The Sterick: “The Most Fabulous Building in Memphis”

In Downtown by Rebecca Phillips15 Comments


Photograph by Khara Woods

What is the fate of the Sterick building? A renovated office building, a giant karaoke bar, trivia night theaters with a beer garden and hot tubs, and maybe a science research center with pretty telescopes. No.. we can’t answer that for you, but we can tell you a little about its past.


Memphis and Shelby County Room, Memphis Public Library & Information Center

The Sterick building was of elegance in its prime years. It could claim itself as the tallest building in all of Tennessee from 1930 to 1957. The building stood 29 stories tall in radiant white (the first three floors made from granite and limestone) with a green tile roof. Inside, you could visit a barber shop, beauty parlor, bank, pharmacy, a stockbroker, and appease your appetite at a fine restaurant on the top floor.


Memphis and Shelby County Room, Memphis Public Library & Information Center

But as most of our city residents know, the Sterick building is vacant and has been so since 1986. It isn’t the tallest building in Memphis and is covered in peeling yellow and brown paint from 1982, the year E.T. phoned home. It also likely hasn’t made a profit since 1958, when the Sterick sold for $3.8 million.



Photographs by Khara Woods

Read more from Vance to learn a little more about this fascinating building.

Also, if you have a story about an experience you had at the Sterick or have an idea about its future please let us know! Contact us at

Latest posts by Rebecca Phillips (see all)


  1. I see the Sterick Building out the window of my Main Street Apartment. It is beautiful. It is huge. It is sad. Seems a shame that such a beautiful thing is sitting vacant for many years.

  2. What a waste of space. Offices are rapidly becoming a thing from the past. I only work from my cube two days a week, and work the other three days from home. Times have changed so I imagine the downtown office era is a thing of the past. In Memphis, most office workers appear to work along the Poplar corridor from Perkins to the west part of Germantown.

    A major complication with the Sterick Building is that the land the building is on is owned by one entity, and the actually building is owned by AXA which acquired the building when the last owner defaulted on the mortgage. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but the building will become the property of the land owning family around 2025. The contract (I am no RE atty) calls for the building to be maintained. By looking at YouTube vids, and actually being allowed in the building when it was being inspected , I can tell you the property needs some serious work. It is really going to hit the fan when the transfer is due. Again, I am no RE expert, but if the contract was honored, just the cosmetic work would be well into eight figures. Bringing HVAC and electrical issues up to date – plus asbestos removal into the picture, well…….

    Demolition would be in the seven figures not including all the legal issues of the building being an historical landmark, so unless someone comes up with a brilliant idea, I see the building sitting empty indefinitely. Property is usually not redeveloped piecemeal, and a 29 story building is infinitely more risky to redevelop than several of the four to six story buildings being redeveloped downtown.

    On a positive close, I thought the Sears Building was also going to sit empty for years, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it redeveloped.

  3. I worked in the Sterick Bldg on the 18th floor for James N. Reddoch, a stock broker. I was there in the early 70s. I loved that building with it’s beautiful lobby and the elevator operators were great! I hate that this building has been allowed to deteriorate to this degree. It would have been a perfect multi-use building incorporating shops and apartments. It could be developed so individuals could work, live, and play in the same building. What a shame.

  4. Maybe the glory days will come again for this building. Growing up in the 60’s, I remember how the building was lit up for Christmas for like the other tall buildings in downtown. The lobby was, and still is, something to see, or at least it was five or so years ago when some maintenance guys were kind enough to let me poke around while they were working.

    One scenario I see happening is a deep pocket developer being given the building. I’ll betcha that AXA would like to be out of this property, and if they had a do over, they probably would not have repossessed the building. You know, the too big to fail thing. The Grossover family (hope I’m not butchering the name) would also like to be out of this albatross. The downtown Memphis office scene is all but dead, but the hip millennials (is there any other kind) could make some cool condos or apartments out of the vast amounts of empty space. Instead of the usually 800 to 2000 square foot condos or apartments, imagine 3000 square foot or larger living spaces. IMHO, there is no such thing as too much space.

    The old Tennessee Brewery and Sears Crosstown have come back from near death, so let’s all hope.

    I really admire the 20 and 30 somethings Memphians of today. When I was in my 20’s the cool place to live was in Hickory Hill. I feel so much shame.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I am in Canada but was able to visit in February for my first time. We stayed in the exchange building and loved it. From the fourteen floor we admired the Serick building. Hope I spelt it right . We walked all around that old building and wished a miracle would happen as we hoped to so many more old buildings we saw through out Memphis. What a grant city it was and can be. Please someone step in and save these pieces of history and I consisted art as well.

  5. I’ve been obsessed with this building for years and want to see it brought back to life. I keep telling myself if Crosstown can happen, the Sterick can happen. We’re just waiting for the right people and the right idea. Fingers crossed.

  6. Does anyone know the quarry from which the granite was taken? I know it is minnesita granite but wonder if it was John Clark Quarry or Clark & McCormack? If it was Cold Spring was it taken from a quarry that Cold Spring acquired after 1928?

    Family history interest Scott Clark

  7. Went to Dr Siskin as a child. We stayed at the Holiday Inn. Three Dog Night was checking in when we were on one occasion. My parents said this hippies were probably broke :-)). On one stay we were relocated to the Holiday Inn East because of the Martin Luther King riots. There was a connector bridge to the steric building…I don’t remember what floor but I do remember the connection

  8. The land on which the Sterick Building was built was formerly the home of Memphian Napoleon Hill (Google for pictures of the Hill Mansion). The land is now owned by Hill descendants, the Grosvenor family. Hopefully it will suffer the same fate as the Crosstown Concourse and the Tennessee Brewery: repurpose and rejuvenation. It ain’t gonna be cheap, but it would be worth it. Fingers crossed.

  9. I think a wonderful job was done on the adjoining hotel/parking lot that used to be a Holiday Inn back in the 60’s before gradually being worn down. I am hoping that the Sterick Building will soon meet a positive fate.
    It is an embarrassment that two of the largest buildings in Memphis, the Sterick Building, and the 100 North Main are boarded up. Also, I have heard from a reliable source in that Commerce Square would have been closed if several state departments did not lease nine or ten of the floors in the building.
    There is so much wonderful architecture throughout this city, but the out of control thuggery in Memphis is literally ripping the soul out of this city.

Leave a Comment