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Nashville-based Hattie B's Hot Chicken opening a Midtown location

A Nashville-based chain is expanding into Memphis. Family-owned Hattie B's Hot Chicken will open in the summer at 596 Cooper Street.
 
Hattie B's is owned and operated by father-and-son team, Nick Bishop, Sr. and Nick Bishop, Jr., who currently have two locations in Nashville and one in Birmingham, Ala.
 
Much like the diverse Memphis barbeque scene, Nashville is known as the home of hot chicken with a history stretching back to the 1930s.
 
The Bishops’ hot chicken is prepared with five increasing levels of heat, including “mild,” “hot,” “damn hot” and “shut the cluck up!!!,” which is made with cayenne, habanero and ghost peppers.

“All these things that are incorporated will really put you down,” jokes Nick Jr.

“But there are people who can handle that or who lost a bet. It’s fun to see people challenge themselves and move up in the heat ranks.”
 
Rounding out the menu are homemade Southern sides and desserts like black-eyed pea salad, collard greens, pimento mac & cheese and banana pudding.
 
The Bishops purchased the former Curb Market building and plan to renovate it over the next several months. Nick Sr. estimates the total upcoming renovation costs at about $350,000 for the 2,700-square-foot building.
 
The Curb Market, a gourmet grocery store that opened in March 2016, has shuttered the Cooper location in anticipation of its spring move to Crosstown Concourse.
 
“In terms on interior, we’ll have to move a few walls around and expand our kitchen a little bit,” Nick Jr. said. “On the front side, there will be an outdoor patio game area.”
 
The game area will possibly consist of a small putting green and other games for kids.
 
“We just want it to be a fun and relaxed environment, a place where families can come and parents can take a load off,” said Nick Jr. “We’ll have great local craft beer and some banana pudding for afterwards to cool your mouth down.”
 
He said the property is virtually turn-key with cosmetic work making up the bulk of the expense.
 
“It’s got a great street presence, and I like that it’s in between Overton Square and the Cooper-Young area,” said Nick Jr. “There’s a ton of parking and some really great outdoor space for dining.”
 
Hattie B’s will hire two to three managers from the Memphis area, along with up to 30 additional employees.

Midtown recovery home for veterans opens after renovations


Alpha Omega Veterans Services Inc. unveiled its newly renovated facilities in Midtown at 1266 Vinton Avenue at a grand opening event on Feb. 17.
 
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency provided more than $195,000 in grant funding to assist with the renovations on the home for military veterans who have struggled with homelessness, mental illness, or substance abuse.
 
“This is going to be a bridge facility to permanent housing, so there will be transitional support services that we will be rendering until we can get them back on their feet and able to reintegrate into society,” said Alpha Omega executive director Cordell Walker.
 
Representatives from THDA, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and State Senator Lee Harris were on hand to celebrate the completion of the two-year renovation project.
 
Up to 16 veterans at a time live at the two-story home which also offers counseling and other services. While veterans make up 9 percent of the overall population, they make up 25 percent of the homeless population, so recovery homes like Alpha Omega are critical.
 
Havie McMullen, Alpha Omega director of facilities oversaw the renovation and did much of the work himself.
 
“Before the rehab, we used to use this facility as a PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) site,” said McMullen, a disabled veteran who served in the Navy. “Guys came here from four states: Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, and we would transport to the (Memphis Veteran Affairs) hospital for treatment.”
 
The house was built in the 1940s. The renovations included fixing a badly sagging floor in the kitchen and putting new tile down, installing new appliances, fire suppression system, bathroom sinks, showers and toilets and adding a laundry facility.
 
Home Depot is donating to the project by installing a gazebo.
 
“They’re replacing the privacy fence and building a gazebo outside,” said McMullen, who previously rehabbed a hospice on Central Avenue for Alpha Omega at a cost of $480,000.
 
Many of the Alpha Omega 38-person staff are veterans who have gone through the organization’s recovery program.
 
Ola Mae Ransom created Alpha Omega Veteran’s Services, originally called Alpha Omega Faith Homes, in a single duplex in 1987 after her two sons, who both served in Vietnam, were diagnosed with PTSD. It was the first non-profit agency specializing in services for homeless veterans in the nation.
 
