Beale Street Deal Nearly Done

The city of Memphis, Tenn., is one step closer to taking back control of the Beale Street Historic District after a 10-year legal battle.

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and John Elkington, CEO of management company Peforma Entertainment Real Estate, have reportedly both signed the agreement to seal the deal. A federal bankruptcy judge just needs to sign off on it.

Performa originally signed a 52-year lease to manage the district in 1982, long before the area had restaurants, bars and venues including B.B. King’s Blues Club and Hard Rock Café. Despite the district’s growing success, Performa filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2010.

Under the terms of the settlement, Performa surrenders its long-term contract to manage Beale Street to the city but will receive 5 percent commission on leases signed through 2034.

City officials are looking into long-term planning to strengthen business in the four-block entertainment district and increase revenues.