$19.8M Redevelopment Planned for Chisca Hotel

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor Developers working under the name Main Street Apartments would like to turn the blighted historical landmark formerly known as the Chisca Hotel into a $19.8 million mixed-use development featuring ground floor commercial space. The upper floors would be turned into 149 apartments with an average floor plan of 940 square [...]

Developers working under the name Main Street Apartments would like to turn the blighted historical landmark formerly known as the Chisca Hotel into a $19.8 million mixed-use development featuring ground floor commercial space. The upper floors would be turned into 149 apartments with an average floor plan of 940 square feet. However, this number may change, since demand in the downtown area is for workforce housing—especially one-bedroom apartments, reports the Memphis Business Journal.

The project envisioned by the developers, who also revamped One Commerce Square, has a price tag of $19.8 million. Since private investors have only $17 million in private capital, and because the redevelopment of the Chisca could jump-start the rehabilitation of the immediate area, Main Street Apartments is petitioning local authorities for grants and public funds to cover the necessary $2.8 million not yet secured.

The Memphis City Council’s budget committee recently recommended granting $2 million in capital improvement project money from the city’s 2012-13 budget, but the council has yet to approve. Developers are seeking other incentives as well, such as tax abatements and historic tax credits. If approved, the funds would be used to fight the effects of blight. Repair costs to the foundation could be anywhere between $2 and $2.5 million, while asbestos and lead paint abatements could ring in between half a million and a quarter of a million dollars.

The 99-year-old eyesore on one of the city’s busiest streets has sat empty and blighted for many years. Church of God in Christ has owned the Chisca since 1971, when the previous owners—the Snowden family—donated it to church.

Through the 1980s and into the ‘90s, the Church of God in Christ had its headquarters at the former hotel. Since then, there have been several redevelopment proposals for the property, including some that planned to tear it down. Such a proposal was put forward by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, which would have seen the structure replaced by the 120-key, 4-story hotel—G.E. Patterson Place. Plans fell through with the late 2000s financial crisis.

Photo by Sean Davis via Flickr.com