The owners of Railgarten, the newly opened entertainment spot in Cooper-Young, hoped to clarify their use of shipping containers on the site and what they plan to do about parking there with a statement issued Thursday afternoon.
That statement said “there has been some confusion” about the use of shipping containers on the site. Josh Whitehead, planning director of the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development, has told reporters at The Commercial Appeal
and Memphis Business Journal
that the permanent use of those containers is a code violation.
Thursday’s statement from Railgarten owners said their legal counsel and land use consultant told them that using the containers was allowed as the land is zoned for light industrial use. That zoning, they said, “was primary in our consideration and selection of the Railgarten site.”
“The containers reinforce the physical connection to the neighboring rail line, importance of transportation to the neighborhood, and offer outlets for local visual and musical artists,” reads the statement.
Railgarten officials are expected to appear before the Board of Adjustment next week, in hopes of finding a legal workaround that would allow them to use the containers.
Railgarten uses the shipping containers as design elements, for a covered seating area, a stage, a bar, and more. The entertainment complex is close to the corner of Cooper and Central and it includes an ice cream shop, diner, ping-pong bar, outdoor stage, an outdoor volleyball court, and more. All of it backs up to a working rail line.
Railgarten opened last weekend to a massive crowd and not everyone easily found a place to park.
“Following the overwhelming turnout of our opening weekend we simply had more customers than available parking,” reads the Railgarten statement. “We’re working with area businesses to lease additional parking lots and have contracted a private security company to assure our visitors are safe and the neighborhood clean.”
Railgarten owners said they also encourage visitors to get to the spot via public transportation, bikes, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
“With the revitalization of any area come growing pains, but we believe in the long run, the benefits we’re bringing to the neighborhood will surpass these temporary hurdles,” reads the statement.