Monday, January 11, 2010

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


MEMPHIS, originally uploaded by momo (-. -)y-~~~.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hope for the Sterrick or Chickasaw Bluffing?

An interesting thread arises on the long quiet Urban Planet Memphis discussion board.

For what it's worth, I like The Memphian.

Let me go on the record in saying that I think the C and I bank building should be a Starbucks or a Chick Fil-A (or dare I say it...both). There's an alley behind it that would work for a drive through.

Actually, looking at the rendering below from when the Regional Chamber was looking at the space, and given its proximity to the Downtown School and the Law School, it might make a nice branch library to replace the Cossitt.

Maybe somebody with deep pockets like the Hyde Foundation or the Jernigans could pay for a library on the site outside the system?

Skid Row Redevelopment Update

Read about it in the Daily News

Since you'll be curious, here is an inexhaustive list of the stores in the Wolf Creek Market:

World Market
like Pier one if they didn't take themselves so seriously and stocked Marmite and imported beer. This would even draw from East Memphis

Best Buy
-it might be a good idea for MPD to relocate their theft investigation division to the front door of this store if Midtown got one, but I'd still be excited

Sports Authority
-I've maintained throughout the Bass Pro...looking for a debacle premature?...that Midtown and Downtown need a good sporting goods place to take advantage of the best outdoor activities in the city. This would be another good fit.


-Lots of pets in Midtown/Downtown

Linens N' Things
-nothing wrong with pillows

Office Depot
-big box retail that already exists in Midtown!

-enough pixels have been spilled on this one, but let's just say we the proximity is probably going to negate our gas savings

Knowledge Tree
-Ms. vi loved this place when she was a teacher, so we'd have to be on guard for impulse buys, though I love the seasonal bulletin boards she puts up in the house.

Factory Card Outlet
-I for one, am tired of paying Hallmark prices.

-I think they sell clothes, but this makes me think of Inspector Closseau, so that's a good thing.

The Melting Pot
-I'm so tired of having to drive 20 miles to get Swiss.

Chick Fil-A
-Midtown will probably need two. The pickle juice marinade is laced with cocaina. I sort of hope they put this one in the Buddhist Temple foursquare.

That is some serious deliciousness right there, better even than the 201 Poplar snack bar biscuit (doubt me if you must, but set aside an extra 10 minutes on your next traffic ticket and see if I'm wrong). I've never been to Bryant's, so I won't make the claim that the Chick Fil-A chicken biscuit is the best in town.

Anyway, I'm excited to see some discussion of this development. WSG's website is pretty slim on details of their other projects. I checked out the Canyon Ranch project mentioned in the article. Looks nice, but am I alone in wondering if the condo market for wealthy singles and retirees is a little tapped in Memphis?

Does anyone know of condo developments nationwide that actively court families with children, mixed in with the aforementioned right sizers and downsizers?I'd love to move the family to a pedestrian oriented development, but two bedrooms at $250,000 isn't going to cut it. Is a 3-4 bedroom condo priced around $200,000 outside of the realm of possibility? It seems like by courting two demographics only, the Downtown condo market has created a built-in gap.

Uptown is making a serious go at accessible New Urbanism, but they still have a long climb. Perhaps I should stay away from the Uptown Yak board, but it seems they are still experiencing a good deal of growing pains. That said, it seems doubtful that New Urbanism will ever be that successful if Mixed-Use Development = Expensive and Room for One Child.

At any rate, I'm excited that the WSG development may actually make functional use of the Madison trolley line. This is a natural fit for Medical Center students/employees headed to work/school, as well as Downtown residents headed to shop. If there are any children in the 300,000 square feet (which is only 200 units at 1500 square feet) of residential, then they could take the trolley to the Downtown Elementary School. If this all comes to pass, do you credit MATA with prescience or dumb luck?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Crosstown Development Layout

I'm excited about this. For more, click here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Visiting Whitehaven on the King's Birthday

I've spent part of the last two days traveling around Whitehaven. I think it's a fascinating area of the city, and far less blighted than its reputation in certain quarters. I tend to think that this neighborhood is a good gauge for the city as a whole in the future.

It's easy to imagine that Midtown, East Memphis, and even Downtown will remain stable communities years into the future. It's similarly easy to imagine areas like Hickory Hill, Cordova, and Berclair becoming more blighted. If you were to tell me that Whitehaven is a uniformly unsafe and blighted community in twenty years, I would expect Downtown, East Memphis, and Midtown to also be less stable. If you were to tell me that Whitehaven in twenty years is thriving, then I would probably think Berclair, Hickory Hill, and Cordova would be stable communities. This is just a hunch I have. I haven't really thought about why I think so.

The future notwithstanding, it's entirely possible to drive around Whitehaven today and have no inkling that the area has any problem with crime and neglect (mostly this involves staying away from Brooks/Millbranch area). There are a number of quite fetching neighborhoods in great condition, as well as great retail options on Elvis Presley south of Graceland.

The Elvis Presley Boulevard commercial strip, from Graceland to Shelby Drive, is very interesting to me. You don't see all of the stores that would accompany big strip developments on say Houston Levee, but the stores you do see are well kept up. Whitehaven seems to have a good number of locally owned stores, which seems very healthy. The Southland Mall is a revelation to me. The mall is spotless. People walking for fitness greatly outnumber the lingering teenagers you see in every other mall in town. I saw maybe three vacancies in the whole complex. There is a great mix of local stores and national chains. Again, the stores are not as upmarket as those you would find at Wolfchase, but are well maintained.

Whitehaven's proximity to Downtown, the Airport, and North Mississippi bode well for its future. Massive development around Graceland, as well as investment in the concept of the Aerotropolis will hopefully in sure that most of the world's first and last impression of Memphis will be a good one.

Update: Since I wrote this post last night, the Memphis Flyer has a cover story on the plans by CKX, the company that owns American Idol, to redevelop the tourist complex around Graceland. Somewhat disappointingly, the article doesn't speak much to the state of the neighborhood itself, or how such an investment will help it. The southbound approach to Graceland, which is the one used by almost all tourists is decidedly more run down than the northbound approach, so any investment there will be good. The link to the Flyer article isn't up yet, but you should be able to find it here soon:

Also of interest might be this discussion from the Smart City Memphis blog last May.

At any rate, here are some pictures from my wanderings yesterday.

Whitehaven has a good mix of residential stock:

This neighborhood is on the east side of Whitehaven between I-55 and the Airport.

There are several new subdivisions with houses like those found in Olive Branch or Cordova.

The area just west of Graceland shelters some very lovely homes on gently hilly terrain. I believe the neighborhood is named Bluebird Estates. There is some infill going on there as well, which is a healthy sign.

If you've never been, the Whitehaven Branch Library at Raines and Millbranch is lovely. It's done in an Art and Crafts style, even going so far as to include Morris Chairs and Benches for seating with Mission Style tables, as well as appropriate light fixtures. The library manager very politely asked that I not take pictures of the interior, so you'll have to go experience it for yourself. The design lends itself to a certain quiet that one expects of libraries, as opposed to the Central Library, excuse me er...the 'Infohub' which makes me want to yell loudly.

In closing I'm including a picture of Whitehaven Presbyterian on Shelby Drive, which I think rivals Holy Communion Episcopal and Evergreen Presbyterian in its combination of lovely architecture and setting.