Deal reached in battle over Beale Street - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Deal reached in battle over Beale Street

(WMC-TV) - The fight to control historic Beale Street has already cost the city of Memphis nearly $3 million in legal fees. But, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said Wednesday, the battle will soon be over.

"It will still belong to the city," Wharton said. "We become the landlord."

Performa, the entertainment district's long time management company, and the city have a signed settlement agreement to end their disputes. But it won't be a cheap transition for Memphis.

The settlement requires Memphis to continue to pay Performa a monthly 5 percent leasing commission on existing rental agreements until the year 2032.

The city will also reimburse Performa for the $420,000 the company spent in legal fees.

"We believe that, while that is costly, it will be even more costly to continue the present operation the present management," Wharton said.

Wharton expects revenues to increase.

"As a matter of fact, we're looking at over a million dollars in revenue to come in annually," he said. "That's just under present operations - that does not include any new tenants."

Recommendations from a Beale Street study group commissioned by the mayor are due out in days.

"The city will not be down there running Beale Street," Wharton said.

Rather, the city will likely form a business development commission to oversee day to day operations, making sure millions of Memphis visitors enjoy their stay, and local taxpayers know how their money is being spent.

Performa's John Elkington was not ready to make a public statement Wednesday, but said he is happy with the conditions of the settlement.

A court date hasn't been set for a judge to review the settlement agreement.

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