Gestalt Community Schools hope to revive once-magical Majestic building

Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new plan could be bringing the magic back to the Majestic.

In its heyday, the Majestic was a massive, 20-screen movie theater in the heart of Hickory Hill. Today, unable to survive the pandemic, it sits vacant, like so many other storefronts and businesses in the southeast Memphis community. But that’s about to change.

The first grand plan to transform it, announced last year, failed. But now there’s a new vision for the old Malco theater.

Gestalt Community Schools just bought the 80,000 square foot facility and the surrounding 17 acres for $2.5 million.

Hickory Hill resident Kimberly Brown told Action News 5 she’s ready to see revitalization.

”I think that’s a good thing. At least it’s just not sitting there empty,” she said. “There are a lot of empty buildings around here that things move into and end up moving out.”

Gestalt currently operates five schools in Memphis. The plan is to move its Power Center Academy K-8 students, who currently go to school down the road in buildings Gestalt also bought and remodeled, into the renovated Majestic building. Gestalt CEO Yetta Lewis says: “We believe the partnership between school and community is critical for a thriving education system.”

Ideas for the Majestic space include an urban farm, fine arts facility, greenspace for sports, physical fitness area and affordable housing.

You may remember last July, MVP3 Entertainment Group planned a $50 million transformation which would turn the theater into movie soundstages, a recording studio, restaurant and hotel. But financing on the deal fell through.

Gestalt is teaming up with Gill Properties and Pinnacle Financial Partners on their Majestic project.

“Hickory Hill is a flourishing community with a rich history, strong community partners and tremendous opportunities. One of Gestalt’s top priorities,” said CEO Lewis, “is to rebuild and revitalize the communities where our scholars live, learn and play. This broadens our impact.”

Welcome words for Kimberly Brown, whose daughter Graceland will be school-age before she knows it.

“She’s 3, so she’s got awhile,” said Brown. “But that’s good for families with children. There are several charter schools in the area. I know as far as my friends who have children, charter schools are a bit more sought after, less crowded, smaller classrooms sizes. Hopefully they can get one-on-one teaching with smaller groups.”

There’s no word when construction is supposed to start. But over the next two months, Gestalt plans to host town hall meetings to figure out what Hickory Hill residents need and want in their community.

Copyright 2022 WMC. All rights reserved.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.