Beale Street Landing developers request increase in city funding - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Beale Street Landing developers request increase in city funding

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(WMC-TV) - The Riverfront Development Corporation requested an increase in city funding in a Memphis City Council committee meeting Tuesday.

RDC manages the riverfront with tax dollars. Their request Tuesday for nearly $200,000 more this year to do the job was a hard sell for the city council.

Council members scrutinized the RDC's 2014 budget days after another hiccup in the Beale Street Landing project, when the facility's restaurant group pulled out.

The cost to build Beale Street Landing began at $29 million and ended up costing $43 million.

Riverfront Development Corporation President Benny Lendermon said the Landing will have a restaurant.

"We've already talked to three people about the restaurant. There will be a restaurant there. That won't be an issue."

Councilman Harold Collins hammered the RDC with question, after question, after question.

"What's the total amount? Do you all pay for that? Are all these people on the payroll?"

Collins had a big problem with one line item: The $306,000 price tag for Beale Street Landing expenses.

"Is the City of Memphis leasing you the building and then you pay for the expenses?" asked Collins.

In the meeting, it was clear the answer to is no.

"I do not understand how we could own and building and then they charge us to be in the building," he added.

Collins says the city should consider taking over riverfront operations.

"We're operating the riverfront at 10 percent less than the city was spending in 1999," said Lendermon.

The Council committee denied extra funding to the Riverfront Development Corporation, but the budget hearings are not over yet.

The full council will still have three votes on this.

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