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VOL. 125 | NO. 97 | Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Center City to Consider Heap of Incentives

By Andy Meek

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At Wednesday’s Center City Development Corp. meeting, the Downtown agency will consider awarding almost $160,000 in incentives to bring four real estate projects to fruition.

For one of the projects – a new charter school planned for the Uptown neighborhood – the CCDC may decide to grant a development loan of as much as $200,000. That would push the incentives awarded at the meeting to a little less than $330,000 if it’s granted.

Three of the projects involve renovating existing buildings. The fourth is a $2.5 million project by Greenbrier Partners LLC that calls for demolishing a 100-year-old warehouse at 436 S. Front St. to make way for a three-story building with 1,500 square feet of retail space.

The new 29,000-square-foot building would have 25 apartment units and a basement with 25 secured underground parking spaces.

Construction is scheduled to begin in August, and design plans will go to the Center City Commission’s Design Review Board next month. The project is eligible for a development loan of $77,000, but the CCDC may decide to bump that up to $82,000 if the development meets special lighting requirements.

The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. approved a 10-year tax freeze for the project last month that would result in savings of almost $358,000.

Project documents submitted to the CCDC describe the project at the corner of Front and East Nettleton Avenue as having an entry courtyard with outdoor space suitable for something like an art display. And that area would be visible from many of the units on all three floors.

“We don’t want to build a cheap product,” said Greenbrier Partners representative Vince Smith at the CCRFC meeting. “We want to build something nice to finish out that block there.”

Memphis College Prep Elementary School, another of the developments on tap at Wednesday’s CCDC meeting, is a charter school planned for 278 Greenlaw Ave. that’s been two years in the making.

The development will cost almost $780,000 with about $200,000 worth of renovations and needed repairs.

School founder and director Michael Whaley told CCDC board members in a letter dated May 12 the school is attracting staff members to move from out of state to Downtown Memphis.

The nonprofit group behind the school will invest almost $580,000 in the project. And while CCDC staff recommended approving a development loan of $32,000, they also recommended the CCDC bump that up to the full $200,000 the group wants to bring the school to fruition.

“We are also staunch believers that quality public educational options drive business development and other economic indicators such as housing markets,” Whaley told CCDC members in his letter.

Also in Uptown, CCDC staff recommended approving a $27,000 development loan to renovate an existing apartment building at 699 N. Fifth St. Repairs scheduled to start in June include paving a parking area, replacing windows and doors and repairing a buckled concrete walkway, among other things.

The building was built in the 1960s, and most of its apartments are leased and occupied.

The developer plans to add landscaped elements around the property to improve its appearance and to replace windows to make it more energy efficient.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the CCDC staff is recommending approval of a $20,000 commercial office grant for Carlisle Corp., which plans to renovate the former One Beale sales center at 263 Wagner Place into Carlisle’s new corporate headquarters.

The company – whose subsidiary Wendelta Inc. is a leading Wendy’s restaurant franchisee – filed a $1.5 million permit for the renovation at the end of April.

All 37 of Carlisle’s employees at its current location at 100 Peabody Place would move to the new office.

The company is signing a seven-year lease in the new space, according to documents submitted to the CCDC.

PROPERTY SALES 61 262 16,169
MORTGAGES 28 132 10,054
BUILDING PERMITS 88 424 38,360
BANKRUPTCIES 36 92 7,564