City and county leaders came together to announce the groundbreaking of the Hospitality Hub‘s Women’s shelter on Monday in Downtown Memphis, a facility that’s need is key in reducing the number of those experiencing homelessness.
The Walk on Union, a mixed-use smart development formerly known as Union Row, announced the addition of two new partners as progress continues on the project. Allworld Project Management is now on board to lead coordination and logistics, while Flintco joins the team as lead general contractor on the $367 million phase 1.
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has been recognized as a Best Children’s Hospital for 2021-22 by U.S. News & World Report.
The annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings and ratings, now in their 15th year, are designed to assist patients, their families and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive care for challenging health conditions.
Le Bonheur was also ranked in cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, nephrology, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.
“I am thrilled that for the eleventh consecutive year, Le Bonheur has been recognized as a Best Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report,” said Le Bonheur President Michael Wiggins, DBA, FACHE. “This honor is a sign of our dedication to providing the best health care for children. This means that families can count on us to provide safe and effective care for all children who need us.”
U.S. News and World Report
The Downtown Memphis Commission is to issue a request for proposals June 15, but is taking steps already to find a new developer and life for the city’s tallest building.
“We’re at 12,300 steps,” Brett Roler announced midmorning Sunday, May 30. Roler had glanced at his Fitbit as he, a reporter and photographer descended 100 North Main Building’s dark stairwell.
This is the fifth or sixth tour up the 38 floors that the commission’s vice president has led since April.
Developers. Architects. Engineers. Public officials. Roler will take anyone who can help breathe new life into the dark, vacant, ransacked and vandalized skyscraper is welcome to take the guided hike.
He plans more tours, and soon. Summer is approaching, and climbing up the powerless tower in the heat may be too dangerous.
“Wear sturdy shoes,” Roler advised, because of all the broken glass.
“Wear a mask,” he said, because of the dusty stairwell.
“Bring a flashlight,” he said, because light is limited in the powerless building.
“Bring a water bottle,” he said, because of the exertion.
The 10 high-speed elevators – the five express ones ascended 700 feet per minute in their day – are useless now.
But Roler’s leadership made the challenge surprisingly doable for a reporter who hasn’t strenuously exercised since the pandemic started 14 months earlier.
Roler often stopped the stairwell climb to explore an entire, deserted floor. On Sunday, the trio caught their breath by wandering through floors 14, 18, 21, 25, 28, 30, 34, 35, 36 and 37.
Roler’s sunny curiosity elevated the dimly lit tour. “Let’s see what’s in here,” he said before opening the door to floor 30. “There’s a surprise around every corner.”
But the urban trek began with an orienting stroll around the entire block, followed by a pre-amble up the parking garage’s spiraling ramp.
Someone mentioned the oddity of a kitchen blender sitting on the ramp. Roler responded, “That’s not the weirdest thing you’re going to see.”
Right he was.
The skyscraper was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a fine example of late International style architecture. But inside, the atmosphere created by darkness and massive evidence of misbehavior was more Gothic.
An unknowable number of humans have breached the tower since the last of the paying tenants left seven years ago.
The benign ones, perhaps, have been the urban explorers, who just wanted to be photographed illegally atop the city’s Mount Everest.
But the vandals have been ferocious.
Glass is their enemy, and they shattered a lot of it: Light fixtures; the small, square windows of every stairwell door; scores of exterior windows; glass partitions of desk cubicles; the plate glass separating the floor lobby from a law office’s reception desk.
The dining tables and chairs of the old Top of the 100 revolving, rooftop restaurant were hurled through the large, angled windows onto the gravel roof below.
Of all the wall-mounted, glass encasements for fire extinguishers on each floor, tour-takers on Sunday spotted only one that had not been shattered.
Graffiti marks much of the interior. From “Chance in yo pants” in the stairwell on floor 17 to “Don’t B A Democrat” on level 21.
Just as destructive have been the thieves of copper and other material of value. Gaping holes are punched through the sheetrock walls. Ceiling panels are torn away, and uncountable light fixtures dangle by their wires.
The stairwell’s concrete steps on the lower floors are consistently and mysteriously chipped in the middle of each step. Roler speculates that perhaps copper thieves damaged the stairs by dragging heavy objects down them.
