Remembering the Marketplace of the Midsouth

Sears Crosstown - SOLD?

commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN

To print this page, select File then Print from your browser URL: http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/editorials/article/0,2845,MCA_25348_5631727,00.html An eyesore no more?

July 17, 2007

In at least two respects, the Sears Crosstown building is an important symbol for Memphis.

The massive Art Deco building in Midtown symbolizes the best of the city's past. It also symbolizes promise for the city's future.

The present, well, that's not so great.

The Crosstown building, which opened in 1927, once housed the regional office of Sears Roebuck and Co., the company's catalog merchandise distribution center and its Credit Central operation. In its heyday, people from throughout the Mid-South shopped there.

However, the building's been vacant since 1993. And despite interest expressed by numerous investors and developers in the years since, no solid renovation plans have ever materialized.

There's fresh hope that could change soon. Real estate investor Andy Cates confirmed last week that he has a contract to buy the 1.4 million-square-foot building.

Cates wouldn't elaborate on his plans, but his interest in the property is cause for some optimism.

Cates isn't just some out-of-towner in search of a quick buck. He and his family have a track record of involvement with successful projects in this community, including the revitalization of the Soulsville neighborhood in South Memphis.

A renovated Crosstown building could play a key role in pumping more life into the neighborhood around it, which includes the Evergreen Historic District.

Anyone who's driven by the building in the last decade can see a lot of work needs to be done. But if anyone can handle it, Cates seems like a likely candidate.

Copyright 2007, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.


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