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VOL. 133 | NO. 26 | Monday, February 5, 2018

Cushman & Wakefield Tapped to Handle MCA Sale

By Patrick Lantrip

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Memphis College of Art has tapped real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors to handle the sale of its Midtown portfolio.

(Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors) 

The 80-plus-year-old institution announced in October it would be shuttering its doors for good in May 2020. Proceeds from the sale of MCA's real estate will create a reserve fund for the teach-out of the current students and retire the college’s real estate debt, according to MCA president Laura Hine.

“In the sale of the real estate assets south of Poplar, we will be mindful of our students’ educational and housing needs,” Hine said in a release. “We are committed to our students and will have them in mind during every step of the process.”

Memphis College of Art portfolio

Rust Hall
97,688-square-foot building, 1930 Poplar Ave.

Multifamily Properties
• Parkside, 1979 Poplar Ave. & 154 N. Rembert St.
• Tucker Place, 124 N. Tucker St.

Student Housing
• Metz Hall, 149 N. Barksdale St.
• Fogelman Hall, 139 N. Barksdale St.

Office/Art Studio Buildings
• Faiers House, 148 N. Tucker St.
• Womack House, 152 N. Tucker St.
• Cloar House, 155 N. Tucker St.
• Easterwood House, 158 N. Tucker St.

Mixed Use
• Gibson Hall/Overton House, office/retail/multifamily at 1935 & 1949 Poplar Ave.
• At the Park, multifamily at 165 Rembert St.

0.2 acres at 162 N. Tucker St.

Single Family
Hudson House, 157 Rembert St.

Source: Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors

The centerpiece of the MCA portfolio is the iconic 60-year-old Rust Hall building at 1930 Poplar Ave. in Overton Park, which was designed by architect Roy Harrover.

The additional buildings, all located south of Poplar Avenue, include four art studio/office buildings on North Tucker Street; three multifamily properties; the Metz Hall and Fogelman Hall student housing buildings on North Barksdale Street; mixed-use properties on Poplar Avenue and Rembert Street; a parcel of land on North Tucker; and the Hudson House single-family home at 157 Rembert. 

“We will work closely with MCA on all new ownership decisions,” CW/CA principal Matt Weathersby said. “The community significance of these properties is one we will keep top-of-mind throughout the process.”

Prospective buyers must submit their offers by March 21 at 5 p.m., at which time CW/CA will begin the reviewing the offers. Meanwhile, inquiries pertaining to the purchase of Rust Hall should be directed directly to CW/CA at 901-366-6070.

MCA announced the pending closure Oct. 24, citing declining enrollment, overwhelming real estate debt and no viable long-term plan for the financial sustainability of the institution.

“What it would really take is about a $30 million endowment. We have a draw down policy of 5 percent to fill that gap in the operating budget,” Hine told the Daily News at that time. “We certainly don’t have a sufficient endowment now. … There was just not the capacity to raise the $30 million endowment that we would need.”

MCA's closing will happen over a period of two years that its board describes as a “teach-out.”

Several months prior to MCA’s announcement, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art made public its intentions to leave its original 100-year-old home in Overton Park. In November, the city and Brooks formally agreed to begin to work toward a new museum on the west side of Front Street between Union and Monroe avenues Downtown, on the current site of a city fire station and parking garage.

The Brooks' new Downtown home would open in 2022 at the earliest and cost $110 million along with an endowment. The city of Memphis is considering the best future use for Brooks' Overton Park building, which the city owns.

PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115