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VOL. 133 | NO. 104 | Thursday, May 24, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: One Beale Changes, Treedom and Motel Mirrors in Cooper Young

By Bill Dries

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For all of the expectation and ambition present in a Memphis where Crosstown Concourse is almost a year old, Shelby Farms Park is an institution and the local economy in general has shaken off a lingering recession that wanted a rent to own deal – there may be some limits to our ambition. At least the scope of some of our ambition, which brings us to the One Beale project at Beale and Riverside.

The project that would literally reorient the city’s skyline has changed again. The latest changes outlined in documents released Wednesday as Carlisle Hotels Inc. and Front Street DevCo LLC seek a PILOT extension from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. next Tuesday.

It is more than one or two hotel and residential towers at the river’s edge at this point. The basic description of the changes in phase one is much less skyscraping, more buildings and a pull to the east closer to South Main with the Beale and Riverside corner still being the signature of the effort. By the documents, the first phase of this is now a $110 million project with the developers hoping to close on financing in late 2018 with construction beginning in the spring of 2019 and taking nearly two years to complete.

The Carlisle family, in its application, estimates it has spent $2.5 million since Gene Carlisle’s Beale Street Landing building at Beale and Wagner Place was demolished in 2005. The ambition here doesn’t seem to be the dollar amount as much as it is the different parts and uses of this as well as the concentration in what is a relatively small area.

The debate over a cover charge to get on Beale Street on Saturday night is about to be resurrected.

Speaking of Beale Street, the Beale Street Bucks debate of about a year ago is about to return on the other side of the Memorial Day weekend. A federal court lawsuit over the cover charge on spring and summer Saturday nights after 10 p.m. was dismissed last week just before a trial on the civil suit was scheduled to start. That’s about when the security consultant hired by the city’s Beale Street Task Force said he is likely to recommend a return to the cover charge that the City Council ordered abolished this past June.

As promised, more on Tuesday’s set of city council votes on 13 impasse resolutions and the back and forth between the council and several union leaders.


Here’s a recap of some other items around planning and development in general.

Records of fees the University of Tennessee paid hedge fund managers for “alternative investments” are up for discussion in Nashville as the Tennessee Legislature reviews exemptions from the state open records law. And the sponsor of the law that specifically kept those records private tells our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard in his “View From The Hill” column that he didn’t understand how the bill would be used.

In our series on access to open records, a recent survey of all parts of the process finds that more than half of the cities included in the survey have a provision to waive fees when the cities determine the records are for “the public good.” In Shelby County government, fees under $10 are waived and waivers for amounts over that are at the discretion of the public records request coordinator.

Day one of the Explore Bike Share enterprise was humid but popular.

A recap of a humid opening day for Explore Bike Share. And an informal look around at the various Bike Share stations showed the bikes were getting good use well past the Wednesday morning formalities in Court Square.

An art installation called “Treedom” in Memphis. What took so long?

Motel Mirrors and one of their new tunes recorded live at Galloway House in Cooper-Young. The video from Beale Street Caravan is part of a new weekly series called “I Listen To Memphis” that is done at culturally relevant locations – in this case the church where Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two had their first gig in the 1950s.

For about the last 20 years construction work at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson has been unearthing the remains of thousands of people on a fairly regular basis. That accelerated about eight years ago during a survey for road construction. The remains of as many as 7,000 people who were patients at the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum from 1855 to 1935 may remain interred and in labs nearby. Academics are now considering what to do with the remains and the proper way to memorialize lives lived in a very different time.

Coming next month, a documentary with Elvis Presley at its core but that is really not about Elvis in anywhere near the way that the recent HBO documentary was about Elvis. The documentary is called “The King.”

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396