MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – New apartments are now opening in a once blight area of downtown Memphis – and the buzz is building.
The first families are moving into a massive redevelopment project at the former Foote Homes housing complex.
The is a major milestone for the broader South City mixed-use project off of Danny Thomas and Mississippi, which will eventually bring more than 700 apartments, parks, and schools.
But beyond the sparkling new building, South City supporters believe there’s much growth potential in the area southeast of FedExForum.
The success of South City is personal for Rebecca Hutchinson. She grew up on the property, the former Foote Homes housing complex.
“I was kind of born here, 644D Mississippi in the 1960s, so to see what has happened here is just amazing,” Hutchinson said.
The dilapidated buildings are gone; in their place, colorful and columned apartments which will soon open for hundreds of Memphis families.
A $30 million federal grant made the project possible.
“I think it’s a great change for the community,” one woman said who moved into the new Foote Park at South City this past weekend.
“Now it’s homey, safe and I think everyone here would love to be neighbors,” that woman told Local 24 News.
New neighbors mean new neighborhood opportunities as the mixed-use South City rises alongside the downtown Memphis skyline.
“As we improve the quality of life, there will be more private investment to follow,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.
And a federal housing leader said the data backs it up. According to Mindy Turbov, every $1 of federal money spent on projects like South City typically generates $7 of spending from other sources.
“We want to make sure that as this area grows, affordable housing is brought in as part of the dynamic of this area, and that’s going to happen,” Memphis Housing and Community Development Director Paul Young said.
Hutchinson, who now works with a community organization serving South City called SCORE, is optimistic and ready for a resurgence.
“Maybe a co-op, maybe some kind of incubator for small businesses,” Hutchinson said.
City of Memphis leaders said South City is expected to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023. The units of the first phase of the project are expected to be filled with families by the spring.