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VOL. 116 | NO. 226 | Thursday, November 21, 2002

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CCDC moves forward with Main Street and Rhodes Jennings projects

CCDC moves forward with renewal plans


The Daily News

Two blighted sections of Downtown Memphis took another step toward renewal Wednesday as a Center City Commission board approved construction proposals.

The Center City Development Corp. approved two development proposals for the Main Street Demonstration Block, between Gayoso and Adams avenues. The board also approved a development agreement for the Rhodes Jennings building at the corner of Main and Jefferson Avenue.

In May, CCDC signed ownership options on various properties in the Main Street Development Block to attract developers to purchase and develop the properties through requests for proposals.

Wednesday, the board approved a developers proposal to revitalize the property at 94 S. Main known as the Family Dollar building, and another developers proposal for 85-89 S. Main, a building often referred to as the Perez building because of former tenant Perez Cigar and Coffee Co.

The two approved projects are the latest move from CCDC in its Main Street plan.

I think you can understand, from the action we took today, we are taking substantial steps to rehabilitate Main Street, said Jeff Sanford, CCC president.

The board approved a development proposal sent in by Ramesh and Manju Gupta, who propose to turn the Family Dollar building into apartments or condominiums.

The developers proposed to purchase the property for $400,000, which the Main Street RFP committee found acceptable, Sanford said.

The CCDC holds an option to purchase the property for $456,390, so the boards subsidy on the building equals $56,390.

The board unanimously approved the proposal, while board member Christine Munson recused herself.

The Gupta partnership beat out a second proposal sent in by Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc., which is headed by CCC board member John Elkington.

Performa proposed to rehabilitate the first floor for potential tenant MacArthurs Chop and Crab house; use the second floor for office space for Isaac Hayes; and use the third floor for Performa offices.

The CCDC board also approved acceptance of a proposal from developer Bob Williams to redevelop the Perez building.

Williams will spend $118,000 to demolish the building, which has been deemed structurally unsound by a structural engineer.

Williams plans to rebuild on the property. The new building would have commercial space on the first floor and residential co-ops on upper floors.

The plan was debated in the subcommittee, Sanford said, because the board previously asked Williams to pay the difference between the demolition price and the boards option price of $225,000, as well as pay for the demolition.

However, the CCDC board voted to approve the project without forcing the developer to pay the price difference.

The subcommittee also looked at how much it would be willing to spend to subsidize Main Street properties, but felt an arbitrary price shouldnt be attached to demonstration block projects; instead, each project should be looked at individually.

We should not look at the net percentage for subsidies, but at the properties building by building, property by property to determine the subsidy needed to effect revitalization, Munson said.

The board also approved a development agreement for the Rhodes Jennings project.

CGI & Partners Court Square Center Inc. intends to redevelop the building into a commercial and residential property, but first, the board had to approve the projects concept. Board members specifically discussed the need to stabilize the building.

In other business, the board approved refinancing the Crump building, where the CCC conducts business. The new loan will assist the CCC in stabilizing the top five floors of the building, which currently are vacant.

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597