University of Memphis student portfolio piece

Endangered Property of 2011:

In 2011, Memphis Heritage invited the public to submit nominations for the most endangered historic properties in Memphis. The list was compiled and published in the May 2011 Keystone magazine, as part of recognition for National Preservation Month. This list was as follows:

  1. The Nineteenth Century Club
  2. The Chisca Hotel
  3. Sears Crosstown
  4. Tennessee Brewery
  5. Marine Hospital
  6. The Goyer Lee House
  7. Clayborn Temple
  8. Cobblestone Landing
  9. Justine’s
  10. Sterick Building
  11. Ashlar Hall
  12. Mid-South Coliseum

Efforts to Save Endangered Properties:

Getting endangered properties off the list and onto a new life has been a vast cooperation between investors, Memphis Heritage, Downtown Memphis Commission, Neighborhood Preservation Inc., Tennessee Historic Register and National Historic Register. “Concern of the citizens has been our number one asset in saving our historic buildings,” said June West, executive director of Memphis Heritage.

Endangered Property List as of 2016 – 5 years later

Restored/Current Plans for Renovation Still Endangered
1.     The Nineteenth Century Club

2.     The Chisca Hotel

3.     Sears Crosstown

4.     Tennessee Brewery

5.     The Goyer Lee House

6.     Clayborn Temple

7.     Cobblestone Landing

8.     Justine’s

1.     Marine Hospital

2.     Sterick Building

3.     Ashlar Hall

4.     Mid-South Coliseum

 Restored Property Chart:

Property Year Built Abandonment Renovation Cost of Renovation
Nineteenth Century Club 1908 2011 2016: Izakay Restaurant $3.7 mm
The Chisca Hotel 1913 1980s 2015: apartments/ mixed-use $20 mm +
Sears Crosstown 1927 1993 2017: residential and commercial mixed use $15 mm +
Tennessee Brewery 1890 1954 2017: residential and commercial mixed use $27.5 mm
The Goyer Lee House/James Lee House 1848 1959 2013: luxury bed & breakfast $2.1 mm
Clayborn Temple 1892 1999 2015: Stabilized, final use currently open to discussion TBD
Cobblestone Landing 1850s N/A 2016 $ 6 mm permit
Justine’s Est. 1843 1996 Purchased 2016 TBD

 Outlook for Properties Still on the Endangered List:

 Marine Hospital

This building is far from being a lost cause. It was purchased by a private party in 2004 and is currently be assessed for residential use as apartments or a boutique hotel. The project still needs an investor. Original use was to care for soldiers, built in 1884.

Sterick Building

Built in the 1930s and abandoned since the 1980s, this building has been a project for Downtown Memphis Commission to make a deal between the owner and an investor. Nothing has come through yet.

Ashlar Hall

An attempt to renovate this building was made in 2013 by the latest owner, Kenny Medlin, for veteran care purposes. Medlin’s first attempt was thwarted when the contractor he hired allegedly stole pieces of the property along with equipment purchased for the first revitalization project of turning it into a restaurant.

Mid-South Coliseum

Perhaps one of the most looming abandoned structures in Memphis, the coliseum is owned by the city. Potential use or demolition is still being debated.

Call to Action:

Support and involvement with any state and local organizations working to preserve historic properties is vital to saving Memphis buildings. “That eight of the twelve listed buildings are revitalized or undergoing plans for revitalization, in five years, demonstrates awareness and activism works,” said June West, executive director of Memphis Heritage, “We hope to be an advocate within the city where anyone wanting to help can find their place. Those wishing to take part in the continued efforts to keep Memphis properties stable, useful and beautiful can donate to Memphis Heritage, subscribe to memberships, attend fundraisers, and follow them on Facebook for updates on any restoration activities.