Market Overview

Court Ruling Clears Way for John Elkington to Transfer Beale Street Lease to City of Memphis


A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled that John Elkington's Performa Entertainment Real Estate, Inc. (Performa) was in compliance with the terms of its lease agreement with Beale Street Development Corporation (BSDC) and that there was no proof of any default by Performa in payments owed to BSDC. This ruling clears the way for Elkington to transfer his Beale Street Entertainment District lease to the City of Memphis.

“I'm pleased with the judge's decision,” said Elkington, who Memphis Magazine credited with the Beale Street revival that turned abandoned buildings into one of the most visited attractions in Tennessee. “It allows us to move forward with the lease transfer agreement that has been in place with the city for more than two years.”

Elkington chose to take a successful Performa into bankruptcy because he felt that the Federal Bankruptcy Court was best equipped to handle the complex financial litigation involved in the firm's dispute with BSDC. In a series of transactions dating to 1982, Performa's predecessor company leased the entertainment district from BSDC, which had leased the entity from its owner, the City of Memphis. The Performa lease was for a period of 50 years, and contingent on Performa investing substantial capital into the street's real estate and infrastructure and meeting a series of performance milestones.

Merchants involved in the early days of Beale Street redevelopment were positive about the entertainment district's future in the wake of the court's decision, and acknowledged the key role Elkington played in the destination's success.

“If it hadn't been for John Elkington's drive and determination, Beale Street wouldn't be the success it is today,” Beale Street redevelopment pioneer Sandy Robertson of Alfred's said. “I wish him success as he moves on after 30 years, and look forward to working with the city. I'm confident the merchants on Beale Street and the city will, together, make Beale Street an even better entertainment district.”

“The Judge made the right decision. Over the past three decades John, his Performa team, and the merchants worked hard to create a successful national attraction and a great place for Memphians,” said Preston Lamm, founder and president of River City Management, which owns and operates Rum Boogie among other Beale Street clubs, and a pivotal figure in the redevelopment of Beale Street. “We are pleased with an end to this uncertainty. Merchants on Beale Street can now move forward with marketing and promotions programs that were delayed due to this uncertainty.”

Beale Street today carries on a Memphis music tradition that includes Beale Street legends such as W.C. Handy, B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Furry Lewis as well as renowned Memphis entertainers such as Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, and Justin Timberlake.

Performa Entertainment Real Estate
Bob Pipkin, 901-682-3839

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