Mixed-use project near Snowden School would preserve old building's brick facade

By Updated: April 24, 2019 11:38 PM CT | Published: April 24, 2019 11:28 AM CT

A developer proposes to build a two-story apartment building with some retail near Midtown's Snowden School.

Eduardo Sanchez Borja plans to preserve and expand around the 99-year-old commercial building at 569 N. McLean. 

The dilapidated building has been gutted for years. Sanchez Borja's letter of intent to the Board of Adjustment states his plan is to demolish the building erected in 1920.

However, he told The Daily Memphian on Wednesday evening that neighbors have expressed concern about losing the century-old building, and that he plans to preserve up to 80 percent of the brick facade.

Sanchez Borja bought the structure in the Vollintine-Evergreen neighborhood 16 months ago, and has submitted his plan for zoning variances to the Board of Adjustment.

The building is on 0.2 acres near the northwest corner of McLean and North Parkway, and faces the side of Snowden School.

The new construction would be “reminiscent of the original architecture,” states the letter of intent.

The proposed mixed-use development would have a 293-square-foot space for retail on the ground floor, but most of the structure comprises apartments.

<strong>A developer proposes to preserve and expand most of a 99-year-old commercial building at 569 N. McLean for 12 apartments and a small retail space.&nbsp;</strong>(Rendering courtesy of PKM Architects)

A developer proposes to preserve and expand most of a 99-year-old commercial building at 569 N. McLean for 12 apartments and a small retail space. (Rendering courtesy of PKM Architects)

The plan includes five two-bedroom units and seven one-bedroom units.

“The proposed change from strictly commercial to mostly multi-family and commercial complies with Memphis 3.0 by eliminating the existing blighted building and introducing a new housing type into the area,” the letter states, referring to the city's new long-range growth plan.

“The new residences will also help support the neighborhood commercial nearby,’’ the letter states, apparently referring to businesses like Café Eclectic, Dino’s Italian restaurant and University Cleaners.

The development plans to use both on-site and on-street parking to meet parking requirements, the letter of intent states.

The application states 19 parking spaces are required. There would be nine spaces within the property but the development proposes using 10 spaces on the street.

The off-site parking will not be in front along McLean, but on the side of the building in the alley, Sanchez Borja told The Daily Memphian.

<strong>Eduardo Sanchez Borja</strong>

Eduardo Sanchez Borja

The developer seeks variances to permit the redevelopment even though the lot is less than 10,000 square feet, permit the continuance of a zero front-yard setback (20 feet is required), and permit a 5-foot side-yard setback adjacent to a single-family home (10 feet is required).

Sanchez Borja is a local entrepreneur who has two staffing companies, Inspire Hotel Staffing and Supreme Staffing.

“Developing is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but this is going to be my first official project,” the longtime Memphian told The Memphis Daily News soon after he bought the McLean building early last year.

“I’m looking for old buildings in old neighborhoods like this,” he said at the time. “I just don’t want to develop, I want to develop with style. I want to bring something to the neighborhood and create new things.”

The Board of Adjustment will consider the case at 2 p.m. May 22 at City Hall.


Commercial Real Estate Apartments
Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey covers business news for The Daily Memphian. A Tupelo, Mississippi, native, he graduated from Mississippi State University. He's worked in journalism for 40 years and has lived in Midtown for 36 years.

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