The organization has served more than 10,000 veterans since then. The organization serves 122 clients daily across six different facilities, and its budget has increased from $80,000 to $4.5 million.

Three new retail openings in Germantown-Collierville

Block Advisors, a division of H&R Block, opened its first office in the Memphis area at 7730 Wolf River Blvd in Germantown earlier this year joining several growing businesses celebrating recent openings in the Germantown-Collierville area.
 
Block Advisors offer personal tax preparation and small business services including bookkeeping and payroll.
 
“The main difference between us and a regular retail office is that our tax professionals have an average of 18 years of experience, and they have specialized training in business services and corporations,” said Block Advisors office manager Joe Justin. “And we are open year-round.”
 
The office employs 15 people heading into its busiest time of the year, and Justin expects that number to hold steady through the rest of this year.
 
“Previously H&R Block had an upscale set of offices called premier offices where we would do corporations, businesses, and more difficult returns,” said Justin. “So we combined those two offices,which were in Memphis and in Bartlett. We still also do individual tax returns, and we’re trying to focus more on businesses and corporations,” he added.
 
The Block Advisors name debuted two years ago and plans are to expand its presence in the Memphis area in the future.
 
The Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce also recently held ribbon cuttings for The Skin Clinics at 1300 Wolf Park and Marco’s Pizza Collierville at 930 West Poplar in Collierville.
 
The Skin Clinics has multiple franchise locations around the Memphis area. They help treat, cleanse, rehydrate and rejuvenate skin to minimize imperfections such as scars, blemishes, dry skin and wrinkles.
 
Services include laser hair removal, massage therapy, facials, waxing and custom spray tanning.
 
Marco’s Pizza continues to open new area locations with its growth into Collierville. The restaurant makes pizza the authentic Italian way with dough made fresh in store every day, a special three-cheese blend, and a sauce recipe that hasn't changed since its founding in 1978. 

Repurposing of Old Dominick Distillery poses challenges

 While construction is slated to wrap up in next few weeks on the renovation of D. Canale & Co.’s Old Dominick Distillery, the whiskey is ahead of schedule. The distillery announced last week that it has already started aging its first barrels of whiskey at the facility. Getting to this point with the more than $10 million restoration project was not without its unanticipated challenges.
 
The biggest hurdle of repurposing of the early 1900s-era Memphis Machine Works and Supply building on Front Street, which years ago had been used for making industrial-grade woodworking tools, involved putting in massive grain storage silos in the back of the building.
 
“When we dug up the old concrete there, the old railroad track that ran down Wagner was still in place,” said Hans Bauer, project manager for Archer Custom Builders, the general contractor. “So we had to pull out all the old railroad ties. Once we did that we had geotechnical engineers come in, and they told us the soil was too wet to support a 100,000-pound grain silo.”
 
The solution was to drill 32 helical piers measuring roughly 30 to 40 feet each down beneath each leg of each silo to support the weight.
 
The distillery is actually three buildings, all built at different times, that are connected into one structure. The  55,000-square-foot interior has all new electrical consisting of miles of conduit. The far north building holds the fermentation tanks as well as a future restaurant.
 
“We demoed out a lot of old concrete and replaced with it with new,” said Bauer. “And we had to cut holes for the fermentation tanks to come through the floor.”
 
For the enthusiasts lounge/VIP tasting area on the second floor of the southernmost building, a new slab was poured over the existing slab to raise the floor, and a glass wall leads out onto a newly created roof terrace that overlooks the city.
 
All of the glass of the old warehouse windows, which are the original to the building, had to be replaced, and now complements a good amount of new glass and millwork throughout the facility.
 
The outside was given some street appeal with fresh paint for the entire building, new storefront windows and front door as well as brick work. A Corten rusting grid wall system was installed inside the entrance to enhance the overall industrial vibe.

D. Canale & Co.’s Old Dominick Distillery will feature the vodka and whiskey distillery, a mill works for whole grains, a bottling operation and warehouse space for barreling whiskies. The facility will also feature two tasting rooms, host tours, 10,000 square feet of event space and 5,000 square feet of restaurant space.
 
