VOL. 129 | NO. 56 | Friday, March 21, 2014
Hilton Garden Inn Planned for Former Bus Station
By Amos Maki
A Knoxville-based hospitality company has closed on the purchase of the vacant Greyhound facility Downtown and will transform the property into a Hilton Garden Inn.
Turkey Creek Hospitality completed the $1.7 million purchase of the 1.3-acre property Tuesday, March 18, and will bring a 140-room Hilton Garden Inn to the heart of Downtown Memphis. Hank Martin and Elliot Embry with NAI Saig Co. represented Greyhound Lines Inc. in the transaction.
The vacant Greyhound bus station on Union Avenue has been bought by a Knoxville company that plans to turn it into a Hilton Garden Inn.
The Hilton Garden Inn, at 195 Union Ave., will be owned and managed by Knoxville-based Turkey Creek Hospitality and is scheduled to open in May 2016.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the city of Memphis and the Downtown Memphis Commission to bring a high impact urban project that will add greatly to the mission of a vibrant downtown,” said Nitinkumar “Nick” Patel, a partner with Turkey Creek Hospitality, in a statement. “We are looking to make a good, positive change for Downtown Memphis.”
A Hilton Worldwide official said in a statement that the new hotel was a point of pride for the company. Memphis is home to Hilton Worldwide Memphis Commercial Services Center and the Hilton Garden Inn brand.
“By working with Turkey Creek Hospitality, we will bring our brand of upscale, yet affordable hotels to travelers experiencing the musical flavor and energy of the Bluff City,” said Adrian Kurre, global head at Hilton Garden Inn.
Hilton has been eyeing Downtown for several years. The company previously announced agreements to build a 118-room Hilton Garden Inn at Second Street and Linden Avenue, and a 300-room Hilton at Fourth Street and Linden, but neither project materialized.
Turkey Creek Hospitality also acquired 235 Union Ave., a 186-space parking lot next to the former Greyhound bus station, in September 2013 for $1.4 million and plans to develop a 115-room Holiday Inn Express at that site.
“We have worked over a year on this project and now we have two great locations for two great hotel brands,” said Patel.
A new hotel would be welcome news to the local convention industry, which has struggled with an outdated Memphis Cook Convention Center and a shortage of hotels concentrated in the Downtown core, as well as to Downtown merchants, who rely on tourism and conference-related business.
In related news, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said during a speech before the Memphis Rotary Club Tuesday, March 18, that he likes the idea of turning the nearby Peabody Place complex into a convention and conference facility.
After meeting with initial success Peabody Place began steadily losing important tenants starting in 2006. Peabody Place owner Belz Enterprises has considered several plans to revive the property, including converting large swaths of the property into suites-only hotel.
The Greyhound property, across Union Avenue from AutoZone Park, became ensnared in controversy as former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton wound down his 17-year tenure.
Federal investigators spent months exploring Herenton’s ties to the property and his plan to move the Greyhound station to a site near Memphis International Airport. While pushing for that plan and the expansion of the nearby Beale Street Entertainment District, Herenton, who also publicly proposed building a hotel or convention center on or around the Greyhound site, secretly held an option to buy the Greyhound property and eventually made more than $90,000 on the deal.
Greyhound completed its move to the airport area facility in 2011 and no charges were ever brought against Herenton.