New trampoline park proposed for Whitehaven

Family entertainment could be on the way to Whitehaven, as developer JD USA Shopping Center plans a new offering at the Whitehaven Landing retail center at 1232 East Shelby Drive at the south end of Southbrook Mall.

The strip, which has sat vacant for years, will be anchored by Altitude Trampoline Park. When the developers bought the 74,000-square-foot building ten years ago, they planned to rent it to a big-box retailer but ran up against the neighborhood's marketability.

“Whitehaven is a difficult neighborhood, especially because a lot of big-box retailers, unfortunately, don’t want to lease out space in Whitehaven,” said the project’s Managing Director Andrew Kim, whose parents own the building.

Over the past decade, the building has had tenants from time to time, but it has sat empty for a number of years.

“We wanted to find a suitable use for the building before it became an urban blight issue in the next year or so,” said Kim. “I’ve had a lot of heartache in my life because of this building. It’s been a big question mark for my family for a long time.”

The determine the best use for the property, the Kim family consulted with community members and leaders to find out what the community needed most.

“This is a huge demographic for family entertainment, and no one’s coming forward to do a project of this magnitude,” said Kim, who previously co-founded and served as director of finance for Indy Coffee Co. in San Antonio.

Related: "Flight of the Red Lobster: Whitehaven retail adapts to Mississippi migration"

Altitude Trampoline Park will be the anchor tenant, occupying 37,000 square feet, and plans call for 15,000 square feet of additional retail space along with 17,000 square feet of flex space. The Kims signed a franchise agreement with Altitude, which has more than 50 locations across the country and internationally. This will be the first location in Tennessee.

“We feel very confident that their business model could really impact the community,” said Kim. “There’s a growing popularity right now in entertainment-based projects.”

Development costs for Whitehaven Landing are expected to top $2.5 million, and the project will create more than 50 new jobs.

Construction will likely get underway by summer, and Kim hopes to have the trampoline park and the first 3,000 square feet of frontage retail space open by the end of the year, possibly by September if all goes well.

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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.