LRK created the project’s design; HNA Engineering handled mechanical, electrical and plumbing needs; CSA were the structural engineers, and Geotech Inc. was brought in for geotechnical advice on the grain silos. Riverfront Development Corp. is the developer.
 
A grand opening to the public is likely in the fall.

Mayor Stricklandís first State of the City address touts new development

Development happening throughout the area figured heavily in Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s first State of the City address last week at the weekly meeting of the Frayser Exchange Club.
 
Strickland touted many of the city’s recent development accomplishments along with steps that are underway to strengthen public safety.
 
“Today in Memphis, I am proud to report: There is some $7 billion in recently completed, under construction, or on-the-drawing board development, much of which is going toward re-imagining historic assets,” said Strickland, who also cited the fact that the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. regional distribution building is occupied for the first time in a quarter century.
 
He recognized ServiceMaster’s decision to keep its 1,200 jobs in Memphis and move into the former Peabody Place mall Downtown this spring as well as St. Jude Children’s Hospital bringing more than 1,800 jobs and billions in development to the city.
 
He said that in the past year minority and women-owned businesses have made up a larger portion of city contract spending and are up 30 percent compared to the previous year.
 
Strickland also announced the national My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will hold a “Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit” job fair in Memphis on April 20.
 
The national initiative from President Obama is geared to individuals between the ages of 16 and 29 and similar events have been very successful in places like Detroit and Oakland.
 
Other major achievements of the past year include Memphis’ new down payment assistance program through the Division of Housing & Community Development, which has helped 65 families purchase homes in targeted areas, and the Work Local program, a partnership with the Hospitality HUB to offer work to homeless individuals which has helped 70 people since launching in November.
 
Creating a new Violent Crimes Bureau at the Memphis Police Department and doubling city support for the street-level gang intervention program 901 BLOC Squad are on the immediate public safety agenda along with the plan for more graduates to come out of the police academy.
 
“No question about it, the most important role for city government is providing for public safety,” Strickland said. “The steps that we’re describing today will further strengthen the city’s commitment.”
 
Public libraries will be open longer hours this summer, and community centers will hold spring break camps next month, he added.

Whitehaven family-run pharmacy & herbal medicine shop freshens up


With the plan of continuing to help serve the community’s uninsured with their medicinal needs, family-owned and operated Champion’s Pharmacy and Herb Store at 2369 Elvis Presley Boulevard is undergoing a much-needed upgrade of its facilities.
 
Dr. Charles A. Champion opened the pharmacy and store in South Memphis in 1981 and moved it to its current location in 1991. The pharmacy building was built in 1962 and was Harlow’s Donuts until it was sold to Dr. Champion in 1991.
 
Champion was the first African-American pharmacist at John Gaston Hospital which is now known as Regional One Health. He’s now 86 years old and still comes in to the pharmacy most afternoons to help his daughters, pharmacists Dr. Carol Champion and Dr. Charita Champion-Brookins, who now handle the day-to-day operations.
 
“Most of our customers who come in are uninsured and are looking for alternative meds,” said Dr. Carol Champion. “We do not fill prescriptions. We do a lot of herbal medicines.”
 
Time-tested herbal remedies might be sought to help treat a stomach ailment or a skin rash.
 
“We compound our own. We make soaps, ointments, creams, cough syrups, and things for gout and eczema,” said Champion. “We used to be a full-fledged pharmacy, and we decided years ago that we needed to find an alternative way to survive.”
 
About the 30 percent of the pharmacy’s business comes from online sales, and it also specializes in hard-to-find items like Father John’s cough syrup, Swamp Root (for kidney ailments) and Watkin’s liniments for arthritis.
 
Many of the other businesses in the neighborhood have closed or relocated elsewhere.
 
The family is upgrading the pharmacy thanks to a recently awarded $20,000 Inner City Economic Development loan from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County.
 
“A lot of the businesses are in need of an upgrade in the area, so when I was told about the EDGE program I felt our pharmacy would be a great start to try to make the neighborhood look better,” said Champion.

She used her own money to go ahead and start work on the 2,635-square-foot pharmacy’s interior, including new paint, shelving and compartments. The ICED funds will be used to help with needed roof work, parking lot repairs, exterior paint and an update to the façade and signage. Perkins & Son is handling much of the work. Total project costs are estimated at $33,600.

