History for Sale

Three historic properties in the Midtown and Downtown areas are on the market, all listed with major Memphis commercial real estate firms.

The Hunt-Phelan house at 533 Beale St. has played host to numerous historical guests. Today it’s listed at $2.9 million with Henry Stratton and Andy Cates of Colliers International Memphis. 

(Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Rhea Photography)

The most recent listing is the Hunt-Phelan house at 533 Beale St., priced at $2.9 million with Henry Stratton and Andy Cates of Colliers International Memphis. The mansion has hosted guests including Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson.

The 6.5-acre property with distant views of FedExForum and AutoZone Park includes the 10,000-square-foot Hunt-Phelan home, which houses a bar and restaurant on the ground floor and a five-room bed-and-breakfast inn on the second floor, an operation Stratton calls, “plug-n-play ready.” There’s also a separate building of six condominiums that are part of the bed and breakfast.

The site has been in the family of the current owner, Bill Day, since it was built in 1828. Day inherited the home in 1992 in disrepair and over the last two decades has made major renovations, including the addition of the Hunt-Phelan restaurant, which operated for nearly six years. The home was also open for tours during the mid-1990s.

“My thought is the property has been prepared for a great location for a hotel site, special events venue,” Day said, adding that he’s ready to move on to other ventures. “Very similar to what we were doing, but on a larger scale.”

The site has been approved for an 84-unit hotel or 123 condominiums. Stratton said true marketing efforts will begin this week, targeting hotel investors and developers.

“We have not gone out with a brochure yet,” Stratton said. “We have had calls on it, but that’s been with no marketing efforts yet.”

The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, making it eligible for “all kinds of tax incentives,” Day said. And it’s located in the Triangle Noir district, which the city is trying to push for redevelopment.

Meanwhile, 1684 Poplar Ave. is listed for an asking price of $500,000 with Wilson McCloy of Crye-Leike Commercial. The 4,170-square-foot building on the edge of Evergreen Historic District was built in 1910 and has been a residence to two famous artists over the years.

The 4,170-square-foot house at 1684 Poplar Ave. was built in 1910.

(Photo Courtesy of Crye-Leike Realtors)

One of those is the late Paul Penczner, who is revered by the local artist community and has work hanging in the Vatican. He and his wife, Jolanda, co-owned the property for more than a decade, including during the time North Belvedere Boulevard was being put in.

Thanks to Penzcner’s protests, the city wound up curving the street around the building, saving it from being demolished.

“He just said, ‘It shouldn’t be razed; it’s a landmark,’” Jolanda Penczner said. “They said if you can send us a plan where we can still run Belvedere through it, then you don’t have to raze it. And he succeeded.”

Walter Broadfoot, the current owner, has also leased some of his space out in the past to Danny Broadway, a notable Memphis painter. Broadfoot even accepted a few rent payments in lieu of Broadway’s paintings, many of which are still hung in the two-story space.

Broadfoot bought the building 13 years ago and has since gutted the entire space with new wiring and plumbing. He said it’s about 80 percent occupied by two law firms, an apartment management company and a hair stylist.

“I’m 76 years old and it’s time to dispose of it,” said Broadfoot, who helped develop the Madison Hotel in Downtown Memphis in 2002 before selling out a year later. “It would just be a good investment for someone. It’s new now. The exterior still remains the same.”

The Nineteenth Century Club, at 1433 Union Ave., is listed for $1.5 million.

(Photo Courtesy of Crye-Leike Realtors)

Just a few miles southwest, Crye-Leike’s Dick Leike and Robert Gorman have the Nineteenth Century Club building at 1433 Union Ave. listed for $1.5 million.

“There’s an opportunity there,” Leike said. “The land value itself is probably worth what we have it listed; just to have 1.2 acres there on Union Avenue.”

Built in 1890, the house was purchased in 1926 by The Nineteenth Century Club, a philanthropic women’s organization. Leike said the two main floors add up to about 10,000 square feet, in addition to the basement’s 6,000 feet.

“You could find somebody that could use it for some kind of specialty office, like a lawyer’s office or doctor’s office near the Medical Center,” Leike said. “Somebody could make it into a fine restaurant or a place for venues; they used to have plenty of weddings and stuff like that there.”

Leike said while there is some work that needs to be done on the property, the building is structurally sound.

“The architecture in the home is fabulous, with limestone columns and limestone cornice,” Leike said. “The first floor of the house has just really magnificent rooms and is untouched basically. I’m trying to find out if I can find somebody that sees that advantage to preserving it.”

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