Memphis, Tenn. - There wasn't a "for sale" sign on the Winchester office building in downtown Memphis, but company officials at Crye-Leike, the largest real estate company in Tennessee and the Mid-South, knew that the building and its location was the one they had been searching for over the past several months to establish a downtown commercial office presence in Memphis.

Four Crye-Leike company officials made an offer to purchase the Winchester office building at 8 South Third Street and closed the deal in April 2003. Parkway Properties represented the owner, Winchester River-1, LP. This six-story office building was purchased for $1.3 million by a limited liability partnership under the name of Scimitar, LLC.

The Crye-Leike LLC partnership consists of Dick Leike, co-founder and president, and Chet Whitsitt, vice president, both of Crye-Leike; and Tony Fletcher, president, and Collins Mikell, property manager, both of Crye-Leike Property Management, a full service management company for commercial and residential properties.

The Crye-Leike management team plans to offer downtown businesses a full service brokerage firm with an emphasis on commercial property and association management.

Scimitar, LLC appropriately named their business entity after one of the building's previous tenants, the Press Scimitar, the former Memphis' evening city newspaper for 104 years .

"We have been looking for the right building size and location to expand Crye-Leike Property Management into downtown Memphis for the past year," said Fletcher. "We felt the timing was right to support our property management operation. We already manage seven downtown properties and felt it more efficient to have an office downtown than to manage those properties from East Memphis where Crye-Leike's corporate headquarters is located."

The Winchester building is located at the corner of Third and Madison, across the street from the Sterrick Building and the 1st Tennessee Bank building and next door to the Auto Zone Baseball Stadium. Built in 1902, it is listed on the Historic Register.

The Crye-Leike partnership intends to restore the frontage of the building to its original luster of limestone and wrought iron, says Fletcher, as well as do some extensive renovations to the building's interior over the next year.

Fletcher further noted that the Center City Commission was very helpful in the real estate transaction. "The commission allowed Scimitar, LLC to participate in the PILOT Program (Payment in lieu of taxes Program) which allowed us to make this investment."

Currently, the 36,000 sq. ft. Winchester office building is 100 percent occupied by attorneys and the Memphis Arts Council where fine arts classes are held. Crye-Leike Property Management will manage the building and occupy the ground floor where it will house commercial and association management professionals and real estate sales associates.

Crye-Leike's downtown operations will open in mid-June as an extension of Crye-Leike Property Management's East Memphis offices, says company officials.

Crye-Leike Property Management, a division of Crye-Leike (www.crye-leike.com), the nation's 13th largest real estate company, manages office and retail space; single-family homes; and condominium or planned unit development (PUD) communities. Crye-Leike Property Management (www.crye-leikerentals.com) in Memphis manages 1 million square feet of office and retail space; over 550 single-family homes; and 44 condominium or PUD communities with over 5,000 units. In 2002, there were 40 investment owners who joined Crye-Leike's management portfolio. Crye-Leike further assisted 26 owners in the marketing of their previously-managed properties, representing $16.35 million in sales volume.

Crye-Leike, a full service real estate company for 26 years, is the nation's 13th largest real estate company with a network of over 2,300 sales associates and 62 branch and franchise offices located in 33 counties throughout a six-state southern region in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida. Crye-Leike, Inc. in Memphis has a sales force of over 1,100 sales associates who are located in 18 corporate and franchise offices in four counties throughout a three-state Mid-South region in Shelby County, Tenn.; Crittendon County, Ark.; and DeSoto and Lee counties, Miss.