South Memphis recycling facility expands

Entrepreneur Fred Spikner plans to create five to seven jobs over the next couple of years.
 
His $30,000 redevelopment effort at Park Place Recycling & Logistsics will have a significant impact on the surrounding South Memphis neighborhood.
 
is growing operations at his second business, Park Place Recycling & Logistics at 815 East Georgia Avenue in South Memphis, with $30,000 in renovations underway and plans to hire five to seven people over the next couple of years.
 
The facility at 815 East Georgia Avenue was recently approved for a $20,000 Inner City Economic Development loan from finance committee of the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County.
 
Park Place recycles and processes paper and cardboard products from commercial clients within a seven-mile radius of its facility, and it sets up export shipping to foreign buyers.
 
Spikner has helped to revitalize the abandoned building and nearby area, hiring several employees over the years from the neighborhood.
 
It turns out he got into the recycling business through a strange twist of fate. His first business, Spikner Embroidery and Screen Printing, has been in operation in South Memphis for 20 years, and he joined the Memphis Rotary Club through running that business.
 
“The Memphis Rotary led me to go on a clean water trip to Honduras, and while I was there I saw that recycling could be a big asset for them. I really looked forward to going back there and trying some recycling efforts,” Spikner said.
 
When he returned to Memphis, his real estate agent showed him a building that was for sale, and the previous owner had left behind a recycling bailer. He bought the machine and the warehouse and has slowly grown a recycling business from there over the past four years.
 
Today Park Place has a staff of ten, and he expects to grow that number to 17 in the next couple of years.
 
The ICED funds will help with the costs for new lighting and docks doors for the 115,000-square-foot facility, which is surrounded on three sides by residential developments and on one side by commercial activity.
 
Spikner applied for assistance to help improve the appearance to the exterior of the building and screen the operations from neighborhood residences. 
 
“We’re actually getting a fence put up, as well as some security to go with it. We’re just trying to spruce up the area with the loan,” he said. “It’s a real help with what we’re doing. It seems like it came at the right time. It’s been a blessing.”

$60M down payment fund invests in Memphis' "hardest hit" neighborhoods

Area first-time home buyers got a big lift with the announcement on Feb. 6 of a $60 million down payment assistance program expected to stoke home sales and stabilize home values in 21 targeted zip codes in West Tennessee including many in the Memphis area.
 
Tennessee Housing Development Agency executive director Ralph M. Perrey announced the Hardest Hit Fund – Down Payment Assistance (HHF-DPA) program at a press conference in Frayser on Monday.
 
“This is something we’ve been working on for a long time because we have recognized that there are still neighborhoods in Memphis that have not recovered as fully from the Great Downturn, and we wanted to be a part of that solution and put some dollars together,” said Perrey.
 
“The idea here that neighborhood investment requires more than investment; it requires the presence of an invested owner.”
 
The event was held at a once-blighted model home at 3309 Riney Street. Frayser Development Corp. restored the house after it sat vacant for more than nine years and was eventually condemned. The 1,200-square-foot home is now on the market for $64,500.
 
Home buyers who purchased a home in certain targeted ZIP codes of the city using THDA’s Great Choice Home Loan program can apply for $15,000 in HHF-DPA assistance toward the down payment and closing costs in the form of a forgivable second mortgage loan.
 
There are no monthly payments on the second mortgage loan during its ten-year term, and it does not accrue any interest. THDA will forgive 20 percent of the second mortgage loan each year starting in year six. Buyers must live in the home and not refinance, sell or move out during the ten years to reap the full benefit.
 
Another housing assistance program was developed last year by the City of Memphis through the Division of Housing and Community Development, and it allows individuals and families who earn less than 200 percent of the area median income to access up to $10,000 towards the purchase of a new home in 14 ZIP codes in Memphis.
 
Approximately $500,000 was allocated to support the effort in July of 2016, and the city has already helped more than 65 families purchase homes in the inner city of Memphis.
 
“We’ve utilized nearly all of the funds for this program in only a few short months,” said City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “It shows there is a big demand to purchase homes in our community and more resources are needed.
 
