Annual Report – 2022

State of Downtown 2022 ReportState of Downtown - Event Video

Vision Award Winners: 

Individual Vision Award:

  • Lucille Catron – for Randle* & Lucille Catron
  • Jerry & Marsha Burt
  • James Clark
  • Mike Glenn
  • Preston Lamm
  • Sandy Robertson – for John* & Sandy Robertson
  • Joellyn Sullivan – for Silky* & Joellyn Sullivan
  • John Elkington
  • Tommy Peters*
  • Bud Chittom*
  • Jeff Cerrito*

* In memory of these individuals

Entrepreneurial Vision

  • Lansky Bros. Clothier to the King

Organizational Vision

  • Hospitality Hub

Community Vision

  • The Memphis Grizzlies

From the desk of DMC President and CEO, Paul Young

2022 was a year of expansion for Downtown Memphis. With climbing residential numbers, a return to the vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene that defines the entertainment district, the league’s hottest NBA team, and live music 365 days a year – Downtown Memphis saw tourism rebound and pedestrian counts return to pre-pandemic levels.

We incentivized thirty-eight projects. We hosted or sponsored 249 free events, which were attended by over 500K attendees – including people from every zip code in our region. And we grew our social reach to 200K followers, demonstrating our community’s interest in Downtown progress.

We supported seven  Open on Main vendors in our award-winning retail program. We also won an International Downtown Association Pinnacle Award for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work – our second since 2020. Furthering that work, we made an even deeper commitment to equity by taking over our region’s Emerging Developer curriculum, encouraging a developer community that looks more like our general community.

Our stewardship of Downtown is critical to our entire community. Downtown is the Memphis the world recognizes: We are Beale Street, the Grizzlies, Sun Studio, and the National Civil Rights Museum. We are also the neighborhood of choice for Autozone, St. Jude, and FedExLogistics, as well as six breweries, one world-class distillery, and countless innovators in the arts, music-tech, med-tech, and ag-tech space. Our work at the DMC supports the innovative spirit and diversity of the Central Business Improvement District. With more cranes and more historic preservation dotting the landscape, our Downtown feels authentic because it is. We are a community of trailblazers, and diversity is our superpower.

Our community of stakeholders, developers, and business owners create the Downtown that is the Memphis experience. The staff at the DMC works strategically alongside our volunteer boards to advance and promote a Downtown for everyone.

Downtown for everyone is more than a slogan. It is the fight song for our entire community. We take it seriously. We are Downtown Memphis.

Emerging Developer Financing

In collaboration with the Downtown Memphis Commission, Pathways Lending will create two new loan products. Access to capital is a major barrier for emerging developers, and these products are designed to help solve that problem with financing up to $1 million dollars per project.

The first is a Commercial Real Estate Loan product intended to be gap financing of up to $1,000,000 for commercial development projects located in Downtown Memphis or the Core City, within qualified census tracts. The focus of this loan product is small-scale projects led by diverse developers and participants in the DMC’s Emerging Developer program offerings. The loan can be used to fund site acquisition, new construction, renovation, and associated soft costs.

The second is a pre-development working capital product for emerging developers who need early access to financial resources to perform due diligence and pre-development work, including architecture & engineering, market studies, environmental, feasibility analysis, and other investigative or exploratory work. It’s expected that Pre-Dev Loan funding will be in the $50,000 – $150,000 range per project.

“The intentional and impactful partnership between Pathway Lending and the Downtown Memphis Commission looks to foster a more equitable and diverse community of emerging developers.  We are excited that this program will bring catalytic capital to facilitate rehabilitation or new development, advancing the growth and long-term stability of the community, said Pathway EVP and Chief Stakeholder Officer Hank Helton. “We are proud to partner alongside Downtown Memphis Commission to support the continued expansion of Downtown Memphis and the surrounding built environment.”

Equitable Pay for Musicians

The DMC is committing to Equitable Pay for Musicians. The Downtown Memphis Commission books dozens of Memphis musicians each year to activate and enrich public spaces throughout downtown. From Beale Street to the Edge, musicians are the lifeblood of downtown, and we take our responsibility to our music community seriously. As the DMC, we have a unique set of tools to help improve conditions for our working artists, and we are committed to using our influence to the highest impact.

Music Export Memphis’ annual compensation study has put a spotlight on how difficult it is to make a living playing live gigs in our city. Musicians reported that the average pay for a live gig is about $100 per person and that has been true since at least the 1980s.

In releasing this report, Music Export Memphis committed to pay artists a minimum rate of $250 per musician per gig, and challenged other organizations and businesses booking Memphis musicians to do the same.

The DMC is proud to announce that beginning in 2023, the Downtown Memphis Commission will compensate all musicians booked for DMC events at least $250 per musician. We hope that our leadership on this important issue can encourage others booking talent to do the same.

To learn more about Music Export Memphis’ findings on artist pay in our city, visit

Hospitality Workers’ Parking

Parking for hospitality workers has always been an issue in Downtown. The DMC, in partnership with Premium parking, will now make available $30/month parking for hospitality workers – musicians, restaurant employees, and hotel employees.

This program will run through the employer and will be good at select Premium lots. This is a major win for those individuals working in Downtown!

EBO Goals/MWBE Participation:

Our incentivized projects have created $250 Million in MWBE spending since 2010.

MWBE Participation

CBID Overview – full stats in Annual Report (link above)