Chisca Hotel set for $24M facelift - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Chisca Hotel set for $24M facelift

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A lot of history took place at the Chisca Hotel.

It's where a young Elvis Presley gave his first live radio interview  to famed WHBQ disc jockey Dewey Phillips.

Soon it will become the new trendy place to live downtown, a  residential market that is hot, and to some, pricey. It will soon be the newest apartment complex with space for shops and even a swimming pool.

MORE: Preserving the place where Elvis got his start

Add imagination and that floor plan comes to life as your new home in the old Chisca Hotel, on Main Street and a few blocks from Beale Street. Once it's transformed into 150 apartments with room for commercial space.

"We are planning on construction in the next 10 days of the redevelopment of the Chisca Hotel," said Terry Lynch of Main Street Apartment Partners. "We'll have 165 apartment units and we will have some ground floor commercial space. It's a big deal."

The $24 million renovation of the dilapidated old hotel is important to Downtown Memphis. The building links the downtown, sports and retail districts.

It's current state of affairs became an embarrassment for the city.

"This has been something of an eyesore and a detraction from downtown," Lynch said. "We're going to take lemons and make lemonade out of it. The community has really embraced it."

Will support translate into success? Developers say the property will appeal to young professionals that can't afford to buy a condo. Rent at the Chisca will range from $700 a month up to $1,500 depending on the type of apartment. Those prices are about average with many current downtown apartments.

"The demand to live in Downtown Memphis has never stronger in the history of the city," said Paul Morris, Center City Commission."

The Chisca will have competition. Plans are to build a new 197-unit apartment on vacant land near the Farmers Market. That project starts in July.

Morris believes the more apartment space downtown, the merrier.

"People are more and more wanting to live and work in a livable urban environment," he said. "That's true in Memphis as well. It explains why Downtown Memphis' residential population has been growing over the past decade."

The Chisca will have an advantage that any real estate agent loves to tell anyone looking for a new place to live. The property has location, location, location - which should help it reach a high occupancy rate that many of current competitors already enjoy.

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