MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The building boom continues in Memphis' Medical and Edge Districts.
Nestled between downtown and midtown Memphis, near many major hospitals, an area largely left behind for years is now being reborn and revitalized. That includes an area of Madison Avenue, where new apartments, offices, and stores are soon to open.
This comes as developers and small business owners are planting their stakes - and putting their faith - in the fast growing corridor.
Scott Smith is one of them.
"It's very exciting. This is going to be a different neighborhood a year from now," Smith said.
He said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to open Rootstock Wine Merchants on Madison in the Edge District..
"It's huge. I'm a longtime Memphian and I kind of remember this as a dead zone between downtown and midtown, and it's great to see it start to connect between the two," Smith added.
Smith's business is one of a half-dozen scheduled to open in the coming weeks in that area, as a major construction boom continues.
"I did not intend to be in retail again. It's what got me so excited about The Edge is what got me back in business," Smith said.
Led by the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, developers committed more than a half a billion dollars in completed or planned projects in recent years.
"It's just awesome. It just shows how important the Medical District is to the city," Memphis Medical District Collaborative President Rory Thomas said.
"We've seen an incredible amount of momentum just in the last six months," John Halford, a developer with Connect Design & Connect Development added.
He put his faith in several Edge District properties and is confident the area is transforming into a unique destination.
"It's reflective of needing to do things right, creating districts that are walkable, livable, that people want to be in," Halford added.
A key piece of that is the mixed-use Orleans Station that's under construction. The first of 372 units will open this summer, with new stores and offices to follow.
"You want a lot of rooftops in your neighborhood, so residency at The Rise and the coming Orleans Station was a major factor in us coming to the Edge," Smith said.
The Memphis Medical District Collaborative is assisted by a $30 million fund from banks and foundations to spur more diverse and inclusive development.
More than $25 million of that fund is still available for other future projects.