VOL. 125 | NO. 162 | Friday, August 20, 2010
Highland Row Still in the Works
By Andy Meek
Lifestyle center developer Poag & McEwen remains committed to Highland Row, the mixed-use development the company is pursuing next to the University of Memphis, company representatives said Thursday.
Poag & McEwen president and CEO Josh Poag said the company is still getting financing in place but anticipates starting construction around the end of the year or early 2011, with a grand opening in 2012.
Another measure of its interest in the project: Poag representatives said the company would like to put its corporate headquarters there.
The company has pursued the project for a few years, though progress stalled amid the recession. Some features of the development also have changed.
As of now, for example, Barnes & Noble will not be operating the University of Memphis bookstore that will be an anchor of the development. The U of M has put out a request for proposals from companies that could operate the store, and Poag said Barnes & Noble could still end up a successful re-bidder if it chose.
Poag said the company has been in discussion with a variety of local Memphis retailers for space in the development, and it’s also offered space for the city to use as a police substation.
At a community meeting about the project Thursday night hosted by Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland, Poag representatives fielded dozens of questions relating to cleanup and maintenance of the current site.
Cost is one factor. To one questioner who asked why demolition hadn’t yet occurred, Poag put a price tag of $300,000 on demolition.
Cost is also the reason another planned Poag & McEwen project, an expansion of Saddle Creek in Germantown, has definitely stalled.
Poag distinguished that project from the roughly $70 million Highland Row.
“That one (at Saddle Creek) is five years away, at the earliest,” Poag said.