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VOL. 132 | NO. 156 | Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Council Reviews New Beale Hotel, U of M Stadium Contract

By Bill Dries

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Memphis City Council members take up a hotel on Beale Street and a new lease with the University of Memphis to use Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium at their Tuesday, Aug. 8, session.

The council votes on the proposed hotel project at 404 Beale St. by KNM Development Group.

The six-story, 101-room hotel would be a Vib brand by Best Western and have an adjacent five-level 103-space parking garage fronting on Gayoso Avenue.

The site is vacant land that is outside the formal boundaries of the Beale Street entertainment district. It is also west of The Commercial Appeal building, which was put up for sale earlier this year.

These shaded areas are parking areas for University of Memphis football home games at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium that are included in a new proposed five-year contract between the city and the university.  (City of Memphis)

The council meeting is at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

Follow the meeting @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, for live coverage and updates from council committee sessions earlier in the day.

The new Liberty Bowl contract between the university and the city would be a five-year pact through the 2021 football season, with the city getting up to $857,000 in annual revenue from the seven to eight home football games played at the stadium.

The agreement includes the use of parking areas.

The council discusses the proposed contract at an 11:30 a.m. committee session less than a week after the administration of Mayor Jim Strickland announced it is reopening the planning process for redevelopment of the Fairgrounds property.

The university and the two other tenants of the stadium – the Southern Heritage Classic and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl – have said available parking is tight before any further development takes place and should be a factor in any redevelopment plan the city considers.

The proposed contract includes two clauses that address “future development.”

The first reads: “City and University acknowledge the possibility of development, upgrades and improvements to the Stadium and the Fairgrounds property during the term of this agreement that may affect the configuration and availability of space in the property. City and University will negotiate the arrangement for the potential use by the University of any new structures or facilities as result of the project development and amend this agreement to document the arrangement.”

A later “future development” clause says there may be changes at the Fairgrounds like construction of new attractions that may cause “shifts in the parking area which may affect the number of available parking spaces on the property.”

The city agrees to “make every effort” to provide the spaces, but if it doesn’t, that is not considered a breach of the contract. The city also would have no liability if the construction has some financial impact on game day box office receipts at the Liberty Bowl.

“City and University acknowledge that development, upgrades and improvements to the Stadium and Fairgrounds property may present parking access and egress challenges, changes in parking availability and game day logistical challenges during the construction period,” the contract reads.

Another clause in the contract gives the university “exclusive license to market, sell and retain all revenue” from designated parking areas including Tiger Lane. The city is paid $50,000 per regular season game for that. There is a flat rental rate for the stadium itself of $39,200 per game. The use of 38 suites on the east side of the stadium go for a flat rate of $7,800 per game.

Council members will also discuss Tuesday a change in the city property tax rate approved in June at an 8:45 a.m. committee session.

The $3.27 rate approved in June is technically $3.2715. The amendment the council is considering would extend the calculation of the rate two more decimal places to a lower rate of $3.271481. That is an exact match for the certified rate approved by the state Board of Equalization.

The certified rate is calculated to produce the same amount of revenue for a local government as the previous property tax rate, after the property reappraisal for tax purposes every four years is taken into account.

The ordinance says tax bills have already been prepared using the lower six-decimal place rate.

The ordinance requires three separate readings and is not currently on the council agenda for a first reading Tuesday. But council members could add it to the agenda at Tuesday’s executive session.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047