Gibson Plans to Sell Downtown Factory, Build a New One

By Patrick Lantrip

(Map data ©2017 Google)


145 Lt. George W. Lee Ave., Memphis, TN 38103: Nashville-based guitar maker Gibson Brands Inc. confirmed Friday, Oct. 20, it is putting its Downtown Memphis factory on the market and plans to build and lease a new facility nearby.

Asking Price: $17 million

Seller: Gibson Brands Inc.

Property Size: 127,000 square feet

Details: The Gibson Beale Street Showcase and Guitar Factory opened more than 16 years ago at 145 Lt. George W. Lee Ave., across South B.B. King Boulevard from FedExForum.

The 127,000-square-foot building includes production facilities, administrative offices and a large entertainment venue.

CBRE Memphis is marketing the property for $17 million.

Gibson’s Memphis division “is growing and achieving record profitability and sales levels,” the company said.

A new facility, the statement continues, would allow Gibson to improve product quality, increase production capacity and potentially increase local employment.

Gibson is seeking a buyer that will allow it to continue to operate in the current factory on George W. Lee Avenue while the new facility is under construction, according to the announcement.

Founded in 1894, Gibson produces musical instruments, consumer electronics and professional audio equipment. Along with the Memphis factory, it has production facilities in Nashville and in Bozeman, Montana.

1930 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38104

Asking Price: TBA

Seller: Memphis College of Art

Property Size: 8 acres (combined)

Details: Memphis College of Art, the 81-year-old Overton Park institution, will close by May of 2020 after years of financial struggles.

The college’s board described the pending process as an “orderly dissolution of MCA’s real estate and other assets to fund the College’s debt obligations and other liabilities, including providing sufficient funding to serve existing students who remain at MCA.”

The announcement Tuesday, Oct. 24, cites declining enrollment, overwhelming real estate debt and no viable long-term plan for the financial sustainability of the institution.

It is the second institution in Overton Park to announce major changes in the last two months. The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is leaving its 100-year-old original home in the park with early plans to move Downtown. The museum board is in talks with the city about terms of a move to Front Street between Union and Monroe avenues overlooking the city’s riverfront.

The city is also considering what would become the next best use of the century-old existing Brooks Museum building that it owns after the Brooks leaves.

The closing of the college of art will happen over a period of two years, so students currently enrolled in programs can graduate by May 2020.

4755 Southpoint Drive
Memphis, TN 38118 (et al.)

Sale Amount: $34.5 million (combined)

Sale Date: Oct. 19, 2017

Buyer: Exeter Property Group

Seller: Treeview Real Estate Advisors LP

Details: Exeter Property Group has made its second significant splash in the Memphis market with the combined $34.5 million acquisition of two industrial properties.

In the first purchase, Exeter Property Group, doing business as Exeter 4755 Southpoint LLC, purchased a 700,000-square-foot Class A warehouse located at 4755 Southpoint Drive from New York-based Treeview Real Estate Advisors LP for $17.3 million.

Built in 1997 on 29.4 acres, the property was appraised for $19.5 million this year by the Shelby County Property Assessor.

In the second deal, also with Treeview, Exeter purchased a second warehouse in the area for $17.2 million, this time doing business as Exeter 5015 Citation LLC.

Also built in 1997, the 500,000-square-foot Class A warehouse sits on 36.8 acres and was last appraised for $17.4 million.

Teresa Tsai, founder and CEO of Treeview Real Estate Advisors, signed both deeds on her company’s behalf.

Founded in 2006, Pennsylvania-based Exeter is a real estate investment management firm specializing in the acquisition, development, leasing and management of industrial and related business park properties across the U.S. and Europe.

2130 Exeter Road
Germantown, TN 38138

Application Date: Nov. 7, 2017

Owner: Exeter Road Holdings LLC

Architect: Blair Parker, Blair Parker Design

Details: Plans for the renovation of the old Kroger building at 2130 Exeter Road were publicly reviewed by Germantown planning officials for the first time since the previous developer, Centennial American Properties, pulled out of the project in May.

The new developers, 2130 Exeter Road Holdings LLC, brought slightly revised plans to a Germantown Planning Commission subcommittee Wednesday, Oct. 25, that centered on minor facade changes and the relocation of a 7,000-square-foot outparcel building roughly 100 feet to the south.

Since it was a subcommittee meeting, the plans were only reviewed. The full planning commission meets on Nov. 7.

The site in question was at one point supposed to be the home of Memphis’ first Trader Joe’s store, however the oft-delayed project was again placed on hold after the previous developers pulled out.

There was no mention of Trader Joe’s during Wednesday’s meeting, and afterwards, Blair Parker of Blair Parker Design said he could not comment on the status of any of the project’s prospective tenants.

The project, which was first announced in the fall of 2015, hit its first road bump in June 2016 when a Trader Joe’s spokesperson announced the store’s opening would be pushed back from the third quarter of 2016 to sometime in 2017.

Six months later, a representative with Trader Joe's told The Daily News the project would likely be pushed back again, this time until 2018. While Trader Joe’s won’t comment on the future of the project, its website still lists the 2130 Exeter Road location as “coming 2018.”