French Quarter Suites Deal Hangs in Balance

By Amos Maki

A planned deal to redevelop the long-vacant French Quarter Suites Hotel near Overton Square is nearing a critical deadline.

A Texas-based group has until Thursday to close on the purchase of the 105-room French Quarter Suites Hotel near Overton Square.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Austin, Texas-based ASC Management has until Oct. 31 to close on the purchase of the 105-room inn at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and Cooper Street but has not yet done so, according to one of the property’s current owners.

Attorney Donald W. Pemberton, who is a co-owner of the property at Madison Avenue and North Cooper Street in Midtown, said Monday, Oct. 28, that he had not received any information on whether the sale would be consummated or not.

“I have not got an answer to that,” Pemberton said. “We’re working on it. We’ve got all the way until Thursday.”

The shuttered hotel is adjacent to the revived Overton Square, where Loeb Properties Inc. has pumped around $20 million into a major redevelopment of the arts and entertainment district.

The hotel, which opened in 1984, was purchased by Pemberton, Ron Kirkpatrick, Garnett Murphy, Rex Amonette and Carroll Brunthaver after it closed in 2008. FQI LLC bought the property for $1 million in 2009. The Shelby County Assessor of Property appraised the property at $1.52 million.

Mohamad Hakimian, a partner in the Madison Hotel Downtown, who was associated with ASC’s effort to acquire the Midtown hotel and in 2012 completed a feasibility study for converting the property into a luxury boutique hotel, could not be reached for comment.

In 2012, a contract from two local partners to transform the 77,866-square-foot structure at 2144 Madison Ave. into a Comfort Suites fell through after it faced opposition from neighbors who wanted a more upscale hotel.

Meanwhile, Overton Square’s redevelopment is moving along.

Earlier this month, the 451-space, city-owned parking garage at the northeast corner of Monroe Avenue and Florence Street opened for business.

The city of Memphis helped kick start the redevelopment of Overton Square by investing around $12 million in the three-story parking garage, which includes a large detention basin underneath it that will help ease flooding in Midtown.

Loeb Properties has signed a bevy of new restaurant and retail tenants and installed a wide variety of public art as part of Overton Square’s redevelopment, which was thought to help make the French Quarter Inn property more attractive to hotel and apartment owners and developers.