MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – After more than a decade of debate, redevelopment of the Memphis Fairgrounds may finally be moving forward. The plan is to build not only a sports complex, but a mixed-use and retail area.
Tuesday, the city announced its intention to enter into an agreement with developers for that mixed-use area. City leaders hope construction will be underway by early next year.
“I’m glad somethings being done,” said resident Jeff Stark.
“If it’s going to benefit the youth of this city and give ‘em something to do, that’s excellent. That’s what we need around here, redeveloping this area around here,” said resident Bobbie Henderson.
The city of Memphis announced two companies, M & M Enterprises and Belpoint REIT, will handle the retail and mixed-use portion of the project. It will consist of retail space, multifamily housing, and a hotel.
The city of Memphis plans to develop a youth sports complex on the southwest portion of the property. It is expected to be 190,000 square feet and include an indoor track and outdoor areas for the community.
“Our goal is to do everything we can to ensure it meets the needs of the community, the needs of the project in terms of financing, and meets the needs of the visitors who will come to the site in the future. It’s a tough balance. We’ve done a lot of community engagement and had a lot of input from the community,” said Paul Young, Director of Housing and Community Development.
“Where’s the money coming from,” asked resident Brian Cook. That’s what many are asking.
The mixed-use development will be privately funded. The hope is that it will generate enough sales tax to fund the city’s portions through what’s called a TDZ.
“It’s a difficult project, so it takes a little bit of time, but we believe within the next 8 or so months we are going to see movement,” said Young. “The private development is what’s going to drive the sales tax revenue, which drives the TDZ, so this is an important step for us to be able to achieve the vision of the project.”
With all the future new construction, what does this mean for the shuttered Coliseum?
“I think it presents opportunity for the Coliseum right now. We don’t have immediate plans for the Coliseum, but I believe all of the activity of the sight adds to the momentum, and I think there will be more development interest in the Coliseum long term,” said Young.