VOL. 130 | NO. 135 | Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Vertical Living in Crosstown
By Madeline Faber
The 1.1 million-square-foot Sears & Roebuck regional distribution center, which has laid abandoned in the Crosstown neighborhood for more than 10 years, is getting a new lease on life as the highly-anticipated Crosstown Concourse project.
Drew Taylor, left, and Michael Phelan of LEDIC Management Group, which is handling apartment leasing and management at Crosstown Concourse.
(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
Seven floors of tenants furthering innovation in health care, education and the arts will build on each other leading to the upper three residential floors. The creative dynamism that will fuel the vertical urban village continues in the 270 apartments.
Forty percent of the units have already been guaranteed to some of Crosstown Concourse's founding tenants. The Church Health Center has claimed 10 units. Crosstown Arts will continue its artists-in-residence program in 12 units. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital will house fellows and visiting doctors in its 25 units. Fifty-five units, including the building's entire efficiency apartment stock, are going to Memphis Teacher Residency.
LEDIC Management Group will manage the residential floors. With 9,000 local units and almost 40,000 units in its national portfolio, Memphis-based LEDIC believes that it is well-equipped to take on the unique property.
"We have a good Downtown presence and know hi-rises and mid-rises and know how to make that work and have a sizable Class A portfolio here in Memphis, so I feel we have the capabilities and expertise," said Drew Taylor, senior vice president of asset management.
LEDIC manages prominent locations like the 1,000-unit Fieldstone Apartments in Southwind and the Chisca Hotel Apartments, where pre-leasing began in May for the renovated Downtown landmark.
Pre-leasing for the Crosstown Concourse apartments will begin in third quarter 2016 with construction expected to be complete in first quarter 2017. LEDIC thinks the leasing effort will move along quickly.
"It's a very high-profile project that will draw a lot of attention, so I think that's going to be good for the lease-up effort," said Michael Phelan, managing director of investments.
According to the initial proforma, up for rent are 26 studios with 635 square feet and $659 monthly rent; 67 one-bedrooms with 908 square feet and $950 monthly rent; 154 two-bedrooms with 1,148 square feet and $1,229 monthly rent; eight three-bedrooms with 1,856 square feet and $2,119 monthly rent; and 12 micro-units that are 313 square feet with $499 monthly rent.
“When you have a lease-up where 40 percent of your units are spoken for before you even begin, that’s unique.”
LEDIC Management Group
"In a lot of ways it's simpler than what we do. When you have a lease-up where 40 percent of your units are spoken for before you even begin, that's unique," Taylor said.
In terms of challenges, Taylor foresees that turning around the 55 apartments for incoming Memphis Teacher Residency participants within a couple of months will be unlike anything else they've had to do so far. While in training, aspiring Memphis educators will spend one year in Crosstown Concourse.
"The majority of MTR residents arrive to Memphis from out-of-state. Therefore, we create structures and opportunities that foster internal community among residents, both personally and professionally," said Christy McFarland, pre-residency director with MTR. "Crosstown Concourse allows us to continue this goal through our organizational space and also through shared housing in the apartments above.
“We've seen that the work and relationships built through environments that encourage collaboration and camaraderie have long-term impact."
LEDIC is expecting that the remaining stock will be claimed by Crosstown Concourse employees, but there's also room for Memphians who want to support the 10-story, mixed-use experiment.
"Other than those founding partners, there will be some people who work in the restaurants and hopefully local people who maybe normally have lived Downtown and like that lifestyle who want to support this,” Taylor said. “There might be people who just love Memphis or have an affinity for St. Jude or want to be a part of this whole town in a box.”
LEDIC is counting on using a leasing trailer for the pre-leasing period, but a "very unique" leasing office is in the works for the lower commercial floors, Taylor said. The leasing office will have ample room for gathering in step with the developers' vision to make Crosstown Concourse a site for collaboration.
The spirit continues on the upper floors through the use of interior patios that bridge apartments with wooden railings.
"The apartments and the patios are intentionally designed like the commercial space to have places to get together," Taylor said.
In addition to the two restaurants, coffee shop, movie theater, performance hall and additional retail space that make up the lower floors, residents will have access to a workout facility, a community garden, conference areas, a library, laundry facilities and dedicated parking.
A swimming pool for residents and the community is a phase two item and would be attached to the Church Health Center.
"If you want to get out there, there's tons of great stuff right around there, but if you don't want to get out you really don't have to," Taylor said.