A big development needs a big empty space. It doesn’t get much bigger or much emptier than the site of the old Raleigh Springs Mall.
What had been acres of shopping became acres of vacant stores until finally, it was time to just get rid of the old building.
Mary Claire Borys of Memphis Community Development says, “It was a great sigh of relief when we finally took control of the whole property and we were able to start tearing it down.”
For six years they’ve talked about what will be here. For six years, the only thing moving on the big empty lot has been the dust.
Everything changes in a few weeks, when construction begins on a $28-million project called Raleigh Town Center.
Mary Claire Borys happens to be the project manager and says the center includes a new library, a police station, and something else.
“There’s going to be an 11-acre lake with fountains in it,” she says, “… and this lake will actually serve a dual purpose. Not only will it be an attractive water feature but will also serve as a storm water retention basin.”
A retention basin helps stop street flooding. During heavy rains, the rainwater will flow directly into the retention basin.
There wasn’t much out here before the Raleigh Springs Mall was built. It resulted in other stores, other strip malls opening up.
If there are people, there’s potential business. That’s what the Project Manager Borys hopes happens here.
“We’ve really tried to focus on how our investments in areas, like, whether its Raleigh or Whitehaven, can actually trigger additional development by the private sector.”