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Downtown Memphis Commission receives 11 proposals for 100 N. Main project

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 4:44 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The deadline for the proposals on the 100 North Main project was Tuesday, and when it passed 11 parties were in the race for revitalizing the historic downtown building.

“We are thrilled with the response,” said Brett Roler, VP of Planning and Development for the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC).

The DMC purchased the property earlier this year, and it was Roller who gave Action News Five a tour of the building back in mid-June.

Roler told us on Thursday that he’s excited all of the proposals aim to revitalize, rather than demolish.

“It’s hard to imagine, in our market, that if that tower was torn down that the market would support another 37-story building, so we were thrilled to see that all the proposals contemplate the adaptive reuse of that tower and new construction elsewhere on the site,” Roler said.

Below are the 11 parties who submitted proposals:

100 North Main Development Partners. Primary: Kevin Woods

100 North Main Partnership. Primary: Mark Carlson

18 Main. Primary: Tom Intrator

Alexander Company. Primary: Joseph Alexander

Block Real Estate Services & Sunflower Development Group. Primary: Aaron Mesmer

Carlisle Development Company, LLC. Primary: Chance Carlisle

Douglas Development Corporation. Primary: Douglas Jemel

Flaherty & Collins. Primary: David Flaherty

Memphis Tower Group, LLC. Primary: William McCrary

Russell Glen & Mathews Southwest. Primary: Terrence G. Maiden

Summit Management Corporation. Primary: Gregory Averbuch

The goal, according to Roler, is to have a proposal selected by the end of the year.

“Once that happens, we’ll have to have a due diligence period, where the preferred developer is looking into the building and spending some real money on investigative work and design work before we sign a final development,” Roler said. “It’s an aggressive schedule. Ideally, next year we are really able to move forward, and by end of next year, the first part of 2023, construction could start.”

“I’m glad to see it was bought out and it’s coming back. It’s going to help this city quite a bit,” said Perry Shuford.

We bumped into Mr. Shuford outside 100 N. Main and learned he used to work in the building in the late 90s and early 2000s, working for the city of Memphis’s IT Department.

Shuford was playing a game of chess with Memphis businessman Farhat Othmani, who owns Qahwa Coffee Bar, which is just across the street from the building.

Shuford said even though the building has been vacant for going on 7 years, it still hasn’t lost it’s charm.

“I actually marvel over it,” he said. “I come in (Qahwa) and have a cup of coffee and just marvel over this building.”

Whereas Othmani, who opened Qahwa in 2012, remembers all the times revitalization was promised across from his coffee shop, and is more hesitant to take this development as concrete.

“We even heard the names of the hotels it was going to be,” Othmani said. “Once, it was going to be InterContinental. One time is was going to be this other type of hotel. One time this company in New York bought it. Honestly, I believe it, but I’m not going to build my hopes until, at least, I see a bulldozer doing something.”

As to what the building should be, Othmani says something commercial would be a win-win for both the city and his business.

“If you’re going to turn it into condominiums... I don’t see that as a good idea,” he said.

Regardless of what becomes of the building in the next year and a half or so, all agree it’ll be nice to see the lights turning back on at the tallest building in the city’s skyline.

“Downtown, it’s our brand to the world,” Roler said. “We genuinely believe that you can’t have a strong Memphis, a strong Shelby County, without a thriving, vibrant downtown.”

The project would involve everything within the near-2-acre block between 2nd St., Adams Ave., Main St., and Jefferson Ave.

Roler said a selection committee will meet in late September/early October to shortlist the candidates and later interview those they’ve selected.

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