Historic Chisca Hotel ready for $20 million renovation

The building from where Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" was first broadcast on air is one step closer to new life.
 
The 300,000-square-foot Chisca Hotel at 272 South Main Street in the South Main Arts District is set to become the Chisca Apartments, a 160-unit complex with retail on the first floor. The building and an adjacent parking garage were sold to Main Street Apartment Partners LLC by the Church of God in Christ for $900,000 in 2012. A $20 million permit for construction was recently pulled by the partnership made up of Terry Lynch, Gail Schledwitz and Gary Prosterman.
 
The architect of record is Looney Ricks Kiss.
 
The Chisca Hotel was built in 1913, a large and imposing citadel that was never as ornate as the nearby Peabody or Gayoso hotels. But what it did have was a radio broadcasting booth on the mezzanine level from which disc jockey Dewey Phillips ran his "Red, Hot and Blue" program. It was on that program that Memphis first got a hint of what was to come when Phillips sent Presley's first record over the airwaves and later conducted the singer's first on-air interview.
 
In 1971, the building was donated to COGIC by the Snowden family. It served as the church's headquarters until the 1990s, when it was vacated, and it has sat empty and decaying since. The site, with windows boarded and a chain-link fence around its perimeter, has recently been undergoing $3 million worth of cleanup and readying for redevelopment.
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