Brooks Museum breaks ground on new site Downtown

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art hosted its official groundbreaking ceremony today, Thursday, June 1, at the site of its new Downtown home at 65 Front St.

During the event, philanthropist and Brooks trustee Barbara Hyde announced that she and her husband, J.R. “Pitt” Hyde, had committed $20 million to the new museum building.

The Brooks Museum announced earlier in the day that it has raised about $135 million, or 75% of the project’s total fundraising goal of $180 million.

Poised for new life, why Memphis’ tallest building is a ‘space worth saving’

When 100 N. Main officially opened in 1965, the skyscraper was frequented by some interesting characters.

Mickey Brown, the first building manager for the tallest building in Memphis, remembers one in particular: attorney Glenn Nash.

“He was a little strange. He was into karate, and one day I heard all this commotion on the floor where the vending machines were,” Brown said. “He was karate kicking this machine ’cause it didn’t give his money back.”

Downtown Brooks Museum construction moves forward

Construction on the new Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Downtown is moving forward.

A permit filed Thursday, April 20, with the Memphis and Shelby County Division and Planning and Development by Grinder, Taber & Grinder indicates that the project is moving to the first phase of construction.

According to the permit, the first phase of construction will include sitework, foundations, work on the parking garage, the building podium and infrastructure.

Memphis’ first historical public library reopens

Cossitt Library, the first public library and museum in Memphis, is reopening after a 5-year renovation process.

Closed since 2018, the revamped Cossitt Branch hopes to be an information hub for a new generation.

“Often times when you’re collecting information you hear, ‘If I only had this, I would.’ We’re eliminating that excuse, if you will, because we want to help people,” said Brian Lyles, Senior Manager of Cossitt Library. “The better people are, the better they are for our community, the better they are for our city, the better they become the best versions of themselves.”

Historic Sterick Building bought by local developer

Local developer Stuart Harris announced Friday, March 31, his team closed on the purchase of the historic Downtown Sterick Building.

Known as “the Queen of the South,” the Sterick Building is a 340,000-square-foot, 29-story, Gothic Revival skyscraper that was the tallest building in the South from the time of its completion in 1929 until 1957.

The building, at North B.B. King Boulevard and Madison Avenue, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 but has been vacant since 1986.

Downtown Mobility Center to include 48 ‘EV-ready’ parking spaces

The $40 million Downtown Mobility Center is set to include 960 parking spots, 11,000-square-feet of commercial space, showers and now 48 “EV-ready” spaces.

According to a report filed by the Downtown Memphis Commission staff, the parking structure will set aside 5% of its spaces for electric panel support and conduit capacity for the future operation of Level 2 chargers.

Level 2 chargers are middle-range type chargers that provide about 65 miles range per charging hour.

Cleanup, internal demolition work to begin at 100 N. Main

Preliminary work of sorts is set to begin next month at 100 N. Main St.

The team behind the plans to redevelop and rehabilitate the tallest building in Memphis has gotten approval to start clearing out the years of trash and debris that have piled up inside and begin internal demolition in February. A Downtown Memphis Commission board gave the go-ahead Wednesday for that work to begin.

DMC Expands Staff and Focus to Further Award-Winning DEI Strategy

International Award, Additional Program Scope, and New Hire all Support Progress

The Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) was awarded the International Downtown Association’s (IDA) Pinnacle Award* at the September 2022 IDA conference in Vancouver. The industry’s highest recognition, the Pinnacle Award, represents the most inspiring innovations in urban place management. 


Each year, the IDA recognizes outstanding projects as winners of the Downtown Achievement Awards, which identify advances to urban centers by organizations worldwide. This year’s projects were awarded by a jury of IDA members in the following categories: leadership development; organizational management; economic development; marketing, communication and events; planning, design and infrastructure; policy and advocacy; and public space management and operations. The DMC’s award-winning efforts highlighted the organization’s policy and advocacy work in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) realm, with the Building Downtown DEI Toolkit, designed to increase MWBE and emerging developer participation in the development of Downtown Memphis.


“The Downtown Memphis Commission’s innovative work received the IDA Pinnacle Award for setting the new standard for improving cities around the world,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The DMC’s DEI Toolkit has made an impact on its community and the people who live, work and play there, and is evidence of the continued commitment to champion livable, vital and thriving urban centers.” 


In addition to the IDA-recognized work, the DMC will take on a growing role in the emerging developer landscape, beginning fall 2022. The DMC will be the new home to multiple programs working to create developer equity. Under the DMC’s umbrella, these programs will continue to support greater equity in the overall development momentum in Downtown.


“The DMC has a history of advocacy for emerging developers,” stated Paul Young, DMC President. “We believe that pulling these programs together under one roof will strengthen the programs and lead to a stronger, more connected development community.”


The programs include the Real Estate Diversity Initiative (REDI) program, Develop-A-Thon, and other locally-focused workshops and classes designed to prepare individuals for careers in commercial development. 


“DEI doesn’t happen by accident,” said Brett Roler, DMC SVP Planning & Development. “The DMC already has a robust toolkit designed to support a wide range of projects and emerging developers. Through the addition of this new emerging developer programming, we expect to redouble our efforts to continue growing the ecosystem of small developers taking on the challenging work of building up the core city.”


To ensure the success of these programs and the ongoing DEI work, the DMC has recently hired Tori Haliburton as Director of DEI. Haliburton graduated from Lane College, a small Christian HBCU in West Tennessee, and received her Master of Public Administration from Villanova University. 


Before joining the DMC, Haliburton served as Director of Grants and Funding Opportunities at Christ Community Health Services, and in various positions with increasing responsibilities at Wiley College and Lane College. Haliburton has extensive community engagement, project management, and team-building experience. She was named as the 2016 WestStar African American Leadership Emerging Leader and was selected by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce as Forty under 40. She has served as a softball, cheerleading, and pageant coach; and AKA sorority advisor. Her current favorite coaching/advising role is in support of her college-aged son’s pursuits at her alma mater, Lane College.

*The DMC has received the Pinnacle award twice in three years,
the first for the Open on Main program in 2020.

Click for additional images to support release. 

Emerging Developer Programs


Additional Quotes in support of the DMC’s Emerging Developer Programs
“We are thrilled to find a new home for the Emerging Developers programs at the DMC. The DMC is the perfect organization to provide the expertise to ensure that real estate entrepreneurs in our community have access to the education and resources they need to be successful.”
–Anna McQuiston, RegionSmart Executive Director

Additional Quotes related to Tori Haliburton’s role at DMC
“We’re really excited to add Tori to our team. Her task is to wake up everyday thinking about what more the DMC can do to be proactive and aggressive to attract new investment and ensure that we’re building a downtown that reflects the diversity of our full community.”
–Brett Roler, DMC SVP Planning & Development

2022 Super Women in Business: DMC’s Penelope Huston

Penelope Huston has had a significant hand in the resurgence of the city core through her role as VP of Communications, Marketing, and Events for the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC). Huston oversees a DMC team that expects to host, sponsor, and produce more than 250 events in 2022 — 200 of them free. What many might find stressful, Huston finds joyful, describing her work as “the best job in the city.”