Riverfront Development names Memphis native as new CEO

Riverfront Development Corporation names new CEO
Updated: Mar. 26, 2018 at 5:34 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Riverfront Development Corporation will have a new leader next month.

Monday, the RDC named native Memphian Carol Coletta as president and CEO.

The riverfront is slated to undergo a massive multimillion-dollar renovation, and Coletta will be tasked with seeing it through.

"For a project that can define our future, I can't think of anything more exciting," Coletta said.

That's how the native Memphian said she feels about taking the helm of the RDC with major changes coming.

"Our ambition for our future should be unmistakable and I believe the riverfront can be a big part of that," Coletta said.

In January 2017, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland assembled a task force to re-imagine the riverfront. Chicago architecture firm Studio Gang put together renderings for consideration.

"We're at the point where we are ready to go out raise money and transform this riverfront to something it should be for all Memphians," Coletta said.

Coletta said Phase 1 will likely cost about $60 million and would be paid for with a variety of public and private dollars consisting of eight months of design work and a year of construction.

Tom Lee Park is set to get a major makeover, the cobblestones would be restored, and the park would connect to neighboring parks.

"The last 15 years I've spent traveling around the country working on mostly other cities not my own," Coletta said.

Coletta is a nationally known figure in city planning, working now with the Kresge Foundation in Detroit. That group is allowing her to take on this role in Memphis, leading the charge as the riverfront gets a new identity.

It's projected a renovated riverfront could boast more than $660 million in economic impact.

"I always look at this as the good news...the bad news is we waited so long, the good news is we haven't made a lot of mistakes that we have to correct," Coletta said.

Coletta starts at the end of April and replaces the current CEO Benny Lendermon, who is retiring.

The RDC is also set to change its name later this month.

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