VOL. 131 | NO. 25 | Thursday, February 4, 2016
Details of Bass Pro-St. Jude Pinch Plan Near
By Bill Dries
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Bass Pro Shops have agreed on a tentative and general plan for future development of the Pinch District, according to Memphis City Council member Berlin Boyd.
Bass Pro Shops and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are “on the same page” in terms of future Pinch District development, according to city councilman Berlin Boyd.
(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)
Boyd talked about the behind-the-scenes planning effort during the Tuesday, Feb. 2, council session as the body approved adding 120 days to the city’s moratorium on new building permits in the Pinch. The moratorium began last year.
Boyd said the first-draft plan developed for both entities by Looney Ricks Kiss will go public in the near future to get input from citizens.
He described Bass Pro Shops and St. Jude as “on the same page.” The moratorium makes an exception for future St. Jude development.
“There are a lot of moving parts going on right now,” Boyd added.
Boyd also said the St. Jude expansion, which the hospital has talked about in general dollar figures, saw leaders in St. Louis and California lobbying the research hospital to move the expansion out of Memphis.
Boyd said other cities’ attempts to snag the expansion did not involve a move of the entire institution as was the case in the late 1980s when Washington University in St. Louis made a bid for the hospital.
St. Jude seriously considered the move but ultimately rejected it after local leaders pledged to broker a larger research role for the hospital.
Nearly 30 years later, St. Jude is again poised for an expansion of $1 billion in construction and another $7 billion in research facilities including a recently announced graduate school that is to open in the fall of 2017.
St. Jude is part of a wave of medical and research facilities planned including an expansion of Methodist University Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
And a development team of consultants began last year to look at a more comprehensive and coordinated plan for the city’s traditional medical center district to include mixed-use development including housing and retail. (See related story, pg. 1)
Boyd revealed the latest details in the St. Jude plan as he responded to pointed questions from council member Janis Fullilove.
Fullilove was critical of Boyd last year when he proposed the moratorium following several proposed developments near The Pyramid.
The council rejected a convenience store/gas station at A.W. Willis and Third Street, and numerous times has delayed a hotel with retail at Front Street and Jackson Avenue. The hotel’s next appearance on the agenda will come later this month.
Boyd would only say last year that constituents in his district had sought the moratorium.
Fullilove, whose super district takes in the same area, pressed Boyd for a name and Boyd said he promised his constituents he wouldn’t say.
Fullilove brought it up again Tuesday.
“You really are entrenched in this,” she told Boyd.
“It’s my district,” he replied.
“I don’t know how you got your arms in there so much and others are overlooked,” she added. “I certainly would like to know more.”
Boyd said he took a “vested interest” in the area “simply because it’s vacant property.”