Courtesy of the City of Memphis
Rendering of the proposed street view to Pyramid on Overton Avenue.
The Pinch District Concept Study will move forward to the Memphis City Council meeting for final approval after its unanimous passage by the Land Use Control Board (LUCB), with an added resolution that affirms the master plan will serve as a framework for future development, rather than a strict set of building regulations.
The plan proposed includes mixed use development for a nine block area in North Memphis, anchored by Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and the Cook Convention Center, with an emphasis on connectivity and walkability between the institutions.
"What you're seeing is a representation from a lot of community input from the area," said the director of Community and Housing Development, Paul Young, adding that they to produce something that the community can be proud of.
At the onset of Mayor Jim Strickland's administration, coming up with the Pinch plan was one of Young's first charges.
Should the council approve the plan, a moratorium in place since July of 2015 on new building permits and additional construction to existing structures in the area would subsequently be lifted, and developers with current property in the largely inactive area could move forward with projects.
Pushing for the LUCB's approval for the plan, developer Greg Ericson explained that he has been unable to sell his or develop his Pinch property for years, all while property taxes have continued their increase in the underdeveloped area.
"I've been trying to sell my property for the past five years," said Ericson, who added that his investments in his property have totaled more than $1.2 million. With the moratorium in place in an already desolate area and increasing property taxes, Ericson is ready to see a plan finally accepted.
"I want this plan to go through so the mortorium will be lifted. Let me sell my building to someone
for the bigger and better use of Memphis," said Ericson.