Legal fight aims to stop construction of new Brooks Museum

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:50 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Brooks Museum’s new home in Downtown Memphis is in jeopardy after litigation temporarily halted its construction.

A group of citizens say the new building would prohibit residents from enjoying the riverfront.

Both sides made their argument in court Wednesday.

After nearly six hours of witnesses’ debate, the chancellor said she needs more time to review the evidence. However, the temporary restraining order expired Wednesday, giving the Brooks Museum the ability to continue with construction plans.

The new Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is planned to span a full city block at the corner of Front Street between Monroe and Union Avenue, right where the old fire station and parking garage used to be.

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Downtown mockup
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Downtown mockup(Action News 5)

The petitioners are Friends of the Riverfront, made up primarily of heirs to the founders of this city.

They argued in court the new museum blocks the public promenade or public easement that the land was intended for in the original deed back in 1820.

The complainants say the new 122,000-square-foot building would block the views of the riverfront.

Attorneys for the Brooks Museum argue the museum is a public community project, a cultural amenity that will not only provide art education but also “a game changer” for the citizens of Memphis.

They also argue the design of the building will continue to allow citizens to enjoy the riverfront views and access to the river.

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