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Memphis City Council makes way for Downtown Parking and passes unlawful eviction ordinance

Tuesday's meeting addressed wrongful evictions and the problems they cause as well as the additional parking for Downtown Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Plans are on track for the planned Downtown Mobility Center.

Tuesday, the Memphis City Council approved a special use permit for the $62-million project to be located at Beale and South Main. The Downtown Memphis Commission promises the 9-story building will be more than a 1,400 space parking garage.

Meant to improve parking in Downtown, the center will feature lockers and storage for cyclists with accommodations for scooter riders and rideshare travelers. A rooftop restaurant is planned to be reached by a picturesque staircase on the building's south side.

The Mobility Center is expected to be completed by 2023.

Also Tuesday, the Council approved an ordinance to address unlawful evictions and the blight they cause.

As renters, unable to pay their rent, struggling to catch up after financial challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and landlords begin the eviction process, concerns over curbs strewn with personal belongings are growing.

The backlog of eviction cases is expected in Shelby County Court is mounting and Council member J.B. Smiley wants to get ahead of what could be a destressing situation for evicted tenants and a messy situation for the city.

Current ordinances prohibit the landlord from removing an evicted tenants belongings until 48 hours after a judgement of possession is issued in favor of the landlord.

Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson said Tuesday evening that landlords to be given enough time adjust to whatever changes in ordinances are to come to avoid any penalties, if any, that may come.

The new ordinance would would classify as a misdemeanor for any landlord to place a tenants personal item on the street, curb, sidewalk, utility easement or public right of way and after 72 hours the abandoned belongings must be discarded from property in what a reasonable manner.