These are the projects you’re chatting at the water cooler about. These are the developments you’re driving by and are either applauding or shaking your fist toward. These are the projects bringing cranes into Downtown Memphis and the ones that look like nothing is happening.
These are the most notable projects coming in 2024 (or at least getting started).
But first, let’s give a shoutout to the two big ones that opened in 2023. The $40 million Downtown Mobility Center opened in August. The 960-vehicle parking garage is still seeking commercial tenants on the ground floor. Additionally, Tom Lee Park reopened in September after its $61 million remodel.
Here is a roundup of how Downtown Memphis development is looking in 2024.
100 N. Main
Let’s get started with Downtown’s tallest building, and arguably its most iconic.
In November, elected officials and developers celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for the 100 N. Main redevelopment project.
The 100 N. Main building has been vacant since 2014. The development team, 100 N. Main Development Partners, consists of Kevin Woods, Jay Lindy, Michael McLaughlin, Billy Orgel and Adam Slovis. The local developers are partnering with Kansas City based-Block Real Estate Services. (Block was a former competitor during the development bidding process for the site.)
During the November groundbreaking, then-Mayor Jim Strickland announced the city signed a 15-year lease for 60,000 square feet of office space inside the building once 100 N. Main reopens.
The current plan for 100 N. Main will convert the 37-story tower into a mixed-use space with more than 8,000 square feet of restaurant space and more than 21,000 square feet of commercial space. The upper floors will be reserved for residential use with a hotel planned on the lower floors. The developers are aiming for a 2027 opening.
This year, the site will continue working on the first phase of construction (mostly interior demolition).
The Downtown Mobility Authority, an affiliate board of the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC), still owns the building. In January 2023, the board agreed to sell the building to 100 N. Main Development Partners for $10 million. That payment will be spilt into two $5 million installments. The development agreement was signed in November 2023.
Dixie Greyhound Complex
The mixed-use development at the historic Dixie Greyhound Bus Lines and former Schlitz Brewery horse stable site is still a go, with the first phase of construction already underway.
The first phase of construction involves completing the Uptown Studios and Storage portion of the project located at 475 N. Main St. The second phase will be the mixed-use development portion, which includes renovations to the Dixie Greyhound complex and former Schlitz Brewery site.
In October, the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County (EDGE) awarded developers November 6 Investments a $2,185,000 Community Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency (C-PACER) loan for the Uptown Studios and Storage portion of the development. Site work has already begun at the former parking lot site. November 6 plans to build the 80,000-square-foot Uptown Studios on the lot. The four-story building will be the new home for existing tenants and artist studios at Downtown Self Storage.
On Dec. 12, the Center City Revenue Finance Corp., an affiliate board of the DMC, approved a six-month extension for the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) closing. November 6 was awarded a 10-year PILOT in September 2022 for the $40.7 million development.
Downtown Self Storage is located at 525 N. Main St., the former Dixie Greyhound complex. Once Uptown Studios is complete, work on 525 N. Main St. will begin. The 2.8-acre site will include 68 apartments and 38,840 square feet of commercial when complete.
November 6 Investments purchased the lot at 475 N. Main St. in 2021 for $600,000, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds. The company also purchased Downtown Self Storage in 2020.
On Dec. 20, Brett Grinder of Grinder Taber Grinder filed a pair of new construction permits with the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development regarding the Dixie Greyhound project at 525 N. Main St. The permits were for a pair of buildings on the campus including a 15,490-square-foot 25-unit building and a 2,878-square-foot commercial space.
Vic on Union
The ambitious 286-unit apartment complex at 785 Union Ave. is currently on hold, according to Kate Good of Hunington Properties. Good cited increased construction costs and budget concerns for delays in construction.
Houston-based Hunington Properties was planning to convert the former Office Depot site into a $46.44 million, five-story residential complex along with 327-vehicle parking garage.
The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. was expected to discuss a potential extension for project’s 12-year PILOT during its Dec. 12 meeting. However, the discussion was delayed until January.
The Center City Revenue Finance Corp. had approved a 12-year PILOT for the project in October 2022.
Vic on Union LLC, an affiliate of Hunington Properties, purchased the 2.45-acre site for $4.5 million in December 2022, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds.
New York-based Left Lane Development purchased the historic Falls Building in May 2022 for $10 million, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds.
The developers are planning to convert the 11-story building, which dates back to 1910, into 170 luxury apartments. Approximately 50 apartments will be fully furnished. Once completed the Falls Building will have 12,525 square feet of amenities for residents including a 4,114-square-foot gym. The building will also have 2,244 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.
Last May, the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. approved a 12-year PILOT for the project. The estimated cost of construction is $79,075,000.
Nashville-based Earl Swenson and Associates is the architect for the project. Interior improvements and construction are underway with an anticipated opening in 2024, according to the project’s PILOT application.
