Owner of major Memphis office tower plans conversion to residential units


The Raymond James tower in downtown Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Raymond James tower at 50 N. Front St. — still known to many as the Morgan Keegan building — will be converted into a mixed-use development with almost 300 residential apartments, its owner said.

The building’s possible new name will be “Memphis Waterfront Tower,” according to information sent to WREG by the building’s owner, New York-based Jacob Sofer.

The apartments will offer Memphis riverfront views and easy access to restaurants, shops, recreation, parks and interstates, the company said.

Raymond James announced in 2019 that the financial services company would vacate the building, a landmark on the downtown skyline, and move its local operations to East Memphis. The EDGE board approved $3.2 million in tax incentives for that move.

At this point, only 8% of its Class A office space is leased, leaving almost 300,000 square feet unoccupied, Sofer said. While demand for office space is predicted to stagnate due to the pandemic, demand for apartments in downtown Memphis is escalating, Sofer said.

“I hope to see real viability in what could be the new era of this prominent waterfront building,” Sofer said in a statement released Wednesday. “My hope is to swiftly adjust to today’s market realities and continue to offer Memphians tremendous tower space on the river. This building has added vibrancy to the downtown neighborhood for years – and could continue to do so as apartments.”

The building has been maintained as office space, with more than $5 million in capital investments in the last five years, Sofer said.

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