Three Downtown commercial infill projects were awarded exterior improvement grants by the Center City Development Corp. Wednesday, Feb. 21.

The plans include an upscale cocktail bar at 115 Union Ave., a restaurant the Madison Hotel’s owners are developing at 1 S. Main St., and upgrades to creative consulting firm DCA’s headquarters at 11 W. Huling Ave.

Though the five-story building at 115 Union Ave. was successfully renovated in 2012 as a mixed-use project with 23 rental units on top, the 6,200 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and basement never took off.

Now the building’s owner, Tyrone Burroughs, doing business as The Pocket LLC, plans to open an upscale cocktail club called the Tailors’ Union this spring.

Burroughs was seeking a $25,336 exterior improvement grant from the CCDC, a Downtown Memphis Commission affiliate board, to offset the cost of the ground floor exterior enhancements.

Project consultant Scott Bojko represented Burroughs, who is also part owner of Rizzo’s Diner, at the meeting.

In addition to only covering outside improvements, exterior improvement grants require a minimum financial leverage of 1-to-1 from the applicants.

Per the terms of the grant, the applicants will be required to spend at least $10,135 with certified minority and women-owned business enterprises, or MWBEs.

Burroughs previously worked with the DMC in 2011 to obtain a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) incentive and a development loan.

The next stop for the project most likely will be the Design Review Board, another DMC-affiliated entity.

Additionally, Aparium Hotel Group, the owners of the Madison Hotel, sought a $100,000 EIG for their overhaul of the ground floor of an adjacent parcel at 1 S. Main.

Since the upper floor currently is residential use, Chicago-based Aparium sought funds for only the ground floor.

The three-story, 70-plus-year-old building most recently was occupied by Sam’s Hamburgers & More and Check into Cash, but Aparium has indicated the existing tenants will be replaced with new commercial concepts as a part of the Madison Hotel’s larger renovation plans.

Plans call for a new full-service restaurant serving Americana cuisine on Sam’s side, while a small, one-bay barber shop will serve as a “front” for a speakeasy that will occupy the Check into Cash side.

Construction is estimated to begin as early as this month and wrap up as soon as May.

Aparium will have to spend more than $50,000 of construction costs with certified MWBEs, per the terms of the grant.

Also on the agenda was DCA’s request for a $44,941 exterior improvement grant and a $100,000 development loan.

While DCA is the primary tenant in the 8,500-square-foot space, the firm plans to treat the building as its own brand – styled “Eleven W. Huling” – with community amenities available to the public.

The planned changes include a cyclorama photography cove with a catwalk and garage-door access that can be used for community meetings, receptions, photography and videography shoots, and shows for emerging musicians.

Additionally, an attached three-level, 2,200-square-foot private residence on the property will soon open as an Airbnb.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin by the end of March and wrap up sometime in the second quarter.

Austin Magruder with PMK Architects is listed as the project’s architect, while Octavius Nickson of Nickson General Contractors will handle the construction work.

Mollie Baker