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VOL. 133 | NO. 138 | Thursday, July 12, 2018

DMC Steering Committee Recommends Consultant for Downtown Master Plan

By Patrick Lantrip

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In an effort to create a master plan for all of Downtown Memphis that will complement the administration’s Memphis 3.0 plan, the Downtown Memphis Commission staff has issued its recommended consultant for the project. 

After a six-month search, DMC staff, in conjunction with a steering committee, recommended the Canadian firm Stantec for the $447,095 project. 

The DMC initially issued the request for qualifications in January to find a qualified firm to develop a master plan for Downtown. 

“The master plan is intended to lay out a comprehensive vision and strategy that will guide the revitalization of Downtown Memphis for the next 10 years,” a July 11 DMC staff memo reads in part. “While the DMC follows a strategic plan in order to set its yearly work plan, a comprehensive master plan for Downtown does not yet exist.” 

Karen Adams Designs plans to move its administrative and production staff, design studio, printing, manufacturing and warehousing operations from its current location on Broad Avenue to a World War II-era former bakery at 647 Madison Ave. Adams is seeking an exterior improvement grant from the DMC. (Downtown Memphis Commission)

The DMC received responses from 21 firms by the Feb. 21 deadline. They narrowed down the list to five finalists before deciding on Edmonton-based Stantec. 

If everything goes as planned, the DMC hopes to have the Downtown Memphis Master Plan ready by the first quarter of 2019. 

While the DMC president will negotiate the terms of, and sign, the final contract, the project must first be approved by the Center City Development Corp. during its July 18 meeting. 

Also on that agenda is a request for an exterior improvement grant up to $60,000 from local designer Karen Adams to help facilitate her relocation to the Medical District. 

Adams is planning to move her administrative and production staff, design studio, printing, manufacturing and warehousing operations from its current location on Broad Avenue to a WWII-era former bakery at 647 Madison Ave.

Adams is seeking the exterior improvement grant from the DMC for concrete repair and replacement, sidewalk and parking area improvements, steel gates, and exterior painting, stucco, electrical, masonry and signage.

The project carries a roughly $320,000 price tag. 

Adams founded her company, Karen Adams Design, in 2001 to design and manufacture wholesale stationary goods. 

“Karen Adams Designs is a woman owned business enterprise employing exclusively women and minorities to hand craft personalized stationery and related trade goods thereby occupying a unique position in the stationery, lifestyle and wholesale trade industries,” Adams said in her letter of intent to the DMC. 

In 2010, Adams launched www.karenadamsdesigns.com, a wholly owned entity designed to capture substantial revenue growth through online retail customers. 

Currently, Adams designs and manufactures products for more than 1,400 U.S. and international retailers.

Lastly, the CCDC will vote on whether or not to implement a new type of grant designed to help property owners and businesses in South City make exterior improvements to their property.

Known as the South City Good Neighbor Grant, the new exterior grant program will be co-funded with money from the city of Memphis’ Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. 

Each entity will contribute $250,000 to the program that hopes to encourage new development in the high-priority South City area by enhancing the pedestrian experience both visually and functionally. 

If approved the new grant application process would go into effect on Aug. 1. 

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