March 15, 2007

City To Lease Former Garment Factory To Pallet Manufacturer

After lying vacant for nearly one year, the former garment factory building located at 214 E. Monroe Street in Memphis, will once again be housing a business.

At a special meeting on March 7th, the Memphis City Council voted 4-0 to enter a two-year lease with Mike Doubet to rent the facility to the Memphis businessman to house his pallet construction business.

Doubet will be relocating his operation from the current location on Highway 136 in Memphis. The company currently has three employees that build and rehabilitate pallets.

The contract calls for a $350 per month rent.

The agreement was approved despite some debate regarding the future of the building.

Alderman Chris Feeney suggested the city should pursue selling the site. He pointed out that the annual rent, $4,200, would likely be consumed in building repairs, upkeep and insurance. He argued that the sale of the building would put it back on the tax roll, generating $1,500 in tax revenue annually and would provide the city with capital to reinvest, possibly with the construction of a new industrial development site.

Alderman Brian Brush stated he was in favor of renting the building to Doubet, who was in need of a building because his current location, a former service station, was scheduled for groundwork that was forcing the pallet business to vacate the site. He also argued that the site had been vacant for nearly a year, without any prospective buyers expressing interest.

“The building had been available all of this time, but now that someone is interested in renting it, that’s when a buyer steps forward, and I don’t think that is right,” Brush stated.

Alderman Ron Gardner stated he was in favor of the lease because it meant keeping a business in Memphis. Without the facility, Doubet might have been forced to move outside of city limits or even leave the community.

Alderman Feeney noted that he was not opposed to leasing the building to Doubet.

“My number one priority is getting something in that building,” he said. “I would at least like us to consider selling the site, for the reasons I have mentioned, but if we do not pursue that option, I will not stand in the way of renting it.”

Feeney did suggest the city consider a one-year lease, arguing that the shorter term would keep the city more in control of its options.

Alderman Lucas Remley noted that he had no problem with a two-year agreement but did state he would like the city to consider a higher rent.

Doubet stated that he sought the two-year agreement to show his commitment to the project. He indicated the facility, which has more than twice the amount of space as his former site, will allow him to grow, which could mean additional jobs.

Ultimately the council voted 4-0 to enter the two-year agreement with Doubet, who expects to begin moving into the new location this month and to be fully operational by April.

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