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VOL. 132 | NO. 199 | Friday, October 6, 2017

2 Cooper St. Projects In Midtown Seek Incentives

By Patrick Lantrip

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Two separate Midtown projects, both located on Cooper Street, are seeking 11-year tax abatements from the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Center City Revenue Finance Corp. board.

The first project, located at 663 and 673 Cooper St., is an office/residential mixed-use development submitted by filament LLC, the development wing of local architectural firm, archimania.

“Our mixed-use commercial and residential development adds a much needed balance to the heavily retail/entertainment/theater/restaurant development of Midtown,” filament and archimania partner Barry Yoakum said in a letter of intent to DMC interim president Jennifer Oswalt. “By increasing the amount, value, and density of office/commercial development, we would be increasing Midtown’s daytime population and creating new customers for the retail/entertainment/restaurant businesses that now predominate in Midtown.”

An artist’s rendering of Focal Point Investments’ proposed 25-unit studio apartment complex on a vacant lot at 999 S. Cooper in Midtown. (Submitted)

Plans for the mixed-use development include 11,000 square feet of renovated office space, six rental apartment units, shared amenities and on-site parking, according to its application.

The building at 663 Cooper, formerly the Sheet Metal Workers Union office, will be renovated to serve as the new headquarters for archimania, while the building at 673 Cooper, formerly an insurance office, will be renovated to attract a “creditworthy office tenant.”

New construction to the rear of the existing office space will also yield six rental apartments ranging in size from 425 to 590 square feet, according to the CCRFC staff report.

In total, the project will cost around $2.87 million, and is expected to increase the amount of taxes received by the city and county from $22,169 to $33,486 during the term of the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT).

“Without a PILOT, the property values in Midtown simply do not support the investment required to infuse new life in the aged properties as required by the banking institutions for bank loans for small businesses,” Yoakum continued. “The office comps available in the Midtown area are in such a depressed state that real estate appraisers cannot justify the values to support the back loans required to reinvent the existing building stock, much less encourage new buildings with the quality of space that is required and desired by tenants in the South Cooper Corridor of Midtown.”

If approved, the applicant is expected to submit plans to the Design Review Board this fall.

Meanwhile, further south along Cooper Street, Focal Point Investments LLC is also seeking an 11-year tax abatement to construct a 25-unit studio apartment complex on a vacant lot at 999 S. Cooper.

This project is expected to cost the developers around $3.24 million and increase city and county taxes on the property from $2,345 to $18,780 during the term of the PILOT.

In August, Focal Point’s plans were approved by the Memphis & Shelby County Board of Adjustment after more than an hour of debate between the developers, residents and board members.

Although the development garnered the support of the Cooper-Young Business Association, some nearby residents felt as though the 25-unit, 17,625-square-foot pair of buildings was too large for the 0.4-acre site and argued that the size of the development would only create more parking issues than neighborhood has already.

Focal Point’s project – which includes a three-story, nine-unit building fronting South Cooper and a four-story, 16-unit building behind that, was ultimate approved by the Board of Adjustment 5-2.

Both applications will be heard by the CCRFC board on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

PROPERTY SALES 56 94 12,852
MORTGAGES 23 50 8,053
BUILDING PERMITS 285 422 30,356
BANKRUPTCIES 23 67 6,131