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VOL. 131 | NO. 52 | Monday, March 14, 2016

City Has Offer On Adams Police Station

By Bill Dries

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The realty group that proposed a short-lived Hotel Overton for Overton Square in 2015 has offered the city of Memphis $1.1 million for the old Central Police Station building at 128 Adams Ave.

(Image ©2016 Google)

The Memphis City Council will discuss a proposal to sell the property to NCE Realty & Capital Group LLC or a higher bidder during Tuesday, March 15, council committee sessions.

And a new cache of documents from NCE made public after the initial batch on the council's website show the company would like to renovate and develop the building as a boutique hotel.

"To preserve and repurpose a public asset of such historic status and prominent civic location demands a thoughtful innovative apporach," the proposal from NCE reads. "The property and possibilities are too complex and too important to speculate on specific plans without due deliberation. Therefore a methodical process will be employed to discover the most promising viable redevelopment concepts."

The documents from NCE, some dated in December 2015 and others from January 2016 including renderings of what hotel rooms could look like as well as the lobby and exterior of the building.

The council resolution indicates banking firm MG Capital of Dallas is a partner in the venture.

Other documents published earlier on the council’s website include a Dec. 18, 2015 purchase agreement initialed by a representative of NCE Realty but not the city.

The agreement includes a purchase price of $1.1 million with NCE putting up a $50,000 deposit. The sale is described in the document as “as is” and “all cash” and the deal would close on or before Feb. 20, 2016.

The property does not include the Fire Museum or the Civic Center parking garage running beneath the Main Street Mall with an entrance by the police building.

The city must approve the sale on two readings. On second reading, other bidders are permitted to bid in open council sessions with the first bid required to be at least $500 higher than the initial offer. Bids beyond that must be in increments of $50.

The purchase agreement was created in the last weeks of former mayor A C Wharton’s administration after he had lost his re-election bid to current mayor Jim Strickland.

Before that, Wharton had proposed several times a renovation of the circa-1910 building and a move to make it a police headquarters once again. Previous mayors Willie Herenton and Dick Hackett as well as numerous police directors from the 1980s on had also explored a return of the building to police use.

But the idea was finally abandoned by Wharton with the city’s purchase last year of the Donnelly J. Hill Office Building on the Main Street Mall from the state.

The one-time state office building is to be the new headquarters of the Memphis Police Department, which will move from the Criminal Justice Center along with some other functions of city government.

NCE bought the old French Quarter Inn on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and Cooper Street in December 2013 for $1.9 million.

The company later announced plans to build a new 137-room hotel on the site called Hotel Overton before abandoning those plans. NCE sold the site in August 2015 to Ballet Memphis for $4.2 million.

NCE Realty, listing the same address in Olive Branch, Miss., as on the old police station purchase agreement, bought two parcels of land in January in the Founders Point subdivision on Riverside Drive near Channel 3 Drive for a combined $2.3 million, according to Shelby County Assessor records.

In the police station proposal, NCE executives says the decision to sell the French Quarter Inn property was "very difficult."

"We realized it is very important to have a ballet program for the children and local community rather than a hotel," the document reads. "Now we found this ideal property, old police station in need of renovated and development into an upscale hotel in Downtown Memphis, which will fulfill our unrealized business goal in French Quarter."

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