The more stable our neighborhoods become, the more our tax base grows, the more families move into stabilized neighborhoods, educational outcomes increase, and ideally we have less crime and blight due to new homeowners in the community with a vested interest.”

New casual dining option opens at the Brooks Museum

Visitors to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art during its centennial celebration this year can now enjoy a light snack with a latte or a glass of wine from the new Café Brooks, a casual and family-friendly eatery from the team of Paradox Catering & Consulting, including chefs Jimmy Gentry and Jessica Lambert and owner/CEO Alia Hogan.
 
“We felt in this new day, our priority should be to present art and offer a more casual café with quick-to-serve menu options that are also delicious,” said Dr. Emily Ballew Neff, Brooks Museum executive director.
 
“Memphis has a reputation for great food so there are many formal dining options near Overton Park for visitors who would like to include having a sit-down meal before or after their museum experience.”
 
Paradox will operate the newly created café located inside the museum’s rotunda. The café went into an existing retail space that was divided to accommodate the new offering and a revised museum store.
 
The grab-and-go menu includes bagels, croissants, cookies, hummus, soups and salads, as well as Korean BBQ tacos and sandwiches such as a reuben on a pretzel croissant. Beverages includes several types of coffee drinks, as well as teas, wine and Memphis-brewed beer.
 
“Because we are surrounded by fine art, we have certain parameters in place in terms of insurance, liability, and so forth, and so we needed to be able to work with a group sensitive to the daily demands of an art museum,” said Ballew Neff.
 
The museum’s previous restaurant, the Brushmark Restaurant at the Brooks, closed in February 2016, and that space underwent several renovations including new windows with allow visitors an unobstructed view of Overton Park. Now named the Terrace Room it is a rental space for corporate and social events. The renovations are all part of the museum’s centennial celebration.
 
The opening of the café coincided with the opening of the highly acclaimed public art installation Brooks Outside: Intrude.

State-of-the-art early childhood academy set to open in South Memphis

Porter-Leath’s new Early Childhood Academy will welcome its first students on Feb. 10 at a site adjacent to its existing S. Lauderdale campus in South Memphis.
 
The $9 million state-of-the-art preschool and teacher training institute will provide comprehensive early childhood education and support services for underprivileged children from infancy to age five as well as their families, along with professional training and development for preschool teachers and educators.
 
Porter-Leath serves approximately 12,000 students per year, most from low-income or at-risk families, at its 14 area locations. Upwards of 10 percent its students are disabled.
 
Flintco Construction broke ground on the new academy last March and construction wrapped up last month. Early learning facility specialist RDG Planning and Design of Omaha, Neb., created the plans for the 16-classroom, 32,000-square-foot building, which will accommodate 224 students.
 
Child-friendly architecture accentuates natural light, lush landscapes and bright colors that enrich learning opportunities. The design incorporates local culture, history and geography into safe, inviting spaces that encourage play and exploration.
 
“The river and forest elements of Memphis flow throughout the building,” said Rob Hughes, development director for Porter-Leath. “It’s even incorporated into the walls with wavy wood in the hallways like a river that the kids can run their hands on, and on the other side with the forest there is hard wood flooring that looks like a tree with some wraps to make it engaging in the hallways, not just in the classroom.” 
 
The center has an on-site kitchen for preparing meals for the kids, and a playground area on the back of the facility wraps around to the front gives students a chance for creative play.
 
“It really opens up the learning environment,” said Hughes.
 
The academy’s training and meeting rooms are open for community use for things like financial literacy education sessions and nutrition seminars.
 
A focal point of the new school will be the teacher excellence program, developed in partnership with Shelby County Schools to provide continual training for preschool educators.
 
“There’s really nothing like it in the country,” said Hughes. “We want to educate not only our teachers and educators but also educators from around the community like those working at daycares or other preschool providers. The goal is to make sure quality is enhanced community-wide.”
 

MEMPopS announces expansion to Crosstown Concourse

Local gourmet frozen popsicle purveyor MEMPopS is expanding to its second location in April with a spot secured in the new Crosstown Concourse development.
 
MEMPopS owner Chris Taylor found inspiration to open his own frozen popsicle business last year after seeing similar successful concepts in other cities. Now he plans to bring his unique frozen refreshments to Crosstown and has signed on for a 650-square-foot space.
 
