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VOL. 116 | NO. 58 | Monday, March 25, 2002

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Industrial market becoming faded memory in Downtowns south end Industry becoming faded memory in Downtowns south end By SUE PEASE The Daily News Its been decades since the Orgill Brothers warehouse in Downtowns south end distributed hardware or the Tennessee Brewery next door made beer. But the neighborhood will see a nearby warehouse property take on new life when a company that just bought the former D. Canale building on Georgia Avenue turns it into a residential development. Southland Development Partners purchased the buildings at 7 W. Georgia and 22 W. Georgia avenues for $750,000, said Terry Lynch, Southland Development managing partner. While the company is still considering what specifically to build on the property, Lynch said the vacant warehouse buildings would be torn down to make way for residences. The 5.73-acre property, which is near another three acres the company has under contract, will transform it into a high-density urban development. "We think it is going to be a great area to live in," Lynch said. "We are trying to put something together to create a nice development with all the modern amenities at the same time making it the urban experience everybody is looking for." The property is at the intersection of Tennessee and Georgia, across the street from the South Bluffs residential development. The buildings include a large freezer, which is why Southland Partners first looked at it. It owns a cold storage facility in Arlington. But, the buildings were deemed functionally obsolete and the company felt they were not suitable for conversion into other uses. Wallace Whitmer, affiliate broker with NAI Saig, represented the seller, U.S. Food Service. He said the buildings are about 130,000 total square feet of warehouse and office space. Dean Fowler with Southland Realty represented the buyer in the transaction. While D. Canale Food Services Inc. first owned the buildings, ownership transferred many times from PYA/Monarch (a subsidiary of Sara Lee Foods) to U.S. Food Service. While the new owner felt the buildings were unsuitable for commercial use, the acreage is prime for residential use, which is the trend for development in that area. Along with the South Bluffs homes across the street, other developers have jumped into the area to renovate older buildings into condominiums or apartments, as well as building new developments, such as the Central Station Lofts at St. Paul and South Main streets and the South Front Street Townhomes. So much residential development is going up in the area that the Center City Commission is working with the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development to rezone many lots from current zonings to residential. From Union Avenue to Crump is the area targeted for rezoning. By doing so, the change would take advantage of the residential growth trend. "Basically, just trying to create a sense of place," said Myron Hughes, CCCs vice president of planning and development. The CCC and OPD are making plans to have a public meeting sometime in April to discuss the expansive rezoning. Some areas will remain commercial. Those property owners already are operating under light industrial (I-L) use would be grandfathered in, Hughes said, but the idea is to limit further industrial use. Combining the right mix of residential, commercial and industrial use for cities is always a balancing act for urban planners. For Memphis Downtown, a big question now is how to complement massive residential growth. There needs to be service and retail along with corporate and commercial growth to maintain residential neighborhoods. "We are fortunate enough, where a lot of other cities are not, because they have commercial growth, but they dont have the residential population. We are on the flip side. I dont know which one you want first, but well have to find a way into it," Hughes said. Southland Development Partners hopes to approach OPD within 45 days with their plan and start construction by the end of the year, Lynch said. Archimania PC is working with Southland on the preliminary plans.
PROPERTY SALES 120 120 16,027
MORTGAGES 64 64 9,986
BUILDING PERMITS 203 206 38,142
BANKRUPTCIES 21 28 7,500