MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The owner of a distinctive Midtown building that has undergone extensive renovations over the past few years hopes to reopen the site as an event center.
Juan Montoya, owner of Ashlar Hall on Central Avenue near Lamar, has applied for a variance with the Shelby County Board of Adjustment to allow its use as an event center. Montoya said the use would be compatible and in harmony with the historic neighborhood around it.
Montoya has been renovating the building since 2017. It had fallen into disrepair after years of use as a resturant and nightclub.
Ashlar Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Robert Brinkley Snowden, a former owner of Memphis’ Peabody Hotel and great-grandson of the hotel’s founder, designed and built it as his family’s home in 1896.
It was converted to a restaurant run by the Grisanti family in the 1960s, and was used as a restaurant and nightclub into the 1990s, most famously as Prince Mongo’s Castle. Prince Mongo, an eccentric perennial mayoral candidate who claims to be from the planet Zambodia and was cited by code inspectors for his “artwork” displays outside the club, turned over the keys to the building in 2013.