“I live two blocks from Crosstown, and I’ve been watching the construction,” said Taylor. “So I approached them.”
 
Once an abandoned 10-story Sears regional distribution center, the iconic building is being transformed into a mixed-use community with 270 residential units above commercial, retail and community spaces. Other tenants include a vegan organic restaurant, grocery store, art gallery, coffee shop, greenhouse space, pharmacy, health center, YMCA, and eventually a school.

Other Crosstown tenants will include Methodist Healthcare, Church Health, Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors, Crosstown Arts, The Curb Market Crosstown, LEDIC, NexAir, ISS Facility Services, ALSAC, Mama Gaia and G4S.
 
Over the next few months the Crosstown restaurant space will be designed and built out for a projected April opening.
 
“We make all-natural, hand-crafted popsicles here on site (in East Memphis), and we’ll be making popsicles at Crosstown as well,” said Taylor. “All of our flavors are seasonal so they will change throughout the year.”
 
During the winter months, cream-based popsicle flavors are popular including a Canoli popsicle, peppermint fudge and key lime pie, as well as blood orange and grapefruit since they are currently in season.
 
Summertime flavors might include cherries, peaches or watermelon. For an upcoming Valentine’s Day special, the Ridgeway MEMPopS location is making chocolate-dipped strawberries and chocolate-dipped popsicles.
 
“We have a lot of local fruit coming in, so we buy it and make popsicles from it,” said Taylor.
 
Taylor worked out a deal with fellow Crosstown tenant the ShoreTel Center to use its kitchen/commissary for making the popsicle mixes, and the pops will be frozen in the MEMPopS store.
 
The first MEMPopS store opened last March at 1243 Ridgeway Road in East Memphis and the light blue MEMPopS popsicle truck can be found at various events around town.
 
Taylor expects to hire six to ten employees at the new Crosstown location by the summer.
 
For future plans, he hopes to be able to open a couple more MEMPopS stores in the next few years.

Five upcoming projects that will change Memphis neighborhoods

This year will see the opening of several high-profile, big-impact projects across the city. We take a quick look at a few developments that will change the way we live, eat and play in Memphis.
 
1. Crosstown Concourse mixed-use development
The first residents began moving into the $115 million, 10-story complex at the start of the year, and commercial and non-profit tenants are gearing up for an official grand opening in May. The project is expected to revitalize and area that had deteriorated over the past several decades as the building sat empty.
 
LRK designed a “vertical urban village” concept for the 1.5-million-square-foot mixed-use space that was built in the late 1920s and formerly used as a Sears regional distribution center.
 
Along with 265 residential units, Crosstown integrates commercial, retail, health and wellness, arts and culture, and education. Tenants will include Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Church Health, Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors, Crosstown Arts, The Curb Market Crosstown, LEDIC, NexAir, ISS Facility Services, ALSAC, Mama Gaia Gestalt Community Schools, Memphis Teacher Residency, MEMPops, G4S, Temple Israel, and many more.
 
Tech901 was the first business to move in December and Mama Gaia and Church Health start moving in January.
 
2. D. Canale & Co.’s Old Dominick Distillery
Construction will wrap up by the first of March on Memphis' first whiskey distillery and tasting room, D. Canale & Co.’s Old Dominick Distillery. Operations should begin this summer, with a grand opening to the public in the fall.
 
The more than $10 million restoration project involved repurposing the 1920s-era Memphis Machine Works and Supply building on Front Street. The facility had been used for making industrial-grade woodworking tools.
 
“It will still have a raw, industrial look,” said Hans Bauer, project manager with Archer Custom Builders, which handled the construction. “And we built a roof terrace with a big glass wall that overlooks the city and the river.”
 
LRK handled the architectural redesign of the 54,297-square-foot space to house the distillery, a mill works for whole grains, a bottling operation, and warehouse space for barreling whiskies. The facility will also feature two tasting rooms, host tours, 10,000 square feet of event space and 5,000 square feet of restaurant space.
 
3. Binghampton Gateway Center
The absence of convenient groceries in Binghampton is about to be a thing of the past, as construction is underway on the Binghampton Gateway Center, a project that will bring a Save-A-Lot grocery store, a Dollar Tree retail outlet, and other new businesses to the depressed area.

