Wiseacre’s potential move into Mid-South Coliseum hits snag - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wiseacre’s potential move into Mid-South Coliseum hits snag

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Wiseacre Brewing Company is not moving into the Mid-South Coliseum, according to city officials.

In August 2016, Wiseacre presented its expansion plan to move into the Coliseum to the City of Memphis, which officials publicly praised.

The company has since changed its mind.

City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen released the following statement following the announcement:

“At the conclusion of its period of exclusive study late last week, Wiseacre Brewing Company informed us that it is not positioned to move forward with a lease of the Mid-South Coliseum. Wiseacre has not eliminated it as an option, but all parties now understand that the exclusive period has passed. We thank Wiseacre for its interest and we continue to encourage its growth in our city.

“Our engagement with Wiseacre shows Mayor Strickland’s commitment to having an open mind on the future of the Coliseum, and it is another example of how this administration thinks boldly in ways that are transforming Memphis – from ServiceMaster’s adaptive re-use of the former Peabody Place shopping mall to a wide-ranging exploration of the future of our riverfront and Downtown.

“We will now convene key stakeholders at the Fairgrounds around the study that the Urban Land Institute completed in 2015. We will work to inform a Tourism Development Zone application that the City of Memphis will submit to the state this fall. Our group will view the entire Fairgrounds and surrounding area and will include for consideration all of the previous public input and development ideas that were gathered in earlier discussions.”

Advocates like Scott Shaeffer said the Coliseum is better suited as an entertainment or sports venue. 

"It would be