East Memphis Makeover 

The Monarch: Park Palace apartments reinvented for the Condo Age.

Lest you think condominiums in Memphis are synonymous with downtown, there are actually a number of high-profile developments across the city and county.

One such complex is the Monarch, located at 5400 Park Avenue. Many Memphians are familiar with the place, if not its new name and fresh face. For years, it was the Park Palace apartments, known for its street-side fountains and great location near Estate Drive.

In 2005, Bristol Development Group, out of Franklin, Tennessee, purchased the property and began an extensive conversion of the apartments into condo units. What has emerged from the makeover are luxury condos in the heart of East Memphis.

The Monarch's units have been outfitted with new appliances, new vanities, new paint, and new flooring. Walls have been removed to open up floor plans; kitchens breath now, and sunlight floods interiors.

The details — and the amenities — are exceptional. The Monarch has appointed its units with premium materials, such as granite countertops, hardwood floors, new tile for bathrooms, and stainless-steel kitchen appliances. There's a laundry room and washer and dryer in every unit, so no need to walk down the hall to clean your clothes.

The condos retain many original architectural holdovers, however. All units feature crown molding and nine-foot ceilings. Depending on the floor plan, some also have cabinetry that has been refurbished and put back into duty. Overall, the style is more urban and contemporary, but it's still true to the original building.

One-bedroom units are 800 to just under 1,000 square feet, with prices starting in the $130,000s. For prices starting in the $230,000s, you can get two bedrooms and around 1,300 square feet.

Well-maintained exteriors include lush landscaping, covered parking, an outdoor heated swimming pool, tennis courts, and a poolside patio with rocking chairs, places to sun, and gas grills.

The Monarch has two towers, totaling 110 units, and it's 75 percent sold. Among the big selling points: location — on Park near the Poplar corridor and I-240 — and security. There is gated access from the street and electronic-pass entry into the building. It's ideal for lock-it-and-leave-it residents.

During a tour, I saw plenty of socializing. The complex offers many kinds of community space: a library,

click to enlarge COURTESY CRYE-LEIKE REALTORS
  • Courtesy Crye-Leike Realtors
computer station with Internet access, business center, 24-hour fitness center, den with flat-screen TV, fireplace, piano, hotel-type suite for guests, banquet room, and catering kitchen.

Residents I talked to were friendly. I saw some people putting puzzles together and others exercising in the fitness center. Croquet and horseshoe games indicated other outdoor activities. Potlucks are held on Thursdays. There's even a concierge desk, and wake-up calls are offered.

Though it's close to railroad tracks, the Monarch's solid steel and concrete construction makes it virtually soundproof. No lie: A train passed while I was in the banquet room, and I didn't hear it until I stepped outside. ■

click to enlarge Kitchens at the Monarch have been updated using premium materials
  • Kitchens at the Monarch have been updated using premium materials

For more information on the Monarch, call Crye-Leike Realtors at 766-9004.

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