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City of Memphis officially proposes demolition of Mid-South Coliseum for new 901 FC stadium

The plan consists of "site and infrastructure improvements" to fulfill guidelines in accordance with the United Soccer League. Still, some aren't on board.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis does intend to demolish the Mid-South Coliseum in order to build a new soccer stadium for Memphis 901 FC, according to a request for information (RFI). 

The city put together this RFI in order to find a contractor that will do the job. 

The plan also consists of "site and infrastructure improvements" to fulfill guidelines in accordance with the United Soccer League (USL) "Stadium Development Guidelines."

These include a 6,500 to 8,000 seating capacity, 10-15 private suites, a variety of group sales and gathering areas, a stadium club and banquet facility to accommodate up to 250 guests, the ability to accommodate "event flexibility" as a "high priority" and a playing field made up of natural grass. 

Still, some feel that the cultural significance of the existing stadium should be preserved. 

Marvin Stockwell is the Co-founder of the Coliseum Coalition, a group aimed at "modernizing" the Coliseum who do not want the city to demolish the building before updating it.

"The Beatles held their press conference there when John Lennon got in hot water for saying The Beatles were more popular than Jesus," Stockwell said. "Jerry Lawler wrestled Andy Kaufman there — twice. Sinatra played there. The Rolling Stones played there. The ‘73 Tigers that went to the NCAA tournament [played there]. [It was] the first public assembly building built with racial integration in mind in the city where Dr. King was murdered — it’s kind of important."

Along with cultural reasons to keep the majority of the stadium in tact, Stockwell noted practical reasons such as the amount of square footage in the space.

"We’ve been talking for years as advocates for the building, and we haven’t run into anyone who doesn’t want to reopen it," Stockwell said. "I know that’s a far different thing than people’s money to invest, but there’s been lots of investors that have met with us with enthusiasm and then have met with the city and been met with a lack of enthusiasm. This is why we’re here. It’s hard to not look at that and think 'how hard have they really tried to redevelop it or has the plan been all along to demolish it?'"

Other details for the city's RFI plan include an estimated 5-6 acres with additional property for an entrance plaza, secured player and staff parking and truck docks.

Event parking in the city's new plan would be provided from existing surface within Liberty Park, including a "dedicated" area for premium ticket holders, according to the RFI.

The target budget for the new stadium would be $52,400,000, according to the RFI. 


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