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VOL. 127 | NO. 159 | Wednesday, August 15, 2012

South Main Athletic Club, Cafe Wins $200K Loan

By Sarah Baker

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After some initial concerns by the Center City Development Corp. board, a local development team has received the green light to move forward with its plans to renovate the 26,500-square-foot building at 387 S. Main St. into a mixed-use development that will include an athletic club and café.

CCDC, an entity of the Downtown Memphis Commission, voted Wednesday, Aug. 15, to approve a development loan of $200,000 to The EYKONIC Group LLC for the project. CCDC development loans are typically capped at $90,000.

Managing director and partner Kate Dailey and managing director Erik Yarbro told the board their plan is to convert the South Main facility into two operations. The first is Memphis Downtown Athletic Club, an upscale women-only training facility, day spa and co-ed gym, as well as yoga, fitness and cycling studios.

The second operation is Atmosphere Eurocafé, a European-style, three-meal restaurant that offers wine and beer and focuses on healthy food choices and a strong social component. Both the fitness facility and restaurant will employ 20 full- and part-time workers.

In addition to a rehab of the interior of the building, elevations will be improved to the façade and rear. The development plans also include public art, sidewalk repair along the Main Street frontage, landscaping improvements and the addition of on-premises parking behind the building.

The total development cost, excluding furniture, fixtures and equipment for the athletic club and café, is approximately $1.7 million. EYKONIC Group’s equity in the project totals $480,000 in the full project.

The owner-occupied project was eligible for a development loan of $81,000, but according to the applicant and M&F Bank that is evaluating the project for possible financing, there is a shortfall of $200,000.

Jay Goff, DMC director of development and diversity outreach, said the project is consistent with existing projects in the South Main Historic Arts District, such as Harahan Bridge/Main to Main, branding efforts with North Star Destination Strategies, Chisca Hotel renovation, residential projects on South Front and the overall lifestyle of the area. It also fills an empty storefront from day one.

“As far as matching the project to our strategic plan, this project basically knocks the ball out of the park,” Goff said.

Other projects in recent years to exceed the $90,000 development loan cap include the old Smooth Moves building at 77 S. Main, the old Blue Lights Studio building at 115 Union Ave., and Memphis College Prep charter school in Uptown.

The EYKONIC Group plans to start building in September and open in January in time for New Year’s resolutions made by many to stay fit. Self-Tucker Architects has been hired as the design firm.

PROPERTY SALES 74 74 17,939
MORTGAGES 95 95 20,660
BUILDING PERMITS 141 141 36,977
BANKRUPTCIES 59 59 11,485