Hernando de Soto Bridge.

The Future of the Memphis Riverfront

A city is built on its industry. Industry brings people to a town for jobs and keeps them there to create a strong economy, and then the people bring the culture. So when ServiceMaster announced that it would be staying in Memphis, setting up shop downtown in order to draw on the local workforce, that was good news for all Memphians and for everyone who’s ever visited this city and fell in love with it.

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With $15 billion allocated for recent, current and planned development in Greater Memphis, we have a platform for unprecedented Memphis growth. It’s not just ServiceMaster. All across the Riverfront, we’re seeing new projects — major projects — going up, like Union Row, the largest private investment in Memphis history at more than $900 million for a building featuring a 30,000-square-foot market, nearly 800 apartment units and 350,000 square feet of office space, not to mention hotel, parking and retail space.

Other projects include dramatic renovations and expansions like the $28 million going toward the Tennessee Brewery, vacant since 1951, now being transformed into a 136-unit apartment building in the South End. Methodist LeBonheur is going to help bring a surge of health care and education jobs to the city with a $280 million expansion to the master campus, including a 450,000-square-foot tower.

The Tennessee Brewery

These projects are not cherry-picked; there is simply too much momentum in every direction to give all of it the attention it deserves, such as the $1 billion FedEx renovation at its Memphis International Airport Super Hub, Indigo Ag bringing 700 full-time jobs to downtown Memphis and establishing a headquarters at the Toyota Center, as well as AutoZone, St. Jude and International Paper undergoing drastic expansions. We’re going to see a 550-room Loews hotel and a $175 million renovation of the Memphis Cook Convention Center. This is just scratching the surface, and we’re already running out of space.

The sheer numbers we see at play communicates that this is not just a few new buildings, but a city primed to be the cultural hub going into the new decade.

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