Hickman building slated for renovation after sitting empty for decades

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- One of the downtown buildings on a "dirty dozen” list of property in need of some love will soon get the face lift it needs. After decades of sitting empty, the Hickman building will soon come to life again.

"It was real nice back in the day it was. Now they have let it sit; it’s just an eyesore," said Levon Fowler.

Located in the heart of downtown, the Hickman building's fixtures still seem grand even though they’re stained. The nearly century-old building no longer lights up Madison Avenue near the new Downtown Elementary school.

"This is a really nice school then you look across the street and you see this," said Desi Joseph.

In May, a $16 million construction project starts. The plan is to turn the building it into apartments with space on the bottom floor for retail.

"Used to ride our bikes down here. We were young coming up, now these days you can’t do that," said Fowler.

Fowler said he remembers when the building was a bustling center of business. That was decades ago when he was just a kid. As an adult, he wants to see the building turned back into a downtown gem.

"It makes me feel bad just to look at it," added Fowler.

Seeing the building still standing but all boarded up taints his childhood memories, but those memories will soon find new life through revitalization.

"Maybe it’s a step but take care of this step and take it to another level," said Fowler.

He thinks this is only the first step towards ridding the city of buildings like the Hickman that are left abandoned and dark in the downtown area.

Walk Off Properties, which bought the Hickman, also purchased the other abandoned buildings along North 4th as well as a parking garage.