Saturday, January 27, 2007

For Sale: Sears Crosstown

The Memphis Business Journal and the Commercial Appeal both report that the Sears Crosstown building is for sale. The firm marketing the building, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, is emphasizing its redevelopment possibilities. Very heartening!

Here's HFF's overview on the Sears building. You can also read their executive summary on the property [for once I forgive use of a pdf].

Okay, you random Googlers! Tell your friends, tell yourself. Here's your chance to purchase the most undervalued building in Memphis, if not America! It's art-deco cathedral of commerce, surrounded on 3 sides by appreciating neighborhoods and on the 4th side by a commercial district long in the tooth, but architecturally sound. It has parking, it has land, it has lots of space, it has beauty. You can put your logo in beautiful glowing neon letters atop the tower for all of Memphis to see.

Here's an earlier post I wrote on it and a beautiful photo by amiev on flickr.

And I've brought the tower back as my background image.

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Blogger Pilgrim Tu said...

This is great news! It could make parking difficult when I visit Metro, but I can deal with that.

4:59 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

Pilgrim Tu, is Metro next to the Post Office? It looks like a cool business, the kind of place overlooked when we undervalue Crosstown.

thanks for reading!

6:32 PM  
Blogger NICK A. DAVIS said...

Here we go again...Sears Crosstown for sale -

Now - this is what I would like to see:

A. Some local person (Jack Belz, a group of young investors, etc.) buy Sears Crosstown and also all of the land and businesses around the site.

B. Tear down all the other stuff and keep Sears - gut it and develop the building into offices and condos (that average people can rent/buy)

C. Develop the land around Sears into a park, shops, a grocery store that is a SuperStore (Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, etc.)

D. Ban any developments that involve clubs (clubs cause problems and the area is already full of problems)

E. Plant trees, build schools, and bring back an area that needs a rebirth

F. Have a private security patrol on duty to keep crime away and to put an end to all of the problems in Crosstown

G. Then push north and redevelop Jackson, Watkins, Chelsea, and North Memphis

H. Push south and redevelop the other end of Midtown

I. Bring Memphis Back

Now - that is what needs to be done to Sears Crosstown!!

9:52 PM  
Blogger Pilgrim Tu said...

Yes, Gates, Metro is on Autumn beside the Post Office. It has been recently renovated, and is worth a visit. Something definitely needs to be done with Crosstown. I hope the new direction will be respectful of the legitimate businesses that have managed to succeed in that area.

Great blog, by the way. Kudos.

11:08 PM  
Blogger MATAlac said...

I'm half excited about this, but I'm a bit puzzled about the breaking-up of the building.

As for doing other stuff, Memphis has no laws allowing, you have to get a variance on each property to let a residence exist in an industrial/commercial zone.

As for development, I've been waining from the idea that either a big box developer or some other money will come along and use this building to its full potential. I also don't believe that low income housing so concentrated is such a good idea. I would be in favor of a consensus campaign about what the building can become a cultural focal point of area. As for funding that, I would look forward to a renewal of the Hope IV type programs back in the 90s. I think we've got atleast a couple of years to come to that possibility. But thats time to shape a clear concept at the intersection of what the community wants and what is feasable.

11:09 AM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

MATAlac, what breakup are you talking about? I may have missed that.

Do you see any reason why it must be fully developed in one swoop? Greenfield developments often have phases spread over many years. Like land, that building isn't going anywhere. Each development would make the next that much more valuable. A non-standard anchor tenant -- say, an architecture school! -- could seed and fertilize development.

My optimism is based on a national real estate firm's participation, and their marketing it as a redevelopment. So I'm cautiously optimistic.

12:34 PM  
Blogger MATAlac said...

Yeah, at second glance I was concerned about the PDF, it almost encourages the space to be broken up.

I almost brought up the idea of a school that offers massive studio space for its students.

I share your cautious optimism about the space, and the national promotion. I think that there should be a large scale charrette/ competition (like the one they had for Beale street landing a few years ago) And bring up the ideas of placing schools, housing and maybe a business incubator in the building to start things off. The basic idea is that if local people have a compelling vision of what this could become, then the development could be phased in harmony with that plan.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I predict, the Sears Crosstown will building will be bought by an anonymous buyer and turn it in to luxurious condos and possible business offices. Memphis needs some kind of upscale building anyways---Memphis is boring and has absolutely nothing to do!

6:32 PM  

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