$24M City investment in blighted mall

The City of Memphis has allotted $23.7 million to the redevelopment of the Raleigh Springs Mall into a town center. The blighted former retail giant will be turned into a pedestrian friendly mixed use space including police precincts, a public library, greenspace, and recreational areas as well as retail stores.

At their Tuesday meeting this week, the Memphis City Council approved the funds for the redevelopment, following Mayor Wharton's announcement the previous week of an agreement between the City and some of the mall's owners. Though some negotiations are on-going with other owners, Wharton implied a deal was likely, but that the city could use eminent domain as a "last resort."

The Raleigh Springs Mall on Austin Peay Highway opened in 1971 and flourished until the arrival of Wolfchase Galleria drew customers away in 1997. Since then, all anchor stores steadily departed with the final one, Sears, exiting in 2011. The structure currently remains shuttered and vandalized in various stages of decay.

Numerous goals are aimed to be met via the Town Center project including job creation, decrease in area vacancies, the preservation of important cultural resources, improvement in public safety, the rebuilding of neighborhood services, and to enhance the tax base and increase development for the Raleigh area.
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