Crosstown Development Project’s Todd Richardson expects work on the Sears building renewal to begin in 2014 with construction complete in 2016.
The website for the project, crosstowncollaborative.com, describes the vision:
Transforming a national hub for the distribution of goods into a local heart for the cultivation of well-being, the Crosstown Project shifts focus from products to people, from commodity to quality of life. Building on three of Memphis’ strongest community assets—arts, education, and healthcare—the historic Sears Crosstown building is being preserved and redeveloped as a mixed-used vertical urban village – a purposeful collective of uses and partners. People will be living and working, learning and teaching, healing and growing well, creating and recreating, shopping and eating, like a really great neighborhood. Common areas, shared spaces, exhibition spaces and ongoing events and programming – the day-to-day creative and social “friction” – will integrate and elevate the mutual well-being of tenants, residents, and the visiting public.
A dense, active, and peopled Sears will serve as an anchor and catalyst to revitalization and economic development in the surrounding Crosstown neighborhood. In turn, a newly vibrant Crosstown, located at the nexus of Midtown, Downtown and the Medical District, will provide cohesion for the center city region.
Involved in the project are seven founding partners: ALSAC, Church Health Center, Crosstown Arts, Gestalt Community Schools, Memphis Teacher Residency, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Rhodes College and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
As Richardson explains it, filling the building on the residential side has already started. “Already, St. Jude has committed to 110 units. Scientists and researchers they hire, many of them from Europe and Asia, will need a place to stay for two years. Many of them don’t have cars, so they will be able to walk to work. Then Memphis teacher residency will take some of the spots. They recruit graduates from across the country and the residents get to live there free, get their Masters free for teaching three years in the inner city.
“The Church Health Center scholars need housing for students and the Crosstown Arts’ artist residency program will take some, too. That will leave 130 units for mixed income residential.
“East of the current garage will be made into a public plaza. In the building we will tear down about 250,000 square feet for an atrium. Two restaurants will be coming in and the Hi-Tone will reopen across from the building.”
On the development team, besides Richardson, are McLean Wilson of Kemmons Wilson; Bologna Consultants; AllWorld Project Management; Community Capital; doug carpenter & associates; Grinder, Taber & Grinder; LRK / DIALOG and Universal Commercial Real Estate