A renovator’s happy hour & tour series presented by Memphis Heritage

Join us for Memphis Heritage’s brand new series of behind-the-scenes tours of historic buildings throughout Memphis, both pre- and post- revitalization. Hear directly from the owners, developers, contractors, architects, engineers, designers and craftsmen involved in bringing these one-of-a-kind structures back to life. This informative series invites historic architecture enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds to learn more about preserving our city’s treasures over beer & wine in a casual and fun atmosphere.

March 1, 2018: The Universal Life Insurance Building

480 Dr M.L.K. Jr Ave, Memphis, TN 38126

Doors open at 5:30 pm, behind-the-scenes tour led by Jimmie Tucker of Self + Tucker Architects starts at 6:00 pm. Stop by after work- grab a drink, eat some cheese, and learn about the history and future of this incredible adaptive reuse project from the experts making it happen.


Advance ticket sales have ended, all tickets $15 at the door. RSVP via Facebook and spread the word!


Remember, this is an active construction site! Dress comfortably.

Parking lot and building access located on the North side of the site via Driver Street. If parking lot is full, please park along Driver Street. There is no site access via Linden/MLK Ave. See map below:

The Project

The Universal Life Insurance Building (ULIB) has been renovated with both sustainability and historic preservation in mind. In addition, the development was conceived as a Hub for Entrepreneurship and Community Revitalization to create a synergistic place for organizations that are committed to creating a Better Memphis. A space in the building will honor and feature the Universal Insurance Company history. A multipurpose space will be available for lectures, meetings, training and other events such as design charrette and art exhibits.

The Universal Life Insurance Building, vacant since 2001, will reopen to commemorate the MLK50 Anniversary events being held in April 2018. The building, located at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Danny Thomas Boulevard, was constructed in the 1940’s. It was the headquarters of the fourth largest African American owned life insurance company in the country. McKissack & McKissack, an African American owned firm located in Nashville, were the architects that designed the “Egyptian Revival” style building.
Self + Tucker Properties purchased the property in 2006 and is the developer of the renovation project. Self + Tucker Architects is serving as designer. To support the historic preservation objectives, the building’s envelope and the main corridors have been designed to meet historic tax credit requirements. Energy efficient systems, a solar canopy, recycled products and wasted reduction practices are all a part of the renovation. The iconic Universal Life clock sign will also be restored.

A message from our hosts, Self + Tucker Architects:

We are exceedingly grateful for the advocacy and support that we have received in our effort to revitalize the historic Universal Life Insurance Building. This is truly a public private partnership with a tremendous amount of community support.
Many people are in some way connected to the history of the Universal Life Insurance Co. If the walls could talk what compelling and inspirational stories they might tell…

Memphis Heritage thanks Self + Tucker Architects for hosting our inaugural Preservation Posse: After Hours event!