New plans for old medical district eyesore - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New plans for old medical district eyesore

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

University of Tennessee Health Science Center may have the right “remedy” for a long-vacant high-rise in the medical district.

"It's an eyesore,” said Calvetta Mathis, talking about the 12-story building at Madison and Pauline. “So, I say whatever they do with it, it's welcomed."

Mathis and her coworkers walk past the building every day after work.

"We've talked about this building as we walk,” said Kenyetta McIntosh.  “And I was curious as to why it's been empty so long."

Originally built in the late 1960’s, the parking garage/office building/one-time Holiday Inn was abandoned years ago.

It deteriorated as previous redevelopment plans fell through.

"Anything will be better than what we have here," said Cheryl Clayborne.

The medical school, which now owns the property, won approval this week to request new proposals.

Possible plans are for a combination hotel and conference center.

"Maybe somebody will propose redeveloping that building,” said Paul Morris with the Downtown Memphis Commission.“But I also think it's very likely that someone might determine it's less expensive to tear it down and build new."

Either way, the project is expected to improve both aesthetics and area safety.

"Because it's just a place to break in and for the vagrants to just hang out and do smelly things around it,” said Mathis.

The project may be something worth any further wait.

"It's tall, it's very visible, it's ugly,” said Morris.  “And getting rid of that blight will make the neighborhood a lot better."

There is no specific timeline or budget for the project at this point.

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