Phase 1 plans for Union Row development nearly double in size

Updated: Dec. 2, 2019 at 5:26 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A nearly $1 billion project is close to doubling its size.

Phase one of the Union Row project will begin construction in the summer, and developers are tackling more than originally planned during that phase.

While the timeline to get started hasn’t changed, instead of developing 11 acres during phase one the plan now includes 21 acres.

Union Row developer Kevin Adams said he expanded the project because there was so much interest. Instead of one hotel there will now be two, plus about 300 more apartment units.

Some of the office and market space have been scaled back, but there’s now the addition of a 117,000-square-foot innovation center combining office, education and research space.

“Innovation space -- in other words it’s made for meetings, public meetings like what you would have over at the University of Memphis Technology Center,” Adams said.

“I think this will really give it personality like you see at Crosstown,” said Downtown Memphis Commission President Jennifer Oswalt.

The work will line Union Avenue, Danny Thomas and the areas surrounding it. Instead of a price tag of more than $500 million for phase one, it will now cost around $700 million.

With the increased investment, the Center City Revenue Finance Corporation approved a change in the project’s Tax Increment Finance area from $100 million to $185 million.

Developers have decided to give back $50 million they asked for to expand parking.

“It’s actually less of an incentive percentage wise than previously for phase one,” Oswalt said.

The City Council and County Commission will hear the new plan this week. It needs the city, county and state’s approval before construction begins in 2020.

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