Empty Downtown building to be repurposed as boutique hotel

Mississippi-based JVD Enterprises and Vibrant Hotels Inc. are reviving two hotel projects that have been stalled for several years. 

Vince Vaghela, president of Vibrant Hotels, is thrilled with the upturn in the local economy over the past several years. His development company now has two hotel projects in various stages of development, with one to be completed next spring and another on the way by early 2019.

The newest project for Vibrant, which operates under the JVD umbrella, is a full-service Aloft boutique hotel that will go into the 12-story Tenoke Building at 161 Jefferson Avenue at the corner of B.B. King Boulevard.

“We’ve been trying to get this moving for quite a while now,” said Vaghela. “I got involved with the building back in 2009. We were trying to bring the hotel projects when the economy shut down. We tried a couple of different flags and it was just hard to lift the project up. We were able to hold onto it, and we’re really happy that it’s finally working out and we have everything lined up.”

The 156-room Aloft, which is a Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide brand, will feature penthouse suites, a restaurant and bar called WXYZ, banquet space a private viewing theater, state-of-the-art exercise facilities and a rooftop restaurant and bar.

“Aloft is a great brand with a very contemporary style. It attracts millennials and a younger crowd, and we think is a good fit for the downtown market,” said Vaghela.

Related: "Long-stalled hotel projects finally getting off the ground"

The adjacent one-story building at 191 Jefferson Avenue will be torn down, and a new one-story building will be built in its place to be merged with the Tenoke Building to create a new address at 63 B.B. King Boulevard.

“We will also have some retail space in the new single-story building,” said Vaghela. “The Tenoke Building is in very good shape. The inside is nice and clean.”

Byhalia-Miss.-based JiJi Construction LLC will be the general contractor, and Buffalo-based MWT Architects created the floor plans.

Vibrant filed an $8 million building permit application late September, and Vaghela hopes to have approval in the November. He expects to be able to start construction by the end of November or early December.

JVD is also working on a full-service 129-room Holiday Inn in Southeast Memphis just off of Winchester Road. That hotel features more than 4,500 square feet of meeting facilities and banquet space, a full-service restaurant and bar. Vaghela hopes to have it open for business by spring of 2018.

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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