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This article is about an office building in Memphis, Tennessee. For information about the castle-like structure in Winterset, Iowa, see Clark Tower
Clark Tower is a 34-story high-rise office building in eastern Memphis, Tennessee. It was completed in 1972. The building is owned and managed by In-Rel Management.
Clark Tower was developed in the early 1970s by developer William B. Clark, Sr. as part of a larger development called Clark Center. It was constructed immediately to the east of the smaller White Station Tower, also built by Clark in 1965. The original plans called for an identical twin tower immediately to the north of the existing parking garage, with another parking garage structure and a 15-story hotel further north towards Sanderlin Street. These plans were never realized, and the remaining property was eventually developed as the Sanderlin Retail Center.
The building was designed by architect Robert Lee Hall, who also designed the 100 North Main Building in downtown Memphis, as well as Patterson Hall at the University of Memphis. Construction began in July, 1970, with a "topping out" on July 9, 1971. Its last major renovation was in 2004. It continues to be leased as Class A office space - the highest available.
The building suffered significant exterior damage from a July 22nd, 2003 windstorm. Several windows on Clark Tower's southwest corner were blown out.
Clark Tower was a major component in the migration of the Class A office market away from downtown Memphis and into the eastern suburbs. With 649,000 square feet (60,300 m2) of leasable space, it remains the largest commercial office building in the city.
Clark Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks to Memphis residents and visitors. Built on relatively high ground along Poplar Avenue, it can be seen easily from vantage points eight to ten miles (16 km) away, including Bartlett and Memphis International Airport. It is crowned by a large U.S. Flag, which flies 24 hours per day. Both flag and tower are brightly illuminated at night.
Emporis.com lists the height of the building at 400 feet (120 m), which places it at either the 2nd or 3rd in the city behind 100 North Main and the Morgan Keegan Tower (if the latter's spire is included in measurements). It is by far the tallest building outside of downtown. The main roof of is at 365 feet (111 m), with a recessed penthouse and top cap located above. The building also has an attached, multistory parking garage enclosed by a lattice-type exterior. The ground floor of this garage is retail space. Unlike the neighboring White Station Tower, Clark Tower does not have a subterranean parking garage.
The 33rd floor of Clark Tower is presently occupied by The Tower Room, a public restaurant. From outside, this floor is identifiable by the presence of arches just below the main roof. For many years, this space was occupied by the private Summit Club.
Clark Tower was dismissed as an architectural "dud" by Eugene J. Johnson and Robert D. Russell, Jr. in their 1990 book Memphis: An Architectural Guide. The authors claim that architect Hall was inspired by the works of Minoru Yamasaki, but failed to apply a proper sense of scale.
The former Tower Restaurant shut down in June, 2010. The 33rd floor is currently occupied by the catering firm Wade and Company. The space is now open for private events.