A Denver-based developer has traveled to Memphis to breathe new life into a 97-unit apartment building in Midtown.
The developer, Chris Robbins, looks nationwide for old buildings he can restore, which has taken him to Colorado, Florida and Ohio. Now, his search has brought him to the corner of Melrose Street and Lamar Avenue. A six-story apartment complex on the property, originally developed in 1959 by Kemmons Wilson, won Robbins over.
"This building has good bones [and should] last a long time," Robbins said. "[After the renovation], it will be the prettiest in Central Gardens without any exception."
The Melrose Midtown, looking from Lamar Avenue
When Robbins purchased the 100,000-square-foot building last year for $2.3 million, it had a Lamar Avenue address. To better position the building as part of the Central Gardens neighborhood, Robbins changed the building’s official address to 775 Melrose Street and renamed it The Melrose Midtown. He also bought the adjacent Reed’s Tires & Rims and Luxury Automotive Performance buildings — which he considered blighted — and demolished them.
"Central Gardens and Cooper Young are very strong and will continue to expand. We think 10 years from now, people will regret not doing projects [on Midtown’s outskirts]," Robbins said.
Initially, Robbins plans to charge about $1.15 per square foot for the renovated apartments — most of which are two-bedroom units that he can rent for about $1,250 per month. Eventually, though, Robbins said he expects to be able to charge $1.40 per square foot.
The Melrose Midtown lobby
To produce a unique vibe, Robbins is using artwork and lighting fixtures consistent with the late 1950s and early 1960s. The kitchens, though, will be quite modern, with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.
Robbins plans for the project, which includes the restoration of the property’s long-unused pool, to be completed in September. Berry Jones is the project’s architect.
A Denver-based developer has traveled to Memphis to breathe new life into a 97-unit apartment building.