Two blighted Downtown properties to get lively makeovers

A local developer and an out-of-town investor are launching two separate multimillion projects Downtown.
Tom Intrator of 18 S Main Mem, LLC plans a newly renovated mixed-use retail and office building in the South Main Arts District and Nick Patel of TCH Memphis, LLC plans ground-up construction of a new boutique hotel at the east end of Beale Street.

Recently, both developers received PILOT [Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Tax] approvals from the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Center City Revenue Finance Corporation.

New York-based Intrator, who is financing the $4.7 million project, plans to tear down part of the building at 18 South Main at the east side of the Main Street Mall to make way for a renovated 23,500-square-foot structure with 6,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space on the ground floor, shared creative office space on the upper floors and a potential yoga studio and speakeasy in the basement. 

A rendering for 18 S. Main shows a well-lit modern design with lots of windows.

“I would expect that in the coming months we’ll be able to start demo, and the project I would hope would be fully completed within a couple of years,” said Intrator.

Local architecture firm designshop created the floor plans for the new project. Given that the building was last renovated in the 1970s, the initial phase of the construction will involve rehabilitation of the façade and structure.

Intrator began investing in the Memphis market six years ago. Through affiliated entities, he now owns seven multifamily properties with 1,630 total units in Memphis, mostly in East Memphis in Midtown, as well as other holdings outside of Memphis. He also controls an affiliated property management company that manages his Memphis holdings. Outside of Memphis, he owns approximately 2,000 additional multifamily units.

“This new project is the first mixed-use Downtown that we’re doing. After spending more and more time Downtown over the past several years, I started looking at doing some redevelopment,” said Intrator. “We have several more properties which we are working on Downtown, and we’ll announce more about them after [the deals] close.”

The Inn at Beale Street, at 380 Beale Street, is planned to be a five-story boutique hotel with 120 rooms. This $16 million project will also feature 2,000 to 4,000 square feet of retail space as well as an indoor pool, fitness center, business center, community outdoor fire pit and rooftop patio.

“I’ve always thought there was a need to liven up that area of Beale Street,” said Patel, who owns and operates six hotels near the Knoxville area. “That’s what brought me here, and I’m glad and excited to see it developing out nicely.”

The dilapidated property, which is expected to bring some commercial vibrancy to the east end of Beale Street, has sat dormant for roughly five years and had been the Crave Night Club before then.

“That’s a horrible property that should’ve been razed years ago,” according to CCRFC board member Jim Crone. “There’s never been anything good that’s come out of that location. The only way it has a chance is with what [Patel] is doing. It will be a great anchor down there. It will draw more to the east end and will help the east end clubs.”

Patel purchased the site for approximately $1.5 million. North Carolina-based Overcash-Demmit Architecture designed the floor plans, and a local general contractor will be chosen at a later date.

The upscale branded hotel will target corporate travelers, groups, tourist and weekend visitors of Beale Street, and those attending FedEx Forum and AutoZone Park.

Patel hopes to begin construction in less than a year, with an anticipated opening roughly 12 to 16 months after; he plans on hiring a staff of 40 people for the hotel’s opening.

Patel's company TCH is growing its Memphis footprint, recently buying 195 Union Avenue from Greyhound and redeveloping the property into a Hilton Garden Inn with Vision Hotel Group. Additionally, the LLC purchased 235 Union Avenue, where Patel is exploring options for that site as a parking garage.

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.