$12 million expansion upcoming for Le Bonheur's FedExFamilyHouse

FedExFamilyHouse is planning a $12 million expansion that will nearly triple its size by 2018.

The project will bring 15 additional jobs to the Memphis Medical District property and will allow more out-of-town families of patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital free accommodations during difficult times.
“Each month we accommodate 250 to 300 families, but unfortunately we are often faced with having to turn away 30 to 40 families per month,” said Sandra Lewis, relationship manager at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

“And with the growing specialties of the hospitals like our neuro and heart programs, which a lot of those patients stay here from around the world (to benefit from), we know we are going to need the space and that’s why we’re expanding.”
Since 2010 Le Bonheur has recruited more than 100 new pediatric experts and researchers and has seen rapid growth of the hospital’s national and international reputation.
FedExFamilyHouse consists of 24 suites as well as kitchen and dining facilities, an indoor recreational space and family lounges. It opened in 2010 and has now welcomed more than 100,000 family members from across the world at no charge. Each guest stays an average of 3.2 days.
The planned expansion will include a new four-story, 40,000 square-foot building with that will connect to the current 25,000 square-foot facility. Designs for the new building include 51 rooms with 21 suites and 30 hotel-style rooms; new community spaces for gatherings, meetings, and functions and new outdoor play areas. Other amenities include a library, four large kitchens, laundry facilities, children’s play areas and outdoor gardens.
“When you check in here, it’s just like checking into a boutique hotel; there’s only one thing missing and that’s a credit card or any type of payment. Everything is complimentary,” said Lewis.
With families having their children as patients across the street, the hotel operates 24/7 and includes a stocked pantry for preparing family meals or grabbing something to go.

Wilson Hotel Properties manages the facility and will handle hiring additional staff when the expansion is completed.
“We will be hiring housekeeping and facilities management, about 15 more employees,” said Lewis.
A yearlong fundraising campaign, recently launched to raise the construction costs, began with a gift of $5 million over five years from FedEx Corp. and personal donations from FedEx Corp. president and CEO Frederick W. Smith and his wife Diane as well as FedEx Corp. EVP and CFO Alan B. Graf, Jr., and his wife Susan. 

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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