Minority-led group proposes $50M hotel and high-end condo project in Pinch District

A minority-led group has plans for a roughly $50 million mixed-use development in the Pinch District. Members of Blues Note LLC told MBJ that the group intends to develop the Blues Note Hotel — a 100-room property — at 463 N. Front St., as well as a 40-unit high-rise condominium.

The North Front Street property is situated within walking distance of the Pyramid. MBJ reported on May 11, that Ashaif Enterprises purchased the property at 463 N. Front St. for $715,000, according to a transaction filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

The Blues Note Hotel, aimed at being an independently owned and operated entertainment and destination property, proposes an array of amenities, including:

  • 100 guest rooms
  • 40 condos with floor-to-ceiling glass and patios
  • Retail and office space
  • Steakhouse restaurant
  • Coffee shop
  • Lobby bar and live music stage
  • Conference and meeting space, with a ballroom
  • Custom soundproof music studio
  • Spa and salon
  • Workout facility
  • Rooftop guitar shape hotel pool with stage and lounge
  • Private condo pool with lounge
  • Custom trolley station
  • Parking garage with valet

Bill McCrary, principal developer and project manager for Blues Note, didn’t give a timeline on when he expected construction to begin or when it would be completed.

While due diligence has been done, Blues Note is still in discussion with city planning department officials on details such as as building layout, McCrary said.

He indicated that, once completed, the Blues Note Hotel would have about 100 employees.

“We are going to have [an] above-average pay rate or way above the pay rate of what hotels are normally paying employees,” he said.

McCrary said the Memphis project would be the first of what they envision as a similar concept coming to other cities.

“What better place to kick off a hotel, condos, and mixed-use [brand] called Blues Note [than] in Memphis? And the beginning of a national franchise; we are in talks with cities like New Orleans, Miami, and Detroit for a Blues Note,” he said.

With the condos, Reginald Fentress, Blues Note’s development coordinator, said the City of Memphis will also benefit.

“They are going to generate revenue to the city tax base every year, which is a win to the city,” Fentress said.

According to McCrary, the $50 million price tag on the project could increase, based on a high level of infrastructure for the building. The group is working with local, state, and federal officials to build above the existing Trolley track,” McCrary said.

Wolf River Greenway continues expansion, conservancy sees uptick in trail usage

Providing more ways to move around Downtown… When completed, the 26-mile, multi-purpose trail will wind its way through 22 neighborhoods from Downtown out to Germantown. Twelve miles have already been completed and are open to the public and another three are under construction.

Pre-World War II Housing Types are the Perfect Solution for Today’s Downtown/Medical District

Memphis, Tenn., February 1, 2021. Malone Park Commons (MPC) makes historic housing types new again. The rental community, when fully built, will include 35 units with a diverse mix of building types that were common prior to World War II. Sometimes referred to as “Missing Middle” housing, Downtown stakeholders see the new Greenlaw Addition development as just right!

Now accepting applications for occupancy, Phase 1 of MPC, consists of 11 small cottages surrounding a shared courtyard — or commons — the cottages range from 330 to 1100 square feet and have amenities such as red oak hardwood floors, lots of natural light, and large front porches. The units willl be move-in ready on March 1, 2021. 

MPC is the vision of Curtis and Andre D. Jones, brothers and partners in Jones Urban Development, who purchased the land from the Community Redevelopment Agency, which has overseen the revitalization of Uptown. The brothers have focused on smaller but better construction in disinvested walkable neighborhoods that were developed prior to the mainstream adoption of automobiles. Historically, traditional neighborhoods have a mix of uses, residential and commercial, allowing residents a higher quality of life by offering a walkable live-work-play triangle. Developer Andre Jones believes buildings of this type are critical for sustainable development. 

“Many architects and builders today focus on materials and methods to promote sustainability. We believe beauty is just as, if not more important, for sustainability,” stated Jones. “Simple, beautiful, flexible buildings that encourage human activity and interaction will be loved and repurposed for years to come. This was our vision for Malone Park Commons.”

Josh Whitehead, Zoning Administrator for Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development, agrees. 

“2021 marks the 99th anniversary of zoning in Memphis, and for most of that time, the zoning code promoted low-density suburban development while discouraging the kind of places that make cities special. That changed with the adoption of the Unified Development Code (UDC) in 2010,” said Whitehead when asked about the project. “Malone Park Commons is one of the clearest manifestations of one of the UDC’s primary goals: to promote innovative urban infill that blends in with the existing built environment.

Today’s typical development pattern is to build a large number of single-family detached homes or large apartment complexes. Since MPC is a less dense, more neighborhood-scaled development, with building types more recently branded as “Missing Middle,” support from community partners was vital, including financial incentives made possible by the Downtown Memphis Commission

“Malone Park Commons is the type of project the DMC loves to support, one built with inclusivity and equity at the core,” said Brett Roler, VP Planning and Development, Downtown Memphis Commission. “This project is being built in a key Downtown neighborhood by an emerging developer who is building new housing capacity in the same neighborhood where he lives. Not everyone wants a big house or a small apartment, Malone Park’s ‘Missing Middle’ housing adds variety to our market and can make Downtown more attractive to more people.”

The Jones Urban plan is part of a larger revitalization in the area, with recent and planned investments in Uptown, St. Jude, The Pinch, and the Renasant Convention Center further transforming the area with increased connectivity to the Downtown core and the Mississippi River. Because the project’s scale is not as dense as a large apartment complex or commercial development, finding a local lender who understood the neighborhood’s upside and the benefits of filling in its ‘missing teeth’ was vital for this project. Financial Federal Bank stepped into this role and has been a strong advocate for emerging developers and traditional, walkable, neighborhood development. 

Support for Jones Urban and Malone Park Commons:

“Malone Park, with its architectural approach and mix of unit types, is exactly the type of development – one driven by inclusivity and a sensitivity to the neighborhood scale – that is weaving the fabric of its neighborhood back together into a complete community,” 

  —  Ben Schulman, Director of Real Estate, MMDC.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Andre and Curtis on the Malone Park Commons project, and the completion of Phase 1 is an acknowledgment of their hard work and dedication to the Greenlaw Addition and walkable neighborhoods in general.”

  —  Eric Beaty – VP Commercial Lending, Financial Federal Bank


Jones Urban Development is a development/general contracting firm that focuses on small-scale residential and mixed use development in walkable neighborhoods.

Malone Park Commons (MPC) is a 35 unit apartment community in the historic Greenlaw Addition neighborhood just north of Downtown Memphis. MPC has a mix of detached cottages, fourplexes, and live/work units for rent. For more information, please visit www.maloneparkcommons.com or call Harris Realty at (901) 372-8003.