SouthernSun Converting Historic Downtown Building to New HQ

By Patrick Lantrip

SouthernSun Asset Management is preparing to convert part of a historic but long-vacant Downtown building into its new headquarters.

The $16 million project seeks to turn the nine-story Hickman Building, 240 Madison Ave., into a mixed-use project that houses the Memphis-based investment firm's headquarters as well as 40 apartments, 5,000 square feet of street-level retail and a connected parking structure.

The mixed-use development project was designed by architecture firm Looney Ricks Kiss. Montgomery Martin Contractors will be handling the construction, which will begin in May, with the help of project consultant Scott Bojko.

Another Downtown building is getting new life. Plans for the Hickman Building at 240 Madison Ave. include ground-floor retail, apartments and SouthernSun Asset Management’s new office HQ.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

“The building’s unique Gothic Revival design is among the most architecturally significant properties in Memphis and we look forward to seeing it thrive again,” said Frank Ricks of LRK. “We have worked very hard to maintain the character and integrity of the property while also adapting it to modern uses.”

Formerly known as the Medical Arts Building, the nine-story structure across the street from the Fogelman Downtown YMCA and AutoZone Park has lain dormant since 1971.

In 2015, a group spearheaded by SouthernSun Asset Management CEO Michael Cook purchased the Hickman Building and its garage for $1 million. The company, Walk-Off Properties LLC, also bought an adjacent former American Legion Building for $130,000.

“The redevelopment of this property is a big step toward filling the gaps between the Medical District and Central Business District,” Memphis Medical District Collaborative president Tommy Pacello said. “The MMDC is excited about this project, and others along Madison that are bringing more people to the area and are key to our continuing efforts to create vital connections.”

SouthernSun currently is headquartered in the Triad Centre III building in East Memphis. Prior to its decision to relocate, the company said it facilitated a comprehensive research study of its employees and real estate options.

“Our growth required evaluation of our space,” Cook said. “Just as we perform intense due diligence for our equity investments, we followed an aligning approach for our own offices. Downtown checked all the boxes.”