THM Nabs Tallest Office Building in Memphis

A $400 million, multi-block project takes a big step forward with the long-delayed acquisition of an 800,000-square-foot asset in downtown Memphis.
100 N. Main St., Memphis, Tenn.
100 N. Main St., Memphis, Tenn.

An affiliate of New York’s Townhouse Management Co. has acquired Memphis’ tallest building, the 37-story, 800,000-square-foot office tower at 100 N. Main St. The new owner, THM Memphis Acquisitions LLC, was formed to take title to the building following its recent foreclosure sale, Arlene Maidman, executive co-chair of Townhouse Management Co., told Commercial Property Executive.

THM stated that it might convert the building, which has been vacant for four years, into a 600-key luxury hotel, along with 110 apartments, a 7,500-square-foot lobby, two restaurants, a spa, nearly 75,000 square feet of ballroom space and 20,000 square feet of retail space. But that’s just part of a much larger project, one currently estimated to be worth upwards of $400 million.

THM has also acquired, for a total of $12 million, seven parcels that are contiguous with 100 North Main: four buildings at 82-88 N. Main St., an empty lot and two parking lots. The company reportedly is also under contract for $4 million to buy a vacant 104,000-square-foot office building at 147 Jefferson Ave. and a vacant parcel immediately to its south.

All that downtown land, totaling more than two city blocks across from the Memphis city hall complex, is intended to be the site of two 30-story office towers totaling more than 500,000 square feet, along with a new 1,200-space parking garage. With the 100 N. Main St. site, the project encompasses more than three contiguous acres.

Why redevelop an office building for other uses while constructing two office buildings nearby? “Slab heights at 100 N. Main are not suitable for Class A office space,” Maidman told CPE. She added that the final decisions on which buildings will be used for which purpose have not yet been made, but that “Negotiations and planning begin this week.” One proposed name for the project, according to Maidman, is The Loews Convention Center Hotel and Downtown Memphis Gateway.

A recent agreement between THM and the city evidently involves tax increment financing to develop the hospitality part of the project, with Loews Hotels, as Memphis’ official convention center hotel.

Progress, finally?

Locals presumably appreciate this concrete step toward redevelopment of the landmark tower, because rumors about this project have been circulating since at least early 2014.

Just three months ago, The Memphis Commercial Appeal quoted the head of the city’s convention and visitors bureau as saying the hotel project was “miles away.” The paper also reported that THM was the only bidder at the foreclosure sale for 100 N. Main.

In 2014, the tower’s then owner had broadly similar plans to convert the building to hotel and apartments, but was unable to pull the project off.

No surprise, then, that Jennifer Oswalt, president of the Downtown Memphis Commission, called the possibility of 100 N. Main’s reuse “a catalytic event.

Image via Kenneth Zirkel, Wikimedia Commons