Memphis Commercial Appeal    .   Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:29 p.m.

City of Memphis transfers James Lee House in Victorian Village to developer

By Amos Maki  


The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to transfer the historic James Lee House in Victorian Village to a private developer for $1.

Jose Velazquez, the former executive director of Latino Memphis, plans to invest $2.1 million to transform the stately but decaying home on Adams into a bed-and-breakfast.

“This gets rid of a big symbol of blight,” said councilman Lee Harris, who sponsored the resolution transferring the property.

The mansion at 690 Adams was originally built in 1848 and was left to the city in 1936 for use as an art school. The house has been vacant since 1959.

The project was supported by the state and Memphis chapters of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities and the Community Development Corp. of Victorian Village

“We see this as the beginning of a domino theory of good things happening in the neighborhood,” said Scott Blake, executive director of the CDC.

Nearby, the Mallory Neely house, which has been closed for seven years, is scheduled to be reopened to the public in November.