The $7 million project was the first to benefit from the Community Builder PILOT through EDGE, the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County. Nearly 30 percent of the households in the neighborhood don not own a vehicle.
 
“There are 8,000 people that live within walking distance of this location, and there are about 3,000 homes in this general neighborhood,” said John Lawrence, EDGE manager of strategic economic development planning. “So access to the grocery and Dollar Tree are big benefits, and there will be 7,000 square feet of other retail associated with this project. We’re excited about because it serves the neighborhood, and we think it could serve a much larger geography.”

Linkous Construction is the general contractor on the five-acre, 50,000-square-foot development, and Fleming Architects is the architect.
 
4. One Family Memphis
Tom Shadyac's $10 million plan for the One Family Memphis complex in the abandoned Soulsville Towne Center is important to the community because it has been vacant literally since it was constructed. The development of that project stalled years ago during the Great Recession.
 
Shadyac, who bought the property at a bankruptcy for $1.9 million in August 2015, plans to bring in a climbing gym and pay-what-you-can restaurant for the community.
 
His group broke ground on the first phase of the project last summer. A 35,000-square-foot recreation center will include rock walls as high as 45 feet tall, flex space for gym equipment and exercise classes, and a juice bar. LRK is the project’s architect.

Across the sidewalk, a vacant building will be transformed into a 400-seat performing arts center and a 10,000-square-foot restaurant.
 
5. Ballet Memphis
Construction on the new $21 million Ballet Memphis headquarters in Midtown at the corner of Madison and Cooper should be completed by next summer, with Ballet Memphis expected to start moving in by June and a grand opening anticipated in September.
 
The project adds an another marquee attraction to the thriving Overton Square area, home to a variety of theaters, playhouses, restaurants, and retail options. The new facility, designed by archimania, replaces the former French Quarter Inn on the property, which sat abandoned for many years.
 
The largest professional studio in the new 38,000-square-foot Ballet Memphis will measure 5,000 square feet with 45-foot-high ceilings encased in glass on three sides.
 
“The idea of transparency runs all though this building and offers good natural light to dancers and to the people who are working here,” said archimania Principal Todd Walker. “The idea is you can walk down the sidewalk and look into one of the studios, or you can duck into a courtyard and feel a little more private.”
 
Plans also call for a costume shop and a large outdoor urban plaza with public art. 

Community LIFT launches fund to boost community development

Community LIFT is taking applications for its new CDC capacity building fund, made possible by investments from the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development, Assisi Foundation, Hyde Family Foundations, and the Kresge Foundation.

The fund, the city’s only dedicated source of funding solely for community development corporations, will help with revitalization efforts in blighted neighborhoods.
 
Founded in 2010, Community LIFT. assists communities through strategic investments in human capacity-building and economic and community development that result in sustainable communities.

The fund was created after Community Lift’s 2015 State of the Memphis CDC Industry Report identified the local CDC sector as severely underfunded and operating with limited capacity.
 
“The creation of this fund confirms that we are resolute in our simple premise: When invested in, nurtured and operating with sufficient capacity, CDCs can deliver and support measurable community transformation to impoverished neighborhoods that have languished for decades,” said Community Lift president Eric Robertson in a statement.

“Increased investment toward building CDC capacity will enable them to take on projects that will support housing, commercial and recreational redevelopment in their respective communities.”
 
Local CDCs are nonprofit, community-based organizations focused on the community engagement, physical and economic revitalization of the areas in which they are located.

These typically low-income, underserved neighborhoods that have experienced significant disinvestment, and CDCs fill a need in furthering housing development, economic development, neighborhood planning, infrastructure, and the development of community facilities.

The total funds awarded from the new fund will not top $500,000, according to Nefertiti Orrin, Community Lift Grants Director. Grants are expected to range from $700 to $30,000 depending on the current capacity of the organization. Orrin is not sure the total number of grants that will be awarded as this is the first year of the fund.
 
Only CDCs can apply. The grant application period closes on February 17.

Children's Museum of Memphis gets 100-year-old carousel spinning again

An historic attraction from the Memphis of yesteryear is set to make its return by this fall, when the grand carousel ride from the former Libertyland amusement park will debut as part of a new expansion at the Children’s Museum of Memphis.
 
