MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - 100 North Main dominates the Memphis skyline. It has since 1965 when it was built. But it is empty, like my bank account. Maybe that will soon change.
It is not a remarkable building. A box with a gyroscope looking thing on top. Sort of looks like the Spacely Sprockets building if you remember the Jetson's cartoon.
Vacant for the last four years, it is a big ugly scab on downtown development.
"Having that big building there," says Jennifer Oswalt of the Downtown Memphis Commission, "... along with some of the other empty buildings in the area really does create a gap that we're trying to fill, so it’s critical."
With renovation work going on at the Cook Convention Center, the only big convention center hotel available is the 600-room Sheraton.
But developers say they are planning for a 500, maybe 600-room hotel to go into 100 North Main.
"We want that (building) back in useful condition," says Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, "... with activity going on that's great for the owners, great for the city. Get rid of that blight."
This isn't just a luxury, not just bragging rights. Studies done, according to Mayor Strickland, show another big hotel is needed around the Convention Center. A lot of money visits Memphis, and the Mayor wants it to stay here. And it would be a Loews Hotel.
"Loews is one of the best brands in hotels in the world," according to Strickland. "When they build, they put their own money in the game. And they manage it and own it for long periods of time."
Don't call for reservations. Developers might have their own reservations about the project.
Mayor Strickland says this is not a done deal, not yet.
Developers also plan on two office towers, apartments, and retail space in a one block area that stretches from the corner of Main and Adams to Main and Jefferson. They will study the plan for the next six months or so to see if it will work.