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Snuff District in Uptown — $200 million mixed-use development


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I've split this into its own topic as it seems to be gaining traction. Hopefully we see dirt moving soon.

See the first renderings of proposed Uptown Snuff District




The current master plan calls for 600 apartments, 75,000 square feet of office space, 50 single-family homes, and about 15,000 square feet of retail. A riverwalk along the Wolf River Harbor is also included.

“The core of Downtown is booming with development,” Orgel said in the June 6 interview. “South Main is booming with development. Everything from population to the amount of restaurants, amount of retail, to the new office tenants we have coming Downtown. The real estate prices are rising. We need to complete the full Downtown on the north side. … The Uptown area is ripe for development — and good development, mixed-use [that is] good for everybody.”

Benjamin and Billy Orgel and their development partners are seeking a separate Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for their planned American Snuff Co. redevelopment, a the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) official confirmed Thursday.

Andrew Murray, director of planning and community development for the CRA, said by email that the CRA intends to amend its Uptown Memphis TIF to exclude Orgel-owned land in Uptown so that the Memphis-based developers can apply for their own separate TIF district with the Downtown Memphis Commission. The news was first reported by The Daily Memphian.

According to a map provided to MBJ by the CRA, the new separate TIF district could stretch from Saffarans Avenue on the south and would abut the Grind City Brewing property on the north end of the TIF. In July 2018, MBJ reported the Orgels planned to redevelop part of the area into multifamily housing. Much of the proposed TIF and Orgel-owned land is waterfront property directly across the harbor from Harbor Town.










Edited by VSRJ
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Some new information and a site map:




The developers plan to convert the 260,000-square-foot complex into more than 600 apartments, 80,000 square feet of office space for Varsity Spirit, 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of retail, parking spaces for 850 vehicles, the single-family houses, and harbor-side park and walk.

The developers plan to preserve, repair and clean as much of the existing masonry exterior as possible, according to the DRB application.

New windows will be installed, but only after the design team studies old photographs so it can match the historic window configurations.


Overview of the development:


Edited by VSRJ
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  • 4 months later...

Orgel presses ahead with $32M Snuff District permit, but no office space yet

By Tom Bailey/Daily Memphian Updated: June 25, 2020 9:32 AM CT | Published: June 25, 2020 9:28 AM CT


"Developers of the planned, $200 million Snuff District in Uptown just applied for a building permit to spend an estimated $32.6 million for the first 107 apartments, community room and fitness center.

The adaptive reuse of the complex of six historic buildings at 46 Keel is planned as the first phase of a 55-acre, mixed-use development of apartments, office space, event space, single-family homes, and green space to make the Wolf River Harbor accessible to Uptown."

But this first building permit does not include about 80,000 square feet of office space for Varsity Spirit, the company that in fall 2019 announced plans to move its headquarters from the suburbs into the old converted snuff factory.

“At the moment will include office space but plans not complete so that part of the building being drawn still,” lead developer Billy Orgel responded to The Daily Memphian by text Thursday morning, June 25.

“This is a multi-phase project,” Orgel said. “The building is 260,000 square feet, so a large undertaking.”



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  • 2 months later...

Varsity Spirit signs lease for HQ 

From the Daily Memphian-  https://dailymemphian.com/section/neighborhoodsdowntown/article/16762/varsity-spirit-sign-lease-moving-headquarters-to


"Varsity Spirit has signed a lease to move its headquarters from the suburbs to the historic American Snuff Factory despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, company officials announced Wednesday, Sept. 9.

The company that owns and runs cheerleading and band camps and competitions across the U.S. will move 250 employees into 65,000 square feet of office space at 46 Keel in fall 2021."



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  • 5 months later...

Good to see this project building momentum:




The payment in lieu of taxes will save Snuff District developer Billy Orgel and his partners $19.2 million in local property taxes over 20 years. In return, they will build a six story, $62 million building at 47 Keel, with 292 apartments on the top four floors, and 420 parking spaces and 11,000 square feet of commercial space on the bottom two floors.

Despite the tax reductions, the development is still projected to generate $6.3 million more in local property taxes with the incentive than without it.

The CCRFC also approved making a long-term loan of $3.5 million to help the Snuff District developers build the parking garage. The loan represents 37 percent of the garage’s cost.



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