Built in 1905, the 14-story Tennessee Trust building was among downtown Memphis' first "skyscrapers." The building's architects, the firm of Charles 0. Pfeil (1871–1952) and George M. Shaw (1870–1919) were noted—at the time—for designing buildings with the ornate, classical styling and massing of the era's existing "landmark" buildings. The building was constructed with a large underground vault, which is currently re-purposed as the Madison Hotel gym. The scroll pattern on the west facade of the Tennessee Trust Building is visible on other downtown Memphis buildings from the era designed by Shaw & Pfeil. For instance, the firm's Memphis Fire Engine House #1 (1910) and the Memphis Police Station (1911) are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Tennessee Trust Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
In 2002, Unison Hotel Co. acquired the deteriorating structure and converted into an upscale 110-room boutique hotel.
The award-winning renovation is unique in its blend of ultra-modern interior design with the building's classical elements. Also of note is the basement gym and lap pool constructed in the bank's former vault. The large door and steel walls remain in place.
Operating in the "luxury hotel" category, the Madison serves the upscale market and touts its high service level and high-end amenities, including Italian linens made from Egyptian cotton. It is often mentioned on lists of the world's best hotels, including those compiled by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
RELEASED BY THE MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL - 7/5/18
The 110-room hotel at 79 Madison Ave. will now be called the Hu. Hotel; the hotel’s restaurant, Eighty3, will be rebranded as Hu. Diner. The launch is expected this summer or in the early fall.
The new name has its origins from Hugh “Hu” Brinkley, a prominent Memphian whose grandfather was John Overton — one of the founders of Memphis. Brinkley built the Lyceum Theatre at Second Street and Jefferson Avenue in the late 1800s.
According to its website, the name also refers to the Hu. Hotel’s décor that is “designed to pay tribute to the hues of Memphis.” Rooms prominently feature a blue and gray color palette.
FROM THEIR WEBSITE'S "ABOUT" SECTION:
"Aparium was founded in 2011 by Chicago hospitality executive and entrepreneur Mario Tricoci and luxury hotel veteran Kevin Robinson. The duo saw a clear need for a company that could bring C-suite service and accommodations to underserved—yet distinct and important—cities while maintaining and celebrating the unadulterated character of each. Driven by the belief that all hospitality experiences should be fueled by the poetics of their surroundings, Aparium was born with an intense focus on unearthing the amazing moments unique to every city.
Since its founding, Aparium has grown into a new kind of hotel brand—one that ventures off the beaten path, both geographically and philosophically. It is a sophisticated hotel brand known for its singular ability to combine the business acumen of large hospitality companies with the charm of boutique hotels, bringing the disparate forces together in bustling, smaller markets.
Tricoci and Robinson’s capabilities and flair were never more prominently on display than during their time as co-developers, owners and operators of the highly acclaimed Elysian Hotel in Chicago.
Opening its doors in 2009 on the under-explored outskirts of Chicago’s Gold Coast, the Elysian, with its cobblestone courtyard and allusions to the grand hotels of 1920’s Paris, quickly drew the interest, praise and admiration of most every hotel brand, hotel publication, rating service, and the public at large. With its remarkable designs, operations, and vision, the Elysian won numerous awards including being ranked number one in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards, earning a AAA 5 Diamond, and in 2013 netting a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee provided Aparium’s first proving ground for its progressive hospitality philosophy. Recently voted one of the top 25 hotels in the United States, The Iron Horse has become the leader and a standard of excellence in the booming independent hotel industry and remains a prime example of the complete Aparium experience. The Iron Horse is the embodiment of Aparium’s signature Translocal Hospitality, Owner Collaboration, and Intuitive Service model.
A tremendous compliment of openings is scheduled in the coming years in important locations as diverse as the oft written about downtown Detroit; the burgeoning North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis; the flourishing Crossroads district in Kansas City; the eclectic and diverse town of Montclair; La Crosse—one of the most exciting small cities in America—and Covington, a dynamic urban enclave serving Northern Kentucky and the greater Cincinnati area. Aparium’s unexpected experiences are poised to become important catalysts in the resurgence of many great American cities. Aparium aims to celebrate the true entrepreneurial spirit of each city with every new opening while adding the passion, commitment, and care Aparium is known for to the ever-changing cultural landscape."