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In September, the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. approved a 10-year PILOT to build a 150-room Holiday Inn Express at the historic, 10-story Dermon Building.
Dermon Building OZ, consisting of Nick Patel and Sam Patel, is the developer behind the project. The company purchased the property in September 2022 for $1.5 million along with the adjacent parking lot along Court Avenue for $1.75 million, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds.
The estimated cost of construction is $22.34 million. The hotel is expected to open in 2025 with construction beginning in early 2024. Memphis-based cnct design is the architect for the project.
The $70 million, 13-building development from Henry Turley Co. and ComCap Partners in the Medical District has completed its residential unit construction.
In total, the Orleans Station development has 372 apartments. The development staged its residential construction in phases beginning in summer 2022.
The mixed-use complex also has completed shell work for its 16,500 square feet of commercial space. Retail improvements will still be required for tenants.
New Orleans-based French Truck Coffee recently opened its third Memphis location at 732 Madison Ave. in part of the Orleans Station development. Two additional tenants including Sana Yoga and Rock’n Dough Pizza and Brewery have also been confirmed. Sana Yoga will be located at 696 Madison Ave. and Rock’n Dough Pizza will be located at 704 Madison Ave. in the former Trolley Stop Market site. (Trolley Stop closed in 2020.)
The Walk (on Union)
Can’t really have a Downtown Memphis development article without mentioning The Walk mixed-use project on Union Avenue from developer Kevin Adams and Big River Development.
In December 2022, the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. approved a PILOT extension for the project. The decision pushed back the project’s PILOT closing date for phase one of the project until June 2024 and made Dec. 31, 2025, the deadline for the entire project.
The board previously approved a 30-year PILOT for the project in August 2020. According to its PILOT application, the first phase of development is expected to cost upward of $741 million. During the December 2022 meeting, David Dlugolenski of Big River Development said the developers have already spent $53 million on permitting and land acquisition. The development includes 16 parcels of property located along Union Avenue between South Fourth Street and Danny Thomas Boulevard.
The project’s scope hasn’t changed. The first phase of the development will include 349 hotel rooms between two Hilton-brand hotels: Tempo and Embassy Suites; 142,279-square-feet of office space, 702 apartments, and a 1,514-vehicle parking garage. The residential and office buildings will also include more than 27,000 square feet of flexible commercial and retail space.
Memphis-based LRK is the architect for the project and Memphis-based Flintco is the general contractor. Georgia-based Peachtree Hospitality is a financing partner in the project.
Dream Hotel & other 18 Main projects
Developer Tom Intrator and his firm 18 Main have no shortage of Downtown projects.
The ambitious 171-room Dream Hotel project at 122 S. Main St. will be delayed. In November 2023, Yoav Poni of 122 S. Main LLC submitted an extension request for the site’s special use permit with the Memphis and Shelby County Land Use Control Board. The nine-month extension would now carry over until Sept. 1, 2024, instead of Dec. 31, 2023.
Plans for the Dream Hotel have largely remained the same. In August 2023, Jonathan Smith of LRK filed a construction permit with the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development for the project. According to the construction permit, the $75 million project will total 176,883 square feet and include a hotel, restaurant and apartments. The site plan includes building a 14-story tower on top of the existing three-story structure (and former site of Royal Furniture Co.).
In July 2023, the Design Review Board, an affiliate board of the DMC, approved plans for the tower and the mixed-use portion of the site including apartments. In November 2022, Hyatt Hotel Corp. acquired the Dream Hotel brand in a $300 million merger.
Across the street at 107 S. Main, another Intrator-owned property, renovation work has been largely completed with tenant improvements forthcoming inside the building. In August, New York-based Forsythia announced it would be opening its second location at 107 S. Main. The restaurant is expected to open sometime in 2024.
Additionally, Switzerland-based IGW has also announced it will be opening a new co-working space, Spaces, inside 107 S. Main. Spaces made the announcement in January 2023. In an August 2023 news release from IGW, the company announced Spaces would occupy 18,500 square feet across three floors at 107 S. Main. Spaces is expected to open later this year.
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And last, but not least, perhaps Intrator’s most notable project is the massive $604 million investment for a mixed-use development in Downtown’s Pinch District.
The project includes 21 parcels of property along Front and Main streets and extends toward Shadyac Avenue on the northern half of the project site and Jackson Avenue on the southern portion. In June 2022, the Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment approved a height variance for the project that would allow for two buildings to share a 420-foot height limit. No construction has begun on the project site.
In total, Intrator owns six properties along Main Street and Front Street in Downtown Memphis including 18 S. Main St., 316-324 S. Front St., 311 S. Main St., 386 S. Main St., 390 S. Main St. and 122 S. Main St. (These addresses do not include the 21 parcels involved in the Pinch District project.)
Neil Strebig is a journalist with The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 901-426-0679 or via X:@neilStrebig