VOL. 11 | NO. 18 | Saturday, May 5, 2018
EMPHASIS: Commercial Real Estate
3D Realty Plans to Bring Additional Mixed-Use Communities to Memphis
By Patrick Lantrip
Fresh off the Shelby County Board of Adjustment’s April 25 unanimous vote to advance 3D Realty’s mixed-use community underneath the iconic Broad Avenue water tower, James Maclin says the company doesn’t intend on slowing down anytime soon.
M&M Enterprises’ James Maclin, who formed 3D Realty with Loeb Properties’ Bob Loeb, says their Broad Avenue plans are just the beginning. (Memphis News/Patrick Lantrip)
“3D was never developed to do just one project,” said Maclin, principal of multifamily consulting firm M&M Enterprises, who partnered with Loeb Properties Inc. president Bob Loeb to create 3D Realty. “There will be more. We want to continue to focus on building mixed-use communities and making special places for people to live, eat, socialize, and things of that nature.”
Maclin said the recently formed business venture is a natural fit when one considers Maclin’s multifamily background – he’s a former executive with Memphis-based real estate investment trust MAA – and Loeb’s penchant for bring once-popular areas of town like Overton Square and the Highland Strip back to life.
“When you combine great places to live with great places to come, eat and socialize, it’s a good match,” Maclin said. “We’re excited about working with each other and doing something special starting here in Memphis.”
Loeb acquired the 222,000-square-foot World War II-era warehouse at 2542 Broad Ave. in 1993 and has filled it with multiple industrial and warehouse users over the years.
“Since its inception, we have supported the (Historic Broad Avenue Arts Alliance) in its efforts to develop the district, knowing that once the south side of Broad was mature enough, the action would jump across the street to our sites,” he said.
Loeb said that the first tangible seeds for the new company were planted last year when Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration began advancing its Memphis 3.0 goals to re-densify the city.
“It seemed the time to redevelop was now, so I began interviewing for a development partner,” Loeb said. “I spoke with several multifamily developers from Nashville and Memphis. When I met James, he stood out as the one whose vision and passion matched ours.”
Loeb added that Maclin’s experience from his time at MAA, his relationships in the community, and mostly his reputation and character made him the clear choice to lead the project.
Like Maclin, Loeb said 3D was formed with the intention of developing multiple sites over time.
“We chose Broad Avenue as our launch project because the neighborhood is diverse and eclectic, the geographic location is appealing to a broad cross-segment of our community, and the property has a distinct identity (the water tower),” Loeb said. “We have been kicking tires on a number of others, and have to constantly remind each other that we need to stay focused to make the Broad project a reality.”
Even though the project has cleared its first hurdle with the board of adjustment, Loeb said the project still has a long way to go.
“Next up, in order to make the project economically feasible, we need to obtain commitments from public and private funding sources to capitalize the project,” he said. “There are a number of hurdles we must clear to make this project a reality.”
Looking forward, Maclin said, the duo have their eyes set on several pockets of activity around Memphis to develop their next mixed-use community.
“(Places) where there is a demand for people to be there, whether that’s food, entertainment, etc. – that’s what we’re looking for,” Maclin said. “So wherever those pockets of activities (are) is where we want to be.”
Maclin said large-scale mixed-use projects are becoming more common due to a renewed interest in developing the city’s core.
“I think in the past there has been a drastic push to de-urbanize,” Maclin said. “A lot of people were moving out of the core of cities and that showed up in Memphis with people moving to the Cordovas and Colliervilles. But now (Strickland’s) administration is seeing the importance of the core.”
Maclin, a former University of Memphis football standout, said that just like in weightlifting, if the core is strong, the rest of the body has more stabilization.
“It all starts with the core,” he said. “And I think I’m more excited … that we have leadership that understands how important the core is than any one-off deal.”
He added he’s probably even more excited about the direction of Memphis under the Strickland administration than when he was a student at the U of M working on the campaign of former mayor Willie Herenton.
“All of the activity, the development, the pro-business aspect – there’s just so many opportunities for everybody, and I just hope that everyone can see and recognize that,” Maclin said.