VOL. 119 | NO. 20 | Monday, January 31, 2005
By Andy Meek
New Main Revitalization Seeing Progress
The Daily News
Little by little, development in the New Main block between
Union and Gayoso avenues is taking shape.
In the works. Projects
under way include two restaurants planned to open in coming months, both in
historic buildings on Main Street. And Nelson Inc., which is transforming the
Family Dollar building at 92-96 S. Main into an upscale hotel, is in the midst
of improving access to the building.
In addition, a development partnership is planning to renovate
99-105 S. Main, a project that will include commercial and residential uses. Jason
Wexler, a partner in the project, said the group plans to submit a payment-in-lieu-of-tax
application to the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. and seek a development
loan from the Center City Development Corp. in February for the project.
Pending approval, the development will include 36 residential units and between
4,500 square feet and 5,000 square feet of commercial space.
Significant area. Jay
Goff, development project manager for the Center City Commission, said projects
such as these prove there are still many opportunities to be found in the once derelict
stretch of Main Street. The New Main redevelopment project began more than four
years ago as part of a Main Street Redevelopment Plan for six blocks between
Gayoso and Adams Avenues.
We think New Main is a very significant area to get redeveloped,
Goff said. Weve placed a lot of emphasis extra emphasis on facilitating
and promoting development on that particular block, and weve acquired properties
on that block.
Even though there is a lot of new development going on
there right now, weve done a good job of facilitating and trying to fill in
the gap to make things happen. But at the same time, theres still some work to
be done. You can imagine what it looked like two years ago there was nothing
Dining, living options. New
developments will include everything from residential units to restaurants.
Wangs China Bistro is the first restaurant tenant on New
Main and will occupy the ground floor of the Cornerstone Apartments at 113 S. Main,
another project Wexler was involved with. Construction on the restaurant began
Hopefully by April 1, we should have a running restaurant
there, Wexler said.
The Cornerstone Apartments are the first phase of the five-building
Main Street Flats project. Wexler said residential units in the development have
been fully leased since the building opened last summer.
He added that construction at 99-105 S. Main should begin in
February or March. Coleman Cokers Building Studio is designing the project,
and Jameson Gibson is the contractor. The project is scheduled to go before the
CCCs Design Review Board Feb. 2.
Everything growing. Like
Goff, Wexler sees considerable potential in the New Main block. His company, Greenhat Partners, is particularly focused on the
development of historic properties.
We still think that area is a great location, right in the
heart of Downtown, with everything growing around it office, entertainment
and residential, Wexler said. We think its a terrific long-term spot, which
is why we continue to invest and build in this area.
More coming. Another
New Main restaurant is set to open in coming months.
Developer Deven Patel, who owns a
Southaven hotel and a construction company, is planning a $700,000 renovation
of 59 S. Main that will turn the 14,000-square-foot historic building there into
a three-story restaurant, Mexican Mango. Patel hopes to have the restaurant
open by spring, in time for Cinco de Mayo.
I have a hotel in Southaven I built couple of years ago,
and Ive also started a construction company, but this basically is going to be
my first big project like this, Patel said. There will probably be four to five
months of construction before its opened.
I bought this building about five years ago, just thinking
it was going to do a lot better since Downtown was getting cleaned up and a lot
of new businesses were being attracted to Downtown. So I made an investment
down there five years ago, and hopefully it will pay off.
Currently, Patel is finalizing plans and preparing to seek
approval for a tax freeze on the building from the CCRFC.
Complicated deals. Other
development is occurring on New Main. At a CCDC meeting last week, the groups
Main Street subcommittee discussed improving guest access to the former Family
Dollar store building that is slated to become a boutique hotel. John Elkington, a CCDC board member, said the group had been
working on plans for the hotel for several months but that accessibility issues
need to be addressed.
These are all complicated deals, with no low-hanging fruit,
said CCC president Jeff Sanford.
But as the building is arranged now, he said, guests to a
future hotel would need to have their luggage FedExed
ahead of them.
Moving forward. Besides
these projects, redevelopment of several other New Main properties is either
under way or set to begin soon. Construction should begin in April on The Vue at South Main, a $40 million mixed-use tower that will
include 10,000 square feet of retail space and 286 apartments. The 28-story structure
also will include a 441-space parking garage, according to the CCC.
Construction also is moving forward on a $4 million renovation
of 85-95 S. Main, a project that will include 15 condos, two penthouse units
and 7,200 square feet of commercial space. Completion is expected in May.