The commission has taken a number of measures to secure the property since its Downtown Mobility Authority bought 100 North Main for $10.75 million earlier this year. But the preceding owners, including New York-based Townhouse Management, had allowed the building to sit vacant, deteriorate and be abused the past since 2014.
Roler had to unlock the outside gate and two more doors to get inside. Commission personnel monitor the fence twice daily for telltale damage and illegal entry.
But 100 North Main is so vast that the best way to secure the building is to populate it with tenants, Roler said.
Even the legal visitors left disturbing waste.
The Shelby County SWAT team has used the building for training. So on the floors are countless simulation cartridges, which have metal casings but paint instead of harmful bullets. And on numerous walls are posters with the target images of men with the kind of head scarfs that are perhaps worn by terrorists. Images of angry looking women pointing a gun are also used as targets.
A large knife lay ominously on one office floor.
Not that the skyscraper doesn’t shelter a ton of more benign, even humorous objects. Like the antique Battle Creek brand vibrating belt “fat shaker” in the massage room of the Tennessee Club on the penultimate floor.
The club’s space was of its time. At the rear of the dining area is a door marked, “Men’s Dining Room.”
Despite the daunting destruction, 100 North Main’s unrivaled views prevail over the darkness. By floor 30, the tour-takers could look down on the nearby Raymond James Tower.
If those south-facing offices were somehow turned into, say, apartments, the sight of the layered, gorgeous architecture of the Shrine Building, the Sterick Building, One Commerce Building and other towers would serve more like wall art as a window opening.
Coming with the purchase by the Downtown Mobility Authority was the entire, two-acre block on which the tower sits. Main, Adams, Second and Jefferson form the block. The property comprises the tower’s nine-level parking deck of about 400 spaces, an adjacent surface parking lot, and a row of historic buildings on Main built between 1890 and 1920.
The latest appraisal by CBRE counts 579,000 square feet of gross space, 429,000 of which is leasable, Roler said.
Despite all the interior destruction, Roler describes the property as “two acres of prime opportunity.”
“Within a five-minute walk of this there are 7.5 acres of surface parking lots … $428 million in property value, 1,200 people who live within a short walk, 713 hotel rooms,” he said.
Two blocks south is the newly renovated Renasant Convention Center. Two blocks west is the Mississippi River.
Left vacant, Roler said, “a building like this can harm the tax base and drive down property value. And it signals that disinvestment is OK, that we tolerate large vacant blight to go on. It discourages people from investing their hard-earned capital in our market.”
The request for proposals will ask questions about three areas, he said.
What is the developer’s experience in getting such projects completed and does the developer have the ability to attract capital and investors?
What is the developer’s vision for 100 North Main? The commission’s first goal is to save the tower. But if adaptive reuse is not proposed, what is the vision?
And what does the developer need to make the project a success? What public incentives, if any, are needed? And what would the developer pay for the property?
Henry Turley is a Memphis-made businessman and philanthropist whose work over five decades revitalized the residential real estate market downtown, rebuilding existing neighborhoods and creating new ones, like Harbor Town. Linn Sitler hosts A Conversation with Henry Turley.
The nature of a headmistress’ work can feel similar to the role held by a family matriarch. My school’s community is close-knit and comfortable. When I come to school and see my families at the door after a long summer absence, it feels like I’m welcoming family home.
If you lead a micro or small business, your work experience may feel similar. Your coworkers and employees are family. You’ve attended their weddings, held their babies, and mourned their losses. That closeness is part of what makes your business an incredible place to work.
But, not setting clear boundaries can create challenges.
With a career’s worth of experience as an educator and leader, I have learned through trial and error how to strike that balance. Here are my recommendations to help keep your work community feeling like family while still ensuring the relationships formed are first professional.
Set expectations from the start
It’s essential you empathize with your employees. One of the benefits of running a small business is that you can provide a level of personal support to your employees that builds trust and endears them to your business. You can also create ambiguity that leaves room for employees to take advantage of you.
