State Senator asks state to assist local efforts to save Nineteenth Century Club

State Sen. Jim Kyle has asked state historians to help with local efforts to save the historic Nineteenth Century Club property on Union Avenue.
Kyle, the Democratic leader of the Senate from Memphis, said he met with representatives from the Tennessee Historical Commission after he received calls from constituents concerned with the fate of the property.
“I trust the judgment of the people who devote their lives to studying the history of Memphis and Tennessee,” Kyle said in a statement issued Tuesday, Aug. 6. “What they are saying is that this is one of the most historically significant residential buildings in the state, and I want to be sure the Tennessee Historical Commission stays abreast of developments in Memphis.”
The historical commission has no power to stop the property’s owner, Union Group LLC, from razing the Nineteenth Century Club building and replacing it with a commercial development, but it awards federal preservation grants and an investment tax credit program that focuses on building rehabilitation.
Last Thursday, two current and two former members of the Nineteenth Century Club won a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Union group from doing any work on the property.
The current and former members of the club had filed a Shelby County Chancery Court suit alleging the sale of the property did not follow the organization’s bylaws and that it violated the Tennessee Nonprofit Corporation Act.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs say the club’s bylaws required all club members – not just the organization’s leadership – to vote on the sale and the state act requires nonprofits disposing of major assets to get approval from the state Attorney General.
The Union Group acquired a demolition permit from the Office of Construction Code Enforcement Tuesday, July 30, and felled a large tree on the back side of the property.
The regal but decaying property on Union was built in 1907 by Rowland Jones, a Memphis lumber king.
In 1926, the 15,813-square-foot house was acquired by the Nineteenth Century Club, a philanthropic women’s organization.
The Union Group acquired the property for $550,000 in January after winning a competitive bidding process, beating out a group that offered $350,000 and wanted to turn the property into a women’s business center. The Nineteenth Century Club plans on donating the sale proceeds to the Children’s Museum of Memphis.

Another fitness-focused tenant at Overton Square

Cardio Barre, a high energy, no-impact exercise class that combines dance-based barre work and light weights, signed a 2,310-square-foot lease on second floor space in Overton Square, the third lease signed by a fitness-focused user at Overton Square.
“We really are assembling a nice mix of health-conscious tenants at Overton Square,” said Aaron Petree, who represented the landlord, Loeb Properties INC. “We think the unique fitness specialties of CARDIO BARRE, Breakaway Running and Delta Groove Yoga are all nice compliments to the variety of cuisine in the area and the arts experiences offered by the area’s theatres.”
“The increased daytime traffic generated by CARDIO BARRE also makes Overton Square more attractive to other retail operators,” said Petree. “We are very excited that they are joining us.”
CARDIO BARRE, a franchise founded by choreographer and dancer Richard Giorla, offers the benefits of ballet training with fat-burning and muscle-sculpting exercises that do not involve any of the usual suspects – no kicking, no punching and no jumping up and down. The exercise focuses on on a steady flowing set of movements that lengthen and strengthen muscles.
Native Memphian Allison Steward is the franchisee.
“When I returned to Memphis, I was searching for a fitness program to bring the maximum benefit of fitness and dance combined,” said Steward, who studied as a dance major at Loyola Marymount University and pursued a dancing career in Los Angeles.

Owners of historic home due in court Monday, June 24

The owners of the historic Nineteenth Century Club building on Union Avenue will be in Environmental Court Monday, June 24, according to a group dedicated to preserving historic structures.

Memphis Heritage said Thursday, June 2o, that the owner of the property, Liang Lin of  Arkansas, doing business as The Union Group, LLC., is charged with owning or maintaining a dangerous or neglected building and will be in General Sessions Division 14.

The stately but decaying mansion at 1433 Union Ave. was  built in 1907 by Rowland Jones Darne, a Memphis lumber king, according to Memphis Heritage.

In 1926, the 15,813-square-foot house was acquired by the Nineteenth Century Club, a philanthropic women’s organization. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The owners won a competitive bidding process for the home in January, paying $550,000 for the property, according to the Shelby County Registrar. The three-story wood frame structure is commercially zoned and sits on 1.2 acres at Union between Kimbrough and Cleveland streets.

“The house has had few alterations making it a rare example of Colonial Revival architecture and an important part of our early architectural history,” said Memphis Heritage on its website. “Once amid a streetscape of imposing mansions, now it remains as the last to exemplify the elegant residential character formerly displayed along a street now dominated by commercial establishments.”

You can find out more about the home and efforts to save it here and here .

Stax Music Academy alumni performing at B.B. King’s on Beale

You can catch the first-ever Stax Music Academy Alumni Band performing on Beale Street this month.

The AlumniBand will be performing at  B. B. King’s Blues Club  every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in June from 1 to 5 p.m.

The  Alumni Band is also performing in the Stax Museum’s Studio A every Tuesday in June from  2 to 4 p.m. Admission to the Stax Museum is free after 1 p.m. on Tuesdays for residents of Shelby County with proper identification.

You can learn more about the Stax Music Academy here.

Two Ballet Memphis artists to perform in Tokyo

Hideko Karasawa and Kendall G. Britt Jr. of Ballet Memphis will perform at the Ballet Asteras 2013 Gala in Tokyo.

Ballet Asteras is a showcase for Japanese dancers who perform outside Japan. Karasawa and Britt are one of only eight pairs of dancers from around the world invited to participate in Ballet Asteras and Ballet Memphis is the only U.S. company represented.

You can find out more about Britt, Karasawa and Ballet Asteras here.

Dansette

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