Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Billy Orgel Purchases Tennessee Brewery

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 3:04 PM

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Cell phone tower developer and Shelby County Schools board member Billy Orgel has purchased the long-abandoned Tennessee Brewery.

Orgel, who is president of Tower Ventures, paid $825,000 for the brewery, which prior to the purchase seemed destined for the wrecking ball. Leasing agent James Rasberry said earlier this year that the building's previous owner would have the building torn down by the end of the summer if no one stepped up to save it.

Orgel stepped in toward the end of July, and at that time, Rasberry told the Flyer that the contract with him was "as good a contract as I've had since the top of the real estate market when we were promoting it more of a residential development than a mixed use."

The Memphis Business Journal is reporting that the brewery may be turned into a mix of apartments and commercial space.

The Tennessee Brewery building was once home to the now-defunct Goldcrest Beer. No beer has been brewed there since 1954, and the building, which was sold to A. Karchmer and Sons Scrap Metal in the mid-1950s, has been vacant since 1981. The building's owner, Kevin Norman, purchased the property in 1997 in the hope of salvaging the historic building. He's been trying to sell the building unsuccessfully for years.

From late April to early June, a group of investors — restaurateur Taylor Berger, attorney Michael Tauer, commercial real estate executive Andy Cates, and communications specialist Doug Carpenter — organized a pop-up beer garden inside the brewery to raise awareness about the need to save the building. To read more about "Untapped" and the brewery's history, check out this Flyer cover story.

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