VOL. 130 | NO. 26 | Monday, February 9, 2015
Another Downtown Hotel Could Be On the Way
By Amos Maki
A Memphis businessman is proposing a suburban-style hotel in the heart of Downtown Memphis while Swedish furniture retailer Ikea moves forward with plans for its first Memphis-area store.
A rendering shows the four-story La Quinta Inn & Suites proposed for 310 Union Ave.
(Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development)
Gopal Govan is seeking a special use permit from the city-county Land Use Control Board to build the four-story, 104-room LaQuinta Inn & Suites hotel on the site of the former New York Suit Exchange at 310 Union Ave., located at Union and Danny Thomas Boulevard. The Land Use Control Board meets Thursday, Feb. 12.
In January, the Daily News reported Gopal’s GCG Hospitality LLC had purchased the 1.7-acre site for $1.2 million. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2014 appraisal is $775,300. Govan, who public records list as the owner of the Quality Inn Hotel at 42 S. Camila St., also bought the vacant Hostess Bakery building at 341 Monroe Ave. and that building is currently slated to remain “for future use.”
Office of Planning Development staff are recommending approval of the hotel with conditions.
“A hotel use on this site would not be detrimental to the character of the area,” OPD staff wrote in a report. “The style of development could impact the character of additional development in this immediate area and the proposed suburban style hotel is somewhat inconsistent with a more urban form.”
“However, this fringe area of the denser downtown core will likely be improved by this development,” staff wrote. “A hotel is also a desired asset for the nearby sports and downtown attractions. Further the development of this site could leverage other redevelopment nearby.”
Meanwhile, Ikea is seeking some modifications of conditions to build its 269,000-square-foot store, which is expandable to 338,000 square feet, on a 42-acre site near Interstate 40 and Germantown Parkway.
Ikea would like to rename Market Plaza Drive “Ikea Way” and is asking that a landscaping easement along Interstate 40 be maintained without trees to improve the visibility of the $64 million store.
The staff report said Ikea has made a “suitable effort” to include landscape buffers and streetscape improvements as part of the project. The neighborhood association for the area, the Cordova Leadership Council, is in support of Ikea’s application and OPD staff is recommending approval.
In January, the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine awarded Ikea an 11-year tax break for the project that is expected to employ 175 people. The PILOT could save the company around $9.5 million over 11 years while producing a local tax benefit of around $15.6 million over the same period.
The Memphis store, which is expected to open in the fall of 2016, will feature nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, 50 room settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 300-seat restaurant that would serve Swedish specialties. Ikea has estimated that up a third of the store's visitors would come from outside the Memphis area.