To find a balance, offer both grace and clear parameters on the front end. Create an employee handbook that clearly lays out your policies in advance. Address bereavement, parental leave, PTO, benefits, how to properly use sick time, expectations on personal social media accounts, and employee review processes to frame discussions.
You can be as generous in building those policies as makes sense for your business. But, once set, hold them firmly. If employees know what to expect, they can properly plan and make arrangements when life throws them a curveball.
Communicate plans early & clearly
Your employees likely feel like they have more stake in your company than they would if they were an employee at a larger organization. Every person at a micro or small business plays a pivotal role, and their investment in your company is proportionally large.
If you’re planning to take an extended leave of absence, change a major component of your business, or update your processes, communicate those changes early and clearly.
Like in a family meeting, major news can hit certain members differently. But, with time to prepare and have ongoing conversations about what these changes mean for each of their roles, you allow your employees time to adjust.
Ask for feedback and apply it
The people who know you best can be your harshest critics. In a professional setting, your employees harbor insights that could improve the way you do business. Without a proper channel to express these insights, employees might present them unprompted, often out of frustration, in a way that is detrimental to your personal and professional relationship. Instead, create regular opportunities for employees to share challenges and opportunities for growth within your business.
Take their feedback seriously and consider how you might be able to apply their recommendations to your work. Not only will you strengthen their connection to your business, but you also might end up saving time and money.
Lead by example
As a micro or small business owner, you are allowed freedoms and benefits that are not available to your employees. You don’t have to keep track of your PTO days, have your sick time approved, or strictly abide by the policies you lay out for your employees. But, continual deviances from your own policies can negatively impact how your employees view you and your business and can lead them to harbor resentment.
Lead by example, especially in the small things. If you ask your employees to put in for PTO two weeks in advance, alert them of your anticipated days out of the office along the same timeline. If you ask them to clock in and out every day, ensure they see you doing the same.
While your timesheet doesn’t matter at the end of the month, knowing that you’re keeping yourself accountable will go a long way.
Maria Schuermann-Cole, headmistress of The Maria Montessori School
Developer Kevin Adams has filed a building permit for construction on the first phase of his massive planned Downtown development known as “The Walk.”
Adams filed a permit April 8 for new construction of a seven-story mixed-use building with 414 apartment units and 20,000 square feet of retail space as well as a parking garage at 341 Union Ave.
The permit was filed the day after the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Design Review Board approved exterior plans for the first phase of the development, known as Building G. The plans were done by LRK Architects.
Board members praised the plans, which were unanimously approved, and said it was designed with pedestrians, not just residents and tenants, in mind.
The project formerly known as Union Row was renamed The Walk on Union and later The Walk as a nod to the developer’s intent to have it be walkable and enhance the Downtown pedestrian experience.
Building G will be bounded by Union on the north, Danny Thomas on the east, Gayoso on the south, and a new street to the west (referred to as Fifth Street) and will have a bus rapid transit stop on the side of the building fronting Union.
The new parking garage will front Danny Thomas. The retail spaces will front Fifth while a two-story restaurant space at the northwest corner of the building will face Union.
Landscaping and streetscaping include street trees and planters along public streets, public seating and bike racks. The project also has three outdoor spaces in the first phase, intended to be used by residents and pedestrians.
Corinne S Kennedy covers economic development, soccer and COVID-19’s impact on hospitals for the Commercial Appeal. She can be reached via email at Corinne.Kennedy@CommercialAppeal.com or at 901-297-3245.
A new on-demand rideshare service will be available in Downtown Memphis within the next week.
Memphis Area Transit Authority, the Downtown Memphis Commission and the Memphis Medical District Collaborative will launch Groove On-Demond on Feb. 10.
Groove is a “dynamically routed” transit service that will help the Bluff City to expand access to affordable and convenient transportation.
The service will provide transportation in Downtown Memphis, the Medical District and New Chicago.
Fast Company. November 11, 2020. For Roberds and the Hospitality Hub, the process of creating this pandemic-related shelter has ended up informing the organization’s longer term housing design strategy. It was a fast-forward adaptive reuse version of the shelter the organization had planned to build–and it sparked some ideas of what else could be done quickly to serve the city’s homeless population in the long, pandemic-stricken months before its new shelter would be finished.