City leaders want to help renovate Whitehaven mall

Southbrook Mall today
Southbrook Mall today
Inside Southbrook Mall
Inside Southbrook Mall
Architect's rendering of renovated Southbrook Mall
Architect's rendering of renovated Southbrook Mall

(WMC-TV) - If you look at Southbrook Mall from the outside, it almost looks like a strip mall. Instead it is a mall stripped of its former businesses because it is in such decline.

"We had plenty of stores here," said Gregory Morris, a shop owner at the mall. "I remember the men's stores. Shoe Stores. My Dad used to bring me down here a lot."

Morris remembers Southbrook Mall in its heyday. He owns a sandwich shop inside the mall that badly needs a facelift.

There aren't very many stores inside Southbrook Mall. There are now blank walls at both ends of the mall, where anchor stores once stood.

Ceiling tiles are in bad shape and insulation is showing.

The developers of Southbrook Mall want to do extensive renovations to the 40 year old mall in Whitehaven. Drawings by an architectural firm give an idea of what it could look like.

Some believe the changes could be a boom to the mall and the area.

"I think that people will come back because I think that people like to see growth and they like to see improvement in their communities," said Deborah Womack who was shopping at the mall.

Shoe Shop owner Carolyn Clark grew up the area and remembers the mall in its younger day.

"The idea of having it back and having the different vendors here, I'm excited about it," said Clark.

It's not yet a done deal that the mall will be renovated. The developers say it will cost about ten million dollars. Six million of that would come from the city.

"The mayor was excited about it I'm excited about it," said Memphis City Council member, Janis Fullilove.

Fullilove says the changes are needed at Southbrook to go along with the redevelopment of Elvis Presley Blvd and Graceland.

"We hope the thing will get done," added Fullilove.

If all of the financing happens, the upgrade to Southbrook Mall could happen fast. Action News 5 is told renovation could be complete from 8 months to a year. City leaders hope that will put the revitalization of Whitehaven in full gear.

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