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What is BuildDowntown

BuildDowntown is a master plan to help determine how Downtown Memphis will grow, evolve, and improve over the next 10 years.

Read BuildDowntown - Downtown Memphis Master Plan


What will Downtown Memphis look like in 2030? How can we invest wisely to best serve the needs of not only Downtown residents, but all Memphians and our neighbors across the Mid-South? How do we connect our major assets and increase economic opportunity and diversity?

Three guiding principles of the BuildDowntown plan:


• Promote compact critical mass. Concentrate development within a five-minute walk of Signature Streets and Public Spaces. This will guide the density needed to attract retail and create a vibrant public realm.

• Use robust public/private partnerships and incentives to unlock development feasibility. Continue to incentivize Downtown development with existing incentives like Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) and explore the creation of innovative new tools and public/private partnerships to fill additional gaps.

• Implement Downtown-wide design standards and design review. Enforce consistent design standards to ensure that new development creates visually appealing and experientially cohesive spaces.


• Create a more vibrant public realm. Enhance the pedestrian environment by creating a cohesive network of tree-lined Signature Streets that link revitalized Signature Public Spaces, including the new riverfront park system.

• Promote investments that support the full spectrum of the visitor industry. Capitalize on the broad range of visitor activities that can take place Downtown, including cultural programming, meetings and conventions, sports, and other events attracting locals and out-of-towners alike.

• Enhance mobility to and across Downtown. Increase mobility options with a focus on pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, shared parking, and emerging transportation technologies.


• Build equity into every implementation strategy. Consider the equity impacts of every Downtown program and policy, and implement concrete programs to increase affordable housing, provide workforce training, and grow small businesses.

• Ensure that Downtown grows more inclusive as it becomes more successful. Make sure that Downtown’s public spaces reflect the diversity of Memphis through inclusive programming and design.

• Promote Downtown’s authenticity. Support the growth of Memphis’ authentic culture, including its music, food, art, and history.

Key focus areas include:

  • Housing a diverse population
  • Mobility – getting to and traveling within Downtown
  • Job creation and entrepreneurship
  • Safety and place management
  • Parks and public space
  • Filling the spaces in between here and there
  • Culture and entertainment for tourists and residents alike
  • Beautification and civic pride

BuildDowntown Focus Area

The study area is the entire 6.5-square-mile Central Business Improvement District (CBID). The CBID is generally bound by the Wolf River on the north, Crump Boulevard on the south, the Mississippi River on the west, and Danny Thomas Boulevard on the east, with an extension between Poplar Avenue and Dr. M.L. King Boulevard eastward to Watkins Street to include the Medical District.

CBID map

Relationship to Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan

BuildDowntown was developed with Memphis 3.0 and built on the data and groundwork already laid during the citywide planning process. Project staff from both plans communicated and coordinated efforts on a regular basis. BuildDowntown provides a common understanding of both where Downtown Memphis is today and what it wants to become tomorrow.
We aim to have BuildDowntown adopted by the City of Memphis as a sub-component of Memphis 3.0.

Related Plans and Resources

Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan

Pinch District Concept Study

South Central Business Improvement District Comprehensive Plan

Memphis Riverfront Concept