New developer steps in to revive boutique hotel project

After sitting dormant for nearly a year, a mixed-use project going in at the former home of the Memphis College of Art's Nesin Graduate School is being jumpstarted by a new development entity.
Arrive Hotels & Restaurants, operating as South Main Hotel LLC, will convert the buildings at 477 S. Main Street and 484 Front Street into 62-room hotel with two full-service restaurants.This week, the Downtown Memphis Commission's Center City Revenue Finance Corp. approved thechange of ownership and timeline extension.

"With the prior owner running into some issues, we really were excited about this project and really wanted to come into Memphis, into Downtown, and especially into the South Main neighborhood," said Arrive co-founder Ezra Callahan. "That specific building is such a perfect fit for our brand model and our vision for what we do in general and specifically what we want to do here."
Arrive, which was originally involved with the project in a management and advisory capacity, recently worked out a deal to take over as lead developer on the project after the previous developer, Wessman Holdings LLC, ran into legal troubles in Southern California.
"We're now running full speed with it and are very excited to get the project moving again," said Callahan, adding that the developer is working on closing its bank debt.
Callahan hopes to possibly begin construction by this summer with Montgomery Martin as the general contractor.
"We think probably about nine to 10 months of actual construction work and one or two months of us moving in all of the furniture and getting the restaurants set up to open," said Callahan.
Los Angeles-based Arrive opened its first hotel a couple of years ago in Palm Springs, and it has active projects under development in Austin, Texas; Wilmington, N.C.; Phoenix; Houston; and Albuquerque, N.M.
"The core idea of Arrive Hotels is we build what we call neighborhood hotels. In our mind, hotels should be social landmarks. They should be a place where locals and travelers meet to mingle," said Callahan. "So we build hotels that are centered around public places."
He cites the role that village pubs played during the Medieval era as the social heart of a community in addition to advertising rooms for rent.
"We really think that's the model that hotels can and should play," Callahan said.
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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.