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.

Caritas Village is one of the few dining options in Binghampton, which is classified as a food desert.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.

The Soulsville Towne Center, which was intended to be an economic shot-in-the-arm for Soulsville, has sat empty since construction stopped in 2009.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. 

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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