Memphis Commercial Appeal . Posted August 9, 2012 at
the James Lee House
Memphis does not
need to lose another one of its 19th-century mansions, so here's
hoping the city and developer Jose Velazquez can reach an agreement
on a proposal to turn the vacant, dilapidated James Lee House in
Victorian Village into a bed-and-breakfast.
A Memphis City
Council committee Tuesday gave initial approval to transfer the
mansion to Velazquez for a dollar — if the city can legally part
with the property. Velazquez expects to invest $2.1 million in the
historic house at 690 Adams Downtown. It was originally built as a
two-story farmhouse in 1848, but was refashioned into an elaborate
mansion. The home's owner left the mansion and the Woodruff-Fontaine
House next door to the city when she died in 1936.
databases. The Association for the Preservation of Tennessee
Antiquities operates Woodruff-Fontaine and, of course, the city
needs to make sure the Lee House sale will not hurt the APTA's
ability to hold functions that pay the operating expenses for
George Little, the
city's chief administrative officer, said Wednesday the city will
make sure Velazquez has the financial resources to complete the
restoration "in a way that satisfies all historical design
guidelines" before he receives title to the home.
The homes in
Victorian Village are important pieces of Memphis' history. Any
viable plan to restore or maintain their essence is welcomed.