Memphis balks at $40M Mid-South Coliseum renovation price tag

Memphis balks at $40M Mid-South Coliseum renovation price tag
Published: Nov. 1, 2017 at 2:31 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2017 at 6:11 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The City of Memphis will preserve the Mid-South Coliseum, keeping the arena closed for the foreseeable future.

City leaders confirmed a complete revival of the Coliseum would cost $40 million; this would allow the building to serve as an event venue as it did in the past.

Other options included opening the concourses for development, which the city estimated would cost $14 million, and demolition, which was estimated at an $8-10 million cost.

Ultimately, Memphis leadership went with the cheapest option: preservation. Repairs will be done to the roof, which will allow the venue to remain stable and let the city keep the option of re-opening the Coliseum in the future open. This preservation option will cost the city an estimated $500,000.

"We feel like investing the $500,000 right now to make sure the building is preserved is the most prudent thing to do, as we figure out how we might be able to bring other resources to bear for the site," Housing and Community Director Paul Young said.

City officials said they prefer to spend the $40 million to improve surrounding neighborhoods and the Memphis community as a whole.

One reason city officials cited in the decision was the lack of a clear plan for the Coliseum to be profitable and not cost taxpayers money.

The Coliseum will remain boarded up and empty as a new $80 million youth sports facility is built at the Mid-South fairgrounds.

Roy Barnes is the president of the Coliseum Coalition. He said the city's decision basically means they are revamping the fairgrounds but leaving out the most important part of the area abandoned: the Mid-South Coliseum.

"It's a bad decision, an anti-Memphis decision," Barnes said.

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