|image from Wikipedia|
The Sterick Building -"the Queen of Memphis"- is an abandoned 29-story office building in downtown Memphis. It opened in 1930 and at the time was the tallest building in the South. It's still one of the tallest around, being the 5th tallest in Memphis today. It's said to be the tallest empty building in the state, vacant since the 1980s. It is currently boarded up and accessible publicly only to urban explorers willing to trespass illegally. That lets me out.
Wikipedia says that it it:
featured a white stone spire topped with a green tile roof; its own bank, pharmacy, barber shop and beauty parlor; and stockbrokers' offices. The first three floors were made from granite and limestone. From the lobby, which was said to “rival[s] the beauty of a Moorish castle,” its eight high-speed elevators ferried the building's 2,000+ workers and guests to the upper floors, including the Regency Room restaurant on the top floorThe Memphis Flyer "Ask Vance" column notes "... a cluster of chandeliers cost more than $1,000 each." Wow!
It's in an odd legal position, as the building is not owned by the same people who own the land under it. The land is on a 99-year lease and is owned by the Grosvenor family. The building itself is owned by a group in Atlanta. The land lease expires in 2028 (or 2025 depending on which website you believe). I've read somewhere that ownership of the building will revert to the land owners at that time and that redevelopment before then would be highly unlikely because of that.
The original lease of land for the property, dating from the late 1920s, required the $1,500 monthly payment to be paid in gold coin “of standard weight and fineness or its equivalent.” An unsuccessful 1975 lawsuit by the land owners sought to recalculate the rent at the then-current price of gold, or roughly $13,500 per month.When The Daughter and I were downtown recently, she took this photo of the exterior from across the street on the southwest side:
I got some photos of the murals painted on the boards covering the ground floor windows:
This building is such a treasure and such an important part of the skyline that I hope redevelopment efforts will be successful once the ownership issues are resolved. If the Chisca Hotel property and Sears Crosstown can be successful, then surely there's hope for The Queen of Memphis.