Downtown construction is booming; City leaders say they can handle growth

Updated: Nov. 15, 2019 at 9:39 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Downtown Memphis is under construction.

The Downtown Memphis Commission says it has more than $4 billion in projects either under construction or in the planning phase.

And that doesn’t include the recently announced $1.1 billion Pinch District development.

“Our master plan we’re wrapping up now says we can handle a lot of demand downtown, but we need to do it in critical chunks of activity. Otherwise you won’t see the vibrancy,” said Jennifer Oswalt, Downtown Memphis Commission.

Two critical chunks in the downtown plan include two mixed-use developments, one in the Pinch District and the other is Union Row.

Union Row developers announced they want to make an even bigger footprint downtown.

Developers want to grow Phase 1 of the Union Row project from 12 acres to just over 21 acres.

They will add hundreds of more hotel rooms and apartments to the initial phase of the project.

Oswalt says the two similar projects will not compete with each other.

“Someone may want to live near St. Jude, some may want to live on the Union pathway, closer to the heart of downtown,” said Oswalt. “We don’t see them as either, or, we see them as both great options downtown.”

There are currently more than 25 projects under construction in the downtown pipeline

“Three or four years from now when our convention center is done and the Loews hotel is underway and these two projects I mean it’s going to be a completely different downtown,” said Oswalt.

However just about all the projects currently under construction are receiving some sort of incentive through either a PILOT or grant.

Union Row developers say with the intended bigger footprint downtown, they want a net growth in public support of $35 million.

However they say the project will bring more jobs and have a bigger economic impact.

Demolition for Phase 1 of the Union Row project is slated to start next month.

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