Architects reveal fairgrounds renovation plan

Architects reveal fairgrounds renovation plan

(WMC-TV) - A huge redevelopment project is on the horizon in the heart of Memphis.

The city has big plans to create a sports, entertainment, housing, and retail mecca at the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

Architects showed the city council the big plan, just one day after we got our first look at the new Kroc Community Center on the Fairgrounds.

Memphis Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb says the fairgrounds is one of the most underutilized areas of prime real estate in the city.

"We're talking about bringing it back and using state dollars as opposed to local dollars," said Lipscomb.

His proposal shows the addition of retail stores as well as commercial buildings and housing. Everything would center on his proposed sports complex.

Lipscomb says the city is working with GameDay Baseball to turn Memphis into a major site for sports.

"You want to really have a game day experience so people can go there and stay the whole day. Kind of like Beale Street. You don't want people to go to the Grizzlies game and then go home, you want them to spend money," he explained.

The fairgrounds' redevelopment is already well underway.

The city unveiled the new Kroc Community Center this week. Tiger Lane is almost finished. The children's museum is being upgraded, as well as the Liberty Bowl.

The goal is to get the State Building Commission to approve Tourist Development Zone dollars to pay for the next phase of redevelopment, including a hotel.

"If we get the go ahead from the State Building Commission to go ahead with the TDZ, I think our next big step will the Coliseum would be demolished," said Lipscomb.

Lipscomb says the project creates neighborhood connectivity.

"You've got Orange Mound on one side, the Beltline, and Cooper-Young. So now you're connecting all these dots and hopefully, it will make some of these challenges neighborhoods better as well," he said.

Lipscomb could not say when the overall project will be complete. He says the first step is getting the money.

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