Herald Strategies Client, Yariv Bensira - a real estate investor and developer - featured in the Memphis Daily News, re: Memphis Blair Tower purchase and renovation plans.
Blair Tower Getting Complete Renovation
By Madeline Faber
Development momentum in the Memphis Medical Center has attracted an out-of-town investor looking to jump on the area’s revival.
Artist’s rendering of a living room in the Blair Tower apartments in the medical district after its new owner completes a $4 million renovation.
Blair Tower LLC, an affiliate of New York-based Hyde Capital, recently purchased the Blair Tower apartments for $9.7 million.
The Class B complex at 810 Washington Ave. is right across North Dunlap Street from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and near the area’s other health care powerhouses like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Methodist University Hospital and Regional One Health.
Yariv Ben-Sira, principal with Hyde Capital, is soon to start on a $4 million complete interior and exterior renovation of the building. Rents will rise about $50 to $60 per month for the building’s 208 units.
“This area is very up-and-coming,” he said.
Despite a workforce of 16,000 and a student base of 8,000 across the area’s nine anchor medical institutions, residential offerings in the district are few and far between. High-dollar, quality amenity Class A product is virtually nonexistent. Currently only 3 percent of employees and 6 percent of students live in the district.
With his upcoming renovation, Ben-Sira said he’s looking to compete with The Bristol on Union, a Class A complex located a little over a mile away at 205 Pasadena Place.
The Bristol, which was built in 2004, is the newest product in both Midtown and the Memphis Medical Center. The property’s 170 units are around 92 percent occupied.
“It has all the amenities and everything, but I’m sure the price-per-unit cost to build that property is different than what we paid,” Ben-Sira said. “We believe that with the pricing we got, we can give a very good product to an intern or med student that has to be close to the hospital.”
Blair Tower, which was built in 1964 and renovated in 1988, is about to see a complete overhaul. Ben-Sira plans to enhance the existing rooftop swimming pool, fitness center and entertainment lounge and add a lobby with self-serve coffee and a package concierge.
“It’s going to be like a Class A, five-star hotel,” he said.
Most of the units in the 11-story property are one-bedroom with rents between $600 and $650. Studios and two-bedrooms are also available with all floor plans averaging 660 square feet.
Ben-Sira said the building has consistently been 95 percent occupied, but that’s going to have to change with renovations.
Whether renovations are done naturally when people vacate apartments, a floor at a time or in chunks based on unit design, is yet to be decided.
Ten to 15 percent of the units will be set aside for short term, month-to-month rentals. Ben-Sira said this is meant to accommodate the area’s doctors and patients drawn to the area temporarily for research or treatment.
The building’s management group, Lennox Companies, will either forge partnerships with the area’s health care providers or advertise the units as part of an “Airbnb” package.
Ben-Sira said short-term rents would be more expensive to the resident than leasing, but more cost-effective than staying in a hotel.
Hyde Capital’s efforts with Blair Tower are in step with what the Memphis Medical District Collaborative is trying to accomplish in the area. Incorporated this year, the group includes leaders of the area’s institutions and neighboring communities who want to encourage retail and residential development as well as improve safety and livability. While Hyde Capital is not affiliated with the group, the developer is ahead of the curve in an area poised for significant change.
On the drawing board for the MDC are apartments between Madison and Jefferson avenues with a request for proposals going out over the summer.