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Opinion | Loews leaving project does not mean downtown development has stalled | Otis Sanford

ABC 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shared his point of view on the Loews Hotels project dropping its plans in downtown Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It should not be surprising to anyone that the grand plans for a Loews high rise hotel in downtown Memphis are now off the table. But let’s be clear, the decision not to move forward with the massive project does not mean momentum for downtown development has stalled.

The Downtown Memphis Commission made it official Tuesday that the 500-room Loews Hotel at Civic Center Plaza across from City Hall is not happening, bringing to an end to plans to transform that area of downtown – including the old Memphis Police Headquarters on Adams Avenue.

The 16-story, $250 million hotel was first announced some four years ago, and downtown officials were absolutely giddy over the plans. But COVID-19 – along with trouble acquiring financing -- created delays and design changes, all leading up to the final decision to scrap the whole thing. Which is unfortunate, but by no means disastrous.

Other downtown hotel projects are moving ahead. They include plans for a hotel inside a renovated 100 North Main Building, a new Grand Hyatt at One Beale Street, and a smaller hotel that will occupy the old Royal Furniture Store on Main Street.

The point is, downtown Memphis is not starving for adequate hotel space as it continues working to attract conventions and other events to the city. Plus, a renovated convention center likely will make the site that Loews is abandoning enticing for someone else.


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