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VOL. 130 | NO. 104 | Friday, May 29, 2015

100 N. Main Could Lose Utilities

By Amos Maki

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The owner of the city’s tallest office building has until the end of the month to pay at least the past-due portion of the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division bill on the property before potentially facing cutoff.

“We’ve been in constant communication with the owner or representative of the building,” said Richard Thompson, an MLGW spokesman. “The representative or the owner has worked with us and told us they are going to pay the bill by the end of this month. They have until the end of the month to fulfill that.”

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

The building’s owner was sent a cutoff notice May 22 and has until May 31 to pay the bill. When asked what would happen if the bill wasn’t paid by then, Thompson said the utility would have to “re-evaluate” what happens to the skyscraper at 100 N. Main St. A loss of utilities could expose the building to high heat and humidity, which could potentially be damaging to the property.

Yitzchok “Isaac” Thomas and One Hundred North Main LLC acquired the 37-story tower in August 2013 for $5 million on a seller-financed note from the Zimmerman Revocable Trust, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Since then, questions have mounted about Thomas’ ability to redevelop the tower into a mixed-use building featuring a hotel, apartments and commercial space.

Last August, New York-based developer Matt Probkevitz filed a Circuit Court lawsuit alleging Thomas breached an oral agreement to form a partnership to develop the building.

Probkevitz alleges he engineered a deal to essentially flip the property for $10 million after acquiring it from Zimmerman for $5 million. Probkevitz claims Thomas persuaded him to not buy the building and that Thomas ultimately broke their agreement by acquiring the building himself.

Probkevitz said his company, EquiShares Inc., worked on the deal with Whitestone Realty Capital LLC. EquiShares and Whitestone Realty are included as plaintiffs in the ongoing case. Probkevitz asked that Thomas be held liable for actual and punitive damages of $10 million.

Thomas told the Commercial Appeal last year that he and Probkevitz did not have a partnership and that Probkevitz was just one of several brokers whom Thomas offered partnerships to if they could secure financing for the deal.

According to 2012 court documents from Connecticut, Thomas was found liable for an investor's $80,000 loss in a real estate venture. After a civil trial, Thomas was found liable under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act and was ordered to pay $160,000 plus attorney fees and costs. Thomas was also found liable for conversion, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty, but no additional damages were awarded for those claims.

A petition to enforce the default judgment was filed with Shelby County Chancery Court in October, according to court records. After Thomas failed to respond to an Oct. 27 summons, Chancery Court Judge Jim Kyle granted the motion Dec. 19 and ordered Thomas to pay the $160,000 plus attorney fees and court costs totaling $16,669.

Meanwhile, Memphis-based Architecture Inc., which crafted the redevelopment plan for the property, and Judith Johnson, an architecture historian, recently helped get the now-empty building placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service recently granted approval for Part I Certification of the building, meaning the property is officially listed on the register and able to qualify for Historic Tax Credits.

Thomas could not be reached for this story. His father, Memphis attorney Aaron Thomas, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

PROPERTY SALES 74 196 20,828
MORTGAGES 86 244 23,989
BUILDING PERMITS 138 453 43,046
BANKRUPTCIES 64 174 13,354