Construction on the 20,000-square-foot expansion to the museum got underway near the end of last summer. Ohio-based Carousels & Carvings Inc. is at work restoring the 48 horses and two sleighs of the 100-plus-year-old carousel. 
 
“It’s a beloved artifact that a lot of people have a strong attachment to,” said Tim Michael, co-owner of designshop pllc, the architecture and design firm for the $5 million project.

The general contractor on the project is Montgomery Martin Contractors, and civil and structural engineering is provided by Davis Patrikios Criswell.

Libertyland may have closed in 2005, but its cornerstore ride is off to a new life.
 
Carousels & Carvings traveled to Memphis in 2009 to disassemble the carousel, which had been locked up for years in a tractor trailer with the doors welded shut so that no one could damage the pieces, which are valued at more than $1 million. 
 
The restoration includes stripping the paint layer by layer from the carousel parts and doing analysis to determine the original colors used.
 
“We’ve seen a couple of the horses come back completely restored, and they just look magnificent,” said Michael. “When the carousel comes back, it will be as close to the original as it could possibly be.”
 
The children’s museum acquired the rights to the ride from the city of Memphis. The museum itself is built inside a World War II-era army building, and an adjacent army building immediately next door houses the museum’s administrative offices.
 
“The new addition will serve as a linkage between those two buildings, and that linkage will be the new entry specifically to the carousel portion of the museum,” said Michael.
 
The expansion includes a 20-foot lobby with glass on the north and south sides as well as a large banquet hall that will be available for special events of up to 300 people.
 
“The idea is that the carousel, although it is the centerpiece of the project, will be a backdrop to the banquet hall,” said Michael.
 
The carousel will be reassembled inside a carousel house, a large circular glass enclosed structure with a sweeping wooden roof about 40 feet off the ground. The grand carousel is one of the oldest all-horse carousels in the nation. It was built in 1909 by William H. Dentzel, who also designed some carousel houses.
 
“The profile of our roof is patterned after one of the early 1900-era structures by Dentzel,” said Michael. “So, architecturally, it will tie back and pay homage to him.”
 
As people ride the carousel, they will be able to see great views out north to Central Avenue.
 
“And as you are driving by on Central at nighttime, because there is so much glass you will be able to see the lights of the carousel as it’s spinning inside,” explained Michael. “So we think it’s going to be pretty spectacular.”
 

Craft brewery taps Cordova for first draft

Ben Pugh and Richie EsQuivel aren’t afraid to meddle with the beer-making process in search of that perfect pint. The pair of friends formed the Meddlesome Brewing Co. and are planning to open a new brewery and taproom in Cordova later this year, hopefully by the spring.
 
“Memphis is still a very untapped market when it comes to beer, especially when you compare it to places like Portland, Ore., or Asheville, N.C., so we decided to do something right here in our own backyard,” said Pugh, who lives not far from the new location.
 
He and EsQuivel have been avid home brewers for many years.
 
“We actually met at a local home brewers club in which I was president, and we just hit it off as friends,” said Pugh.
 
The Meddlesome brewery and taproom will be located in an industrial strip center on Trinity Blvd. near Germantown Road. LRK Architects handled the interior layout and design of the 5,000-square-foot space, and Walker & Associates is the general contractor.  
 
The taproom will measure approximately 1,500 square feet, with the remainder of the space being used for the production area.
 
“We’ll be housing a 20-barrel brew house in there, so we’ll be able to easily produce 3,000 to 4,000 barrels of beer per year out of this location,” said Pugh.
 
A blond ale will be one the company’s flagship beers, along with an American IPA and an American brown ale. Meddlesome will sign on with a distributor and will produce only draft beer to be sold in bars and restaurants around town in the beginning.
 
“Eventually we will also be doing cans,” said Pugh. “That will be further down the road but within our first two years of operation.”
 
The overall cost to get the brewery up and running is expected to top $200,000.
 
Pugh expects to have a small staff of four or five to start out, with more possibly needed to help with the taproom.
 
Eclectic Ales, his brewery equipment company, will continue to operate independently of the new brewery.
 
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