Documents Shed Light on Future of Cozymel’s Site

By Amos Maki

Now that the old Cozymel’s restaurant has been razed, public documents shed light on what is in store for the Poplar Avenue property.

A site plan approved last year by the Land Use Control Board said Robert Fogelman was seeking to develop a two-story, 32,000-square-foot building for a bank and office space.

The parcel, which is just east of International Paper Co.’s headquarters at Poplar and International Drive, is owned by Crown Centre LLC. The agent for Crown Centre is Robert F. Fogelman.

While the plan approved by the Land Use Control Board included two stories, multiple real estate sources have said recently that the plan has grown in scope, with developers now envisioning a three-story building with retail uses on the bottom floor and office uses on the top two floors.

“As I understand it, the building has changed significantly,” said Steve Guinn, who heads the Memphis office of Highwoods Properties Inc., which is developing the International Paper tower. “The highest and best use of that land, I think, is a combination of office and retail. I think the building could be well-timed.”

International Paper decided to build a fourth office tower at its East Memphis campus.

In March, Highwoods Realty LP, a subsidiary of Highwoods Properties, bought two parcels of East Memphis land totaling about 5.1 acres, which will be used for International Paper’s headquarters expansion. Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods paid $4.8 million for part of two parcels from Robert F. Fogelman, trustee of the Robert F. Fogelman Revocable Trust Dated Sept. 14, 1989.

Also in March, Highwoods signed a deal in which the real estate investment trust will deliver a $56.1 million build-to-suit tower for Memphis-based International Paper. 

That new building will sit directly across the street from International Paper’s world headquarters and main campus, and construction is expected to start Sept. 1, with completion by the end of the second quarter of 2015. Earlier this year, the Memphis and Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine granted the company a $56.9 million payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive to persuade International Paper to stay in Memphis and expand. The company will retain 2,274 high-paying jobs in Memphis, add 101 new employees and build the fourth office tower.