The Commercial Appeal
Launch party Monday for James Lee House
To celebrate renovations to the James Lee House in Victorian Village, a “launch party” Monday will offer food and entertainment from 4- 6 p.m. at the mansion at 690 Adams.
Owner Jose Velazquez said workmen have spent the week removing leadbased paint from the home and will spend next week removing asbestos before beginning construction on the 165-year-old mansion, which has been unoccupied since 1959.
The Downtown Memphis Commission, Victorian Village Inc., and the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities will play host for the launch with free food and entertainment by singer Misti Rae Warren, said Dawn Vinson, spokeswoman for the Downtown Memphis Commission.
The $2.3 million renovation will turn the 8,100-square-foot home on what once was known as “Millionaire’s Row” into a five-suite luxury bed-andbreakfast.
The home once was part of a private art school operated in both the Lee House and neighboring Woodruff-Fontaine House. When the school moved to become Memphis Art Academy, Woodruff-Fontaine remained open as a tourist attraction, while the Lee House has sat empty for 54 years. Velazquez said he hopes to open the house to the public by December.