Friday, February 22, 2002, Vol. 116, No. 37

City tax sale offers three properties City tax sale offers 2 Downtown properties By SUE PEASE The Daily News Two pieces of real property going up for sale at a City of Memphis tax sale next month are abandoned, dilapidated buildings, but important pieces of real estate in the Downtown landscape. The building at 66 N. Main St. and another at 110 Court Ave. will be up for public auction to the highest bidder at 9 a.m. March 14, according to a public notice published Thursday in The Daily News. The sale, occurring to recover delinquent real property taxes owed to the city, will take place in City Hall Council Chambers, 125 N. Main. City tax sales occur periodically during the year, said Gwen Hewitt, delinquent tax attorney for the city and administrator of general services. "In this particular instance, these properties are all abandoned and ownership needs to change hands so they can be rejuvenated and taken on by new owners. And, brought back on to the tax rolls," Hewitt said. "All these properties are just ripe for somebody to buy to change its status and make them worthwhile properties." The building on Main Street is listed in the notice as the property of Rhodes Jennings Building Investors and minimum bid requested on it is $404,872.09. The building at 110 Court is listed as property of Court Park Building Investors and the minimum bid price is $400,012.80. The properties partially adjoin the Lincoln American Tower at 60 N. Main touching them in the southwest corner. The Lincoln American Tower is occupied with the Yellow Rose restaurant located at street level. Currently, the 110 Court and 66 Main buildings are in poor shape and passersby see deteriorating buildings with broken glass in some windows and green plywood boarding up others. "They need some care," Hewitt said. If no one buys the buildings, they default to the city. The tax bill on the buildings became delinquent in 1995, according to the notice. State law provides that a year after the property becomes delinquent, a tax suit is filed and any time after, the property can be brought up for a tax sale, Hewitt said. Tax sales usually dont occur immediately, because all interested parties must be notified. One of the interested parties listed in the notice is Memphis Heritage, which owns a facade easement for both buildings. Developers can donate a facade of a building to the park service via a non-profit organization to get a tax credit on the property, said Judith Johnson, Memphis Heritage executive director. Memphis Heritage gained the facade easement by such a donation back in the 1980s, which equals 10 percent of ownership. But, it was contingent on the developers revitalizing the property, which never happened. Johnson would like to see the properties revitalized because of their historical value. The 66 N. Main property dates back to the 1890s and the Court Street building to the early 1900s. However, some people feel there is more value in its timber than in the architecture. "All the demolition guys in town are hovering like buzzards around a dead cow. They all want to take it down for the timber and the terra cotta and the salvage in it," she said. Johnson pointed to the heavy fines imposed on the buildings by the fire department code enforcement, which make it difficult to sell. According to Allen Roberts, chief fire marshal, there are $372,820 in fines imposed on the 66 N. Main building and $369,350 in fines on the 110 Court building. Those fees are rolled into the minimum bid price.