Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Good News, Bad Note about the Tennessee Brewery

Today's Memphis Daily News gave a post-mortem of the most recent attempt to redevelop the Tennessee Brewery, (cheerily titled "As Latest Development Plans Collapse, Some Say Brewery Ultimately Faces Demolition") :
What's more, the episode [of the most attempt at development] further underscores an important truth about the brewery, something that likely is regarded as a sad note among historic preservationists.

Various sources have suggested the property's owner might not hold out indefinitely for a redevelopment plan and that, barring any practical alternative for its reuse, some form of demolition could be in the cards for the brewery. That, for example, is the tentative opinion of Rasberry [James Raspberry, the real estate broker for the Brewery] and at least one land planner who's had some involvement with the latest brewery project.

"Everybody wants to see it stay," said Brenda Solomito, a local land planner who was helping the recent trio of developers.
However, I was left wondering: if density of the 1-acre development was the major stumbling block with the present building, how is demolishing it going to solve the density issue? And if the demolition doesn't magically repeal the zoning codes that mandate density and height limits, how does demolition ultimately benefit the owner? You don't get a rebate on your mortgage if you tear down your house. You just piss off your neighbors.

Now the good news, also in the article:
Meanwhile, it must say something about the irresistible attraction of the landmark structure that at the same time one development team called it quits, Rasberry was already in negotiations about a letter of intent from another development group.

He declined to offer specifics about the new team that's contacted him with a proposal, citing its request of confidentiality until a formal contract is executed.

"But I am sitting here typing a response to their letter of intent," he said on March 15.
June West, executive director of Memphis Heritage, also mentioned this hopeful new development at tonight's annual meeting of the preservation organization.

Let me say that I fervently hope that all who own, invest in, live in, work for, look at, write about, dream of and preserve the inarguably wonderful Tennessee Brewery meet with the greatest prosperity and a life far in excess of actuarial probability. I do not wish any failure here except a malfunctioning wrecking ball.

All our successes are possible.

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