MICHELLE CORBET | MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL
The new Downtown headquarters of a local communications consulting firm is going to be more than office space.
Last year, Doug Carpenter, founder and principal of communications firm DCA, bought a half-acre property at 11 W. Huling Ave. that began as a National Biscuit Company (NABISCO) distribution center in 1917.
Carpenter is not only moving his firm to the new space but opening it up to event rentals; he is also renovating the original NABISCO horse stables into an Airbnb.
"It's a tremendous space, with two bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths with brick floors and hardwood," Carpenter said.
The 2,200-square-foot residential space was the primary residence of former owner and local photographer Woody Woodliff.
Carpenter said he would like to live Downtown once his children are in college. Having an Airbnb will give him the opportunity to test it out, while providing a place for DCA clients who are from out of town.
The revenue from Airbnb rentals will be reinvested in Huling Properties LLC. Another source of revenue will come from making the 8,500 square feet of office space available for events.
The space has already hosted a concert from Folk All Y’all, which hosts performances from traveling artists and was founded by DCA copy chief Andria Brown.
Carpenter has also received interest from photographers wanting to rent the cyclorama photography cove — which has a catwalk and garage door access — that was installed by the former owner.
"It's yet to be fully understood what the demand will be, but we plan on making it available for rent," Carpenter said.
DCA treated the building as if it were a client, creating a brand that drew inspiration from the NABISCO logo and would work in the past or the present.
"The brand is representative of the DNA of the building and what the builder originally intended — to build something different and remarkable and additive to the culture of the business, the environment and the neighbors," Carpenter said.
The firm moved from its previous space in the South Main Arts District in December and is seeking an approximately $45,000 exterior improvement grant and $100,000 development loan from the Center City Development Corp. (CCDC), an affiliate board of the Downtown Memphis Commission.
DCA will go before the CCDC board Feb. 21. If approved, the firm plans to begin renovations at the end of the first quarter of 2018 with an anticipated completion in the second quarter.
Austin Magruder is the project architect, and the contractor is Octavius Nickson of Nickson General Contractors.