VOL. 8 | NO. 9 | Saturday, February 21, 2015
Crosstown Project Named Crosstown Concourse
By Bill Dries
Developers of the old Sears Crosstown building formally broke ground Saturday, Feb. 21, on the project that was five years in the planning and gave it a new name – Crosstown Concourse.
Nearly a thousand people packed a tent in the shadow of the mammoth 1.5 million square foot building on a rainy, cold and overcast day that marked 88 years to the day that ground was broken in 1927 on the original Crosstown structure including the tower that will serve as an apartment building in the multi-use redevelopment.
“We never lost hope that there was a path forward,” said developer McLean Wilson who teamed with Todd Richardson in the concept of a “vertical urban village” within the building that has been vacant for 20 years.
Wilson said the vision for the property was “outlandish” and the team that formed around him and Richardson was “unconventional” in “a neighborhood most Memphians had forgotten.”
He added that the project, combining the Church Health Center, the Memphis Teacher Residency, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and St. Jude’s ALSAC fundraising arm, as well as Gestalt Community Schools, Methodist Healthcare, Rhodes College and Christian Brothers University, is a challenge to the idea that once a part of a city goes into decline “it should be written off in favor of what’s next.”
Richardson said the new name for the development reserves the general name Crosstown for the neighborhood around the iconic building and the development that its rebirth is expected to generate.
He said the goal of Crosstown Concourse is “to set new standards and expectations for development.”