What’s going on and up in Memphis
The Memphis Evolution is well underway with developments of all kinds all over town. In our upcoming June/July issue of Inside Memphis Business, we get caught up with several of these projects, from the brand new to revivals to impressive makeovers. And we get caught up on some that are well underway. In this week’s Tip Sheet, Aisling Maki takes a look at how it’s going at the Crosstown Concourse, which will have a bustling summer with several new business openings:
Crosstown Concourse has received national notice for its reinvention as a unique mixed-use vertical urban village, and it’s hardly done growing.
The 1.2 million square-foot building in Memphis’ Crosstown neighborhood once housed a Sears, Roebuck & Co. retail store and distribution center, which closed in 1993 and sat vacant for more than two decades.
Today, the building is once again a center of activity. Renovations began in 2015, and in August of 2017, the former Sears Crosstown building was reborn as the Crosstown Concourse — a community structure where unique settings and uses are intimately related, interconnected and interdependent.
It has retail stores and restaurants, 265 apartments, and is a hub of activity grounded in three of Memphis’ strongest community assets — arts, education, and healthcare.
It’s home to founding tenants Church Health Center, the nation’s largest faith-based health care clinic, as well as a dental practice, optometrist, pharmacy, and offices occupied by employees from Methodist Le Bonheur Health Care and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Education-focused tenants include Christian Brothers University, Memphis Teacher Residency, Memphis Education Fund, Teach for America, and Crosstown High School, a public charter school that will open its doors to its first cohort of 125 freshman in August.
At the heart of the concourse is Crosstown Arts, which provides resources and creates opportunities and experiences to inspire, support, and connect a diverse range of creative people, projects, and audiences.
In early summer, a new café, whose name has not been made public, will open in the Crosstown Arts section of the building. Chef Raymond Jackson will be at the helm and the menu will use local ingredients that are in season. Crosstown Arts conceived of the idea as a café to feed participants in the organization’s full-scale artist residency program, but the team decided to also make it accessible to the public, so they can interact with the artists.
A bar with craft cocktails will be just across from the restaurant, both near the gallery space. To top it off, Crosstown Arts will open a 450-seat arts community theater this fall.
Elsewhere, Elemento Neopolitan Pizza, whose ovens were imported from Naples, is set to open in June. The pizzeria is owned by the proprietors of Collierville’s Ciao Baby Pizza.
Curb Market has downsized, making room for two more businesses – Lucy J’s Bakery and Global Café. Lucy J’s, slated to open in mid-June, is a full-service bakery specializing in special event cakes and customized baked goods. The bakery employs adults from Dorothy Day House, which serves homeless families. Global Café, a modern international food hall opening in July, will have cuisine from immigrant and refugee food entrepreneurs from Sudan, Nepal and Syria. Those restaurants will join existing restaurants like tenants Farm Burger, Mama Gaia and Next Door American Eatery.
Todd Richardson, co-director of Crosstown Arts, says, “People ask me all the time what I’m going to do next now that Concourse is finished. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever be finished. Building a meaningful community is not something you accomplish and then move on to the next project. It’s an ongoing, evolving process that takes constant time and attention. We’re learning and growing daily, and Elemento, Lucy J’s, and Global Café are exciting examples of that.”
What others are saying
– The Daily News reports that the EDGE Board has OK’d three projects that could bring 548 new jobs averaging around $50,000 per year. Read the story here.
– Smart City Memphis suggests that The Daily News is “aggressively expanding,” and that this week’s resignations of Commercial Appeal reporters/columnists Jennifer Biggs and Chris Herrington may be connected to that. There are many “ifs” here, but it’s a tantalizing scenario for Memphis media watchers. Read Smart city’s blog item here.
– The American Queen Steamboat Co. ditched Memphis for New Albany, Indiana, its new HQ. But, the Memphis Business Journal reports, at least it paid back a $9 million loan to the city. And its vessels will continue to bring tourists to Memphis. For more on this bad news/good news situation, go here (subscription).
Cream of the Crop
Leadership Memphis, the organization that prepares and mobilizes leaders to work for the good of the community, is accepting applications for its 40th anniversary class, the Executive Program of 2019, which begins in August.
Leadership Memphis develops community change agents, connects them with others who have a passion to serve, and empowers them with information and opportunities to make a difference. “Our Leadership Memphis program brings together the brightest local executives so they can learn more about themselves, each other, and the greater community,” says David Williams, Leadership Memphis President/CEO. “The Executive Program does not teach participants to be leaders – it helps leaders learn about our community.”
More than 4,000 alumni have completed the Executive, FastTrack, and Grassroots programs. To nominate a candidate or apply online visit leadershipmemphis.org.
Survey: Small biz increasing online investments
Small businesses seeking to capitalize on improved economic conditions are planning to make their social media and online presence a greater priority this year, according to a SunTrust Banks survey of more than 500 small business owners. The study says one in three is likely to invest in “social media and online presence.” About the same proportion – 34 percent – wants to develop their internet and social media skills. The survey also asked what owners would focus on if given the opportunity to start over again, and more than a third said they would give greater attention to marketing and advertising their business.
“Small business owners are increasingly seizing the power of social media to reach consumers in real time,” says Reggie Davis, head of Metro Business Banking and Small Business at SunTrust. “With 64 percent of small business owners viewing economic and business health as strong or extremely strong, now may be the right time to invest in these online channels. When business owners put best practices in place, they have greater financial confidence to pursue growth plans.”
Altha Stewart leads APA
Altha Stewart, MD, took office as president of the American Psychiatric Association at the close of the APA’s 2018 annual meeting on May 9, vowing to promote collaboration among members and across medical specialties, increase mentoring and leadership opportunities for the next generation in the profession, and improve access to mental health care for all.
Stewart is an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She’s the first African American to lead the more than 37,000-member organization since its founding in 1844. The APA sets policy, establishes practice guidelines, and represents the field of psychiatry nationally and internationally.
She grew up in South Memphis, graduated from public and parochial schools in the city, and was among the first class of women admitted to what is now Christian Brothers University. She received her medical degree from Temple University Medical School in Philadelphia, and did her residency at Hahnemann University Hospital there.
Innovators of the Year
Inside Memphis Business magazine has been recognizing the top thinkers and doers in the city for several years. Our sixth annual IMB Innovation Awards issue is coming in October and we want your nominations for these people and organizations that are at the forefront of evolution — tinkerers, questioners, visionaries — who keep the machine of commerce oiled.
Nominations have started to come in and we want you to send us your best and brightest candidates. Please include any pertinent biographical or business information, and why the person, business, or organization should be recognized as a leader among innovators.
Inside Memphis Business magazine publishes a list of local Power Players every year. These are the movers and shakers in more than 30 categories who get things done in their respective fields. IMB’s current issue has the complete list. We also publish individual categories in other issues throughout the year, and we feature individual Power Players in our weekly Tip Sheet.
Today’s Power Player: Darrell T. Cobbins
President and principal broker, Universal Commercial Real Estate, LLC. B.A., Rhodes; M.B.A., U of M. Chairman’s Circle/Board of Directors, Greater Memphis Chamber. Board of Directors, National Civil Rights Museum. 2013 Board chairman, New Memphis. Past chairman, MLGW. Recipient, 2011 Agent of Change Award, MULYP, 2012 African American Male Image Award for Business, Hobson-Goodlow Foundation. Appointed by Governor Haslam to Tennessee’s State Board of Education.