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VOL. 131 | NO. 226 | Friday, November 11, 2016

Developer Wins Approval For Downtown Aloft Hotel

BY K. DENISE JENNINGS, Special to The Daily News

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Mississippi-based Vibrant Hotels Inc. is one step closer to developing a new full-scale hotel in the heart of Downtown Memphis after its special use permit was approved by the Land Use Control Board Thursday, Nov. 10.

Rendering of planned Aloft Hotel in former Tenoke Building Downtown Memphis. 

(jvdenterprises.com)

The permit now goes to the Memphis City Council for final approval.

The 134,000-square-foot century-old Tenoke Building at 161 Jefferson Ave. and an adjacent one-story office at 191 Jefferson will be redeveloped into an Aloft Hotel, a contemporary-styled boutique flag owned by Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide. The full-service property will have 155 rooms and will include banquet facilities for up to 200 people, a pool and an outside patio and bar. The Class C properties were built in 1911 and 1935 respectively and occupy half an acre at the corner of Jefferson and B.B. King Boulevard. Together, they’re appraised at a combined $724,900, according to 2016 Shelby County Assessor data.

Projected investment into the hotel's development is $18 million and will include partial demolition of the one-story office building to provide for the hotel’s canopy check-in area and corner signage. The project is still in the planning phase, with demolition scheduled to begin next spring and a projected opening in the spring of 2018.

Vibrant Hotels originally made a play to redevelop the property in 2007. The company sought and was approved for a special use permit with plans to develop a Hotel Indigo, but that plan was abandoned after the economic downturn around the same time.

“We are all from around here and have interest in developing projects within the city of Memphis and Shelby County,” said Vince Vaghela, owner of Vibrant Hotels Inc. “We’ve been looking at Downtown Memphis for many years. We tried to develop this property before the recession, but the recession stalled the project and now we’re restarting the process with a different franchise.”

Vibrant decided on the Aloft brand because the company believes it’s a good product for a Downtown location, Vaghela said.

“It fits the market, and it’s more of a large full-service property.”

Vaghela added he has had good feedback from local Memphis tourism professionals, including Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau president/CEO Kevin Kane.

“Kevin Kane has been supportive of this project. He said we needed something larger for the convention market and to bring more people into Downtown.”

Aloft bills itself as a tech-forward brand, with some of its 100 hotels worldwide offering features such as keyless entry systems, which allow guests to use their smartphone or Apple watch to unlock their room, as well as TiGi (“text it, get it”), an emoji-only room service menu. Currently Tennessee is home to two Aloft Hotels, both in the Nashville area.

Vibrant Hotels Inc. is an affiliate of Batesville, Miss.-based development company JVD Enterprises, which owns and manages several brands of hotels both in the Memphis area and North Mississippi. The company currently is also developing a Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites near Winchester and Hacks Cross roads.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 69 357 17,741
MORTGAGES 66 403 20,438
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 18 44 2,689
BUILDING PERMITS 208 696 36,641
BANKRUPTCIES 52 210 11,374
BUSINESS LICENSES 22 115 5,824
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 25 90 6,804
MARRIAGE LICENSES 21 107 4,023