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VOL. 132 | NO. 33 | Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Panel OKs Downtown Project, Midtown Changes

By Patrick Lantrip

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The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. approved two Downtown projects and changes for Belz Enterprises mixed-use development at Union Avenue and McLean Boulevard in Midtown on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Belz Enterprises’ revised PILOT application for a mixed-use project at the southwest corner of Union Avenue and McLean Boulevard was approved by the CCRFC Tuesday, Feb. 14.

(LRK Inc.)

Wessman Development was approved for a 15-year PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes) to convert the Memphis College of Art Graduate School at 477 S. Main St. into a 62-unit Arrive Hotel. The project includes two restaurant/bar concepts totaling about 8,000 square feet, more than 1,000 square feet of common space and a gym.

“We target arts districts and that’s why this is so appealing to us,” Chris Pardo, Arrive Hotel’s co-owner and co-founder said.

During his presentation, Pardo said his company originally purchased the five-story building to develop it into office space, “but after I spent more time in Memphis and talked to people in the neighborhood and Downtown, I felt like we needed something more active.”

In addition to the 477 South Main property, Wessman plans to develop a one-story warehouse immediately to the west at 484 S. Front St. into approximately 5,500 square feet of retail/commercial space and 90 parking spaces for hotel use.

The developer also proposed several enhancements to pedestrian areas around the project, which would include sidewalk repair, landscaping, public art and additional pedestrian-focused lighting and art beneath the railroad trestle along Butler Avenue between Main and Front streets.

Pardo said the two restaurants located within the hotel would be a “high-end Mexican-Latin restaurant facing Main and a gastropub called Longshot” that faces Front.

“This is not just another hotel that he could put anywhere, this is a hotel that is made for Memphis,” Terence Patterson, president of the Downtown Memphis Commission, said. “And that’s what we’re excited about – supporting those types of projects.”

Belz Enterprises’ revised PILOT application for a mixed-use project at Union and McLean also was approved by the CCRFC.

The original $43.5 million plan called for 188 apartments, 30,500 square feet of commercial space for an anchor retail tenant, 10,500 square feet for smaller tenants, a 64-space parking deck for residential tenants and their guests, and a 49-space, two-level parking area to service commercial tenants and patrons.

The revised plans now call for 175 apartments, approximately 26,500 of square-feet commercial space, and 288 parking spaces that will be a combination of surface and existing structured parking developed in three phases, all with a $33.6 million price tag.

The initial phase involves the demolition of a four-story office building at the northeast corner of the site that will be replaced with a new residential and commercial building. The second phase will convert the existing eight-story hotel adjacent to the office building into apartments and the last phase involves acquiring the Methodist Minor Medical office parcel west of the site when its lease runs out in 2019.

“They’ve continued to tirelessly get that project done, so we’re excited to work with them as well,” Patterson said.

And architects Jimmie Tucker and Juan Self, co-owners of Self+Tucker Architects, were granted an deadline extension for closing a previously approved PILOT that was granted in 2015 to renovate the Universal Life Building at 480 and 504 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

Self and Tucker plan to turn the historic property into 25,482 square feet of leasable space as part of a $6.2 million project. They purchased the historic building in 2006 and had a previous PILOT agreement with the CCRFC.

The first sought an extension for that agreement in 2007 as the effects of the Great Recession began to make financing such projects difficult.

PROPERTY SALES 81 201 16,108
MORTGAGES 40 104 10,026
BUILDING PERMITS 130 336 38,272
BANKRUPTCIES 28 56 7,528