After receiving numerous phone calls and emails from concerned Memphians, representatives for Chick-Fil-A flew in from Atlanta earlier this month to meet with Memphis Heritage, Inc. to discuss possibilities for adaptive reuse of the Cumberland Presbyterian Center on Union.
At the request of Memphis Heritage, local architects toured the Cumberland property to determine what, if any, possibilities exist for adaptive reuse of the building as a Chick-Fil-A restaurant. These architects met with Chick-Fil-A's architect, construction specialist, and other representatives to discuss alternatives to demolition.
Both groups agreed that renovating the entire building would not suit Chick-Fil-A's needs, but representatives for Memphis Heritage introduced alternative designs and other possibilities for saving and adapting parts of the building.
Memphis Heritage director June West said, "After meeting with the representatives for Chick-Fil-A, we were impressed with their sincere concern for the Midtown community and their willingness to have an open discussion.
"Chick-Fil-A agreed to look at their plans again and see what parts of the building could be saved and adapted," West continued. "They plan on having revised plans to us this coming week."
Chick-Fil-A's vice president of real estate, Erwin Reid said, "We agreed that if the part of the site that is currently zoned residential could be re-zoned within four months, we would do our best to incorporate part of the existing facility into our site plan.
"If that can't happen in that time frame, we will have to go back to the original plan of removing the building in order to make the site work," said Reid.
by Shara Clark