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VOL. 130 | NO. 110 | Monday, June 08, 2015

One Beale Faces Questions About Riverside Impact

By Bill Dries

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When the One Beale luxury high-rise project goes to the Land Use Control Board Thursday, June 11, there will be opposition, concerns and questions about its impact on surrounding properties at Memphis’ riverside.

The $150 million One Beale project goes to the Land Use Control Board Thursday, June 11, with concerns about the project’s impact on surrounding development and streets.

(Hnedak Bobo Group)

The twin tower skyscrapers called for in the $150 million project plans are reviving old controversies about South Main development guidelines and how One Beale would affect the river view of several nearby high-rises.

Residents of Waterford Plaza, the high-rise building at 200 Wagner Place, north of the One Beale site at Riverside Drive and Beale Street, raised concerns in the project’s first incarnation before the 2008 economic downturn caused Carlisle Corp. to scale back the project and then put it on hold.

Those concerns were renewed last month in a letter from Bill Gillon, the president of the Waterford Plaza board of directors.

The May 4 letter applauds “Carlisle’s development efforts,” but adds, “We are stunned by the massive, dense and tortured nature of this particular plan.”

At the outset, the proposed apartment tower will be at least 30 stories tall and the hotel tower 22 stories, Gillon and the board note, adding it will “severely disrupt development along the river and within the South Main district.”

“The proposal doesn’t just exceed existing UDC (unified development code) building guidelines and population density envisioned by those guidelines,” the letter adds. “It eviscerates them, creating a new cultural feel for the entire area and undermining many of the purposes of the South Main District.”

A staff report from the city-county Office and Planning and Development expresses concerns that the cobblestone part of Linden Avenue that leads to the river bluff and a trolley stop would be closed to become part of One Beale’s footprint.

“With Linden built over, there is no ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible route from the trolley station to and up Beale Street,” reads a note from city engineers in the OPD staff report, which states that the only way left would be with stairs.

“This will force folks to travel around the south end of the building and then back north along Wagner to Beale,” the note continues. “I think the trolley station should be considered for relocation if the (ADA) access is at the south end of the building.”

City engineers agreed with the idea of turning Wagner into a one-way street southbound from Beale to Martin Luther King Avenue, formerly Linden Avenue.

Meanwhile, One Beale would encroach on the Wagner Place right of way, leaving only eight feet of sidewalk that would have to include light poles and other utility connections. The development would also have loading bays on Wagner Place that would block traffic.

OPD officials and engineers also expressed concerns in the report about the traffic One Beale would create in the area.

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