VOL. 129 | NO. 242 | Friday, December 12, 2014
Council to Weigh Next Moves on Beale
By Bill Dries
A Beale Street Tourism Development Authority with a nine-member appointed board would oversee the development and management of the entertainment district under the terms of a 13-page resolution that goes to the Memphis City Council this week for discussion.
A proposed Beale Street Tourism Development Authority would oversee the future of the entertainment district and select a management and development firm to run the district on a day to day basis. City Council members discuss the proposal Tuesday, Dec. 16.
(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)
No council vote is scheduled for the Tuesday, Dec. 16, session.
The authority would be able to sell, donate or convey property, borrow money and sell revenue bonds for projects in the district under the terms.
The authority board would also “diligently proceed to identify and retain professional and qualified development and management services,” according to the resolution from Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s administration.
The management company, once in place, would run the district day to day “as well as the planning and development of the district’s potential with new investment and greater connectivity to the rest of Downtown Memphis.”
Hiring a management company is the next long-term step Wharton outlined in March after he put the Downtown Memphis Commission in charge on an interim basis of running the district on a day-to-day basis with city divisions providing whatever assistance is needed. The commission has been running the district for the city since New Year’s Day 2014.
Wharton said in March that the commission would likely assist in the selection of a development and management facility by the board.
The city of Memphis would retain its fee ownership and interest in all of the property in the district, which currently includes everything except the physical structure of the Jerry Lee Lewis nightclub and The Historical Daisy on Beale Street, also known as the Old Daisy.
The city owns the land beneath the Jerry Lee Lewis nightspot, which was originally built in 2002 by a private partnership as a Pat O’Brien’s. The Beale Street Development Corp. owns the Old Daisy.
The resolution makes no mention of what becomes of the nonprofit Beale Street Development Corp. It is the entity created by the city that has the lease with the city and in turn subleased it to Performa Entertainment, the management and development company headed by John Elkington.
Performa oversaw the renovation of the district starting in the late 1970s and developed and ran the district from its October 1983 opening until its exit at the end of 2013.
The exit came as a result of the settlement of years of litigation involving the city, Performa and the Beale Street Development Corp. as well as a bankruptcy case.
The proposal for the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority would see the city assign its leasehold interest to the authority including subleases, merchant subleases and property agreements.
The tourism authority board would include nine voting members appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council. Those members would serve staggered terms of three years. The board would also include the mayor or whomever the mayor designates as well as one City Council member, who would both be nonvoting members.