecture," Allmon said. The surface will have a limestone base, many glass windows and red brick, with medallions on the top of the building, he said. The 9 and 11 S. Main structures are two stories and have a basement. Plans include tearing down the wall connecting the two spaces to make it one large area. The general contractor on the project is Wooldridge Construction Co. Mohamad A. Hakimian, who owns Unison Hotel Co. Inc., will manage the hotel facility. He is a former general manager of the Peabody hotel. The owner of the Madison Hotel is a partnership called Wall Street LLC, consisting of Hakimian, Walter Broadfoot and two partners from Chicago. Hakimian said they hope to open the entire facility Sept. 1. Also on the Design Review Board agenda are three sign applications one from Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, 141 S. Main; another from The Danceplex, 200 Linden Ave.; and a third regarding a Redbirds/Kroger banner at AutoZone Park.

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