Oh, what to do, what to do, what to do with two landmark Memphis buildings that, right now at least, are empty, and in need of millions of dollars in renovations. Local 24’s Mike Matthews has the story.
This is something uniquely Memphis. You have an abandoned sports arena, that’s on the National Historic Register. You also have the tallest building in downtown. Both are abandoned, and the city’s not sure what to do.”
Let’s start with the Mid-South Coliseum. Empty for more than 10 years. There had been a spark of hope that a local brewery would be able to move in, and fix the place up. Just last week they said forget about it.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says he doesn’t want the city to put one dime into renovating this place. “I’m open to whatever financially makes sense,” he says. “The reason I was so excited about the brewery was they were going to rehabilitate at their expense.”
One local group says all the renovation work needed would cost $24-million. All they need to do is get the money.
Now let’s look at 100 North Main, “…a very frustrating problem,” according to Mayor Strickland. This is one of the best locations in Memphis, and nobody likes that a busy corner, is dominated by the tallest building in the city, and it’s vacant, falling apart to boot.
Mayor Strickland met with lawyers, the owner, and two mortgage companies this week to discuss their 37 story migraine headache. “We’ve got them in court,” he says, “… where we are trying to force the owners to take personal responsibility for that building. They’re saying they’re struggling because they don’t have the money to fix it up.”
According to Mayor Strickland it will cost millions to renovate, and millions to demolish. He says “We’re hoping the mortgage company will foreclose on it, and then sell it to a responsible party, and I think there are some hopeful signs in that regard.”
Meanwhile, while there is no mortgage on the coliseum, it sits alone across town, on the island of misfit sports arenas. Mayor Strickland says sure, if somebody wants to go in there, fix it up, and spend their own money to do it, knock yourself out.