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VOL. 131 | NO. 37 | Monday, February 22, 2016

Beale Street Management Firm Possibly On March Agenda

By Bill Dries

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The Beale Street Tourism Development Authority may be ready to pick a day-to-day manager for the entertainment district at its March 10 meeting.

The Beale Street Tourism Development Authority is reviewing four proposals by management firms to run the entertainment district and has talked with leaders of all four. The authority could make a decision as early as its March 10 meeting. 

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

But after meeting with leaders of the four companies who have formally applied for the job, members of the authority said last week they have a lot of information and are looking for some more detail before making a decision.

“We got a good idea of each,” said Ross Boswell, head of the authority’s management committee which will make a recommendation to the full authority.

The four applicants are: Capital Realty Services LLC, 21 Beale Street Inc., ML Professional Properties LLC and Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc. All but Jones Lang LaSalle are Memphis companies.

“They are four very different groups,” Boswell said. “Some of the things we discussed were leasing issues. Maintenance on the street is a big issue based on the age of the buildings. We talked about the history of Beale Street, promoting Beale Street.”

The company hired through the request for proposals process will oversee the district including dealing with leases and maintenance of the street. The authority will maintain control of the larger vision for the district including possible expansion.

Paul Morris, who as head of the Downtown Memphis Commission ran the district on an interim basis before leaving the DMC last year, said the authority should give the process a bit longer.

“I’ve said for the last year and a half that we kind of need to hurry up and move on because I don’t think interim management is the best thing for the street,” Morris said. “But at the same time we need to get it right. Each one of the groups had parts that were impressive. … At the same time from my standpoint, no one group had everything we were looking for perfectly. And no one expected that. No one’s perfect. But there wasn’t one group that had everything we were looking for.”

Jeff Sanford, a consultant to the authority, said the group also wants to avoid being too cautious. He said continuing with the process into March is a matter of “more due diligence.”

Morris advocated a short period of interim management because future tenants of the district, including those interested in an expanded district, would be hesitant to lease with a management firm that is there on a temporary basis.

The authority’s long-term lease with the city was approved by the Memphis City Council at the end of 2015. The execution of the lease covering the three blocks between Second and Fourth streets is expected soon.

The DMC continues as interim manager of the district until there is a contract with a management firm.

Any management firm hired would be paid out of revenue made in the district and probably for some kind of percentage to be negotiated once the authority selects a firm.

The management committee is expected to make a recommendation to the full authority, but is still working out whether it will be several of the firms or only one.

PROPERTY SALES 91 293 13,051
MORTGAGES 58 168 8,171
BUILDING PERMITS 99 744 30,678
BANKRUPTCIES 34 156 6,220