MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - After four years of sitting empty, the tallest building in the Memphis skyline could soon have a new tenant.
Thursday afternoon, Mayor Jim Strickland signed a letter of intent to redevelop the 100 North Main building.
It's far from a guarantee, but it is a formal step in negotiations for the city to make the building into a hotel.
"I'm hoping it will become a done deal, but this is just a period of negotiations," Strickland said.
The agreement--which includes City of Memphis, Loews Hotels, and the New York based owner of the building--calls for redevelopment of the 100 North Main property and the entire block to the south.
"It's the tallest building downtown. We just can't have that empty for a period of time," Strickland said.
The building has been vacant since 2014 and has fallen into disrepair--out of code and a haven for vandals and arsonists.
If negotiations lead to a formal deal, the property would be a Loews Hotel with at least 500 rooms, including meeting spaces, restaurants, retail, and ballrooms.
The agreement calls it an "upper upscale hotel" and says it will be designated as an official convention center hotel.
The negotiation period is up to six months, and the mayor said it could be at least a $150 million project.
"This is a win not just for downtown or the hospitality industry, it's a win for the entire city if we can close it," Strickland said.
Memphis' Cook Convention Center is slated to undergo a $175 million renovation.
Strickland said studies have shown the city needs a second convention center hotel in addition to the Sheraton to be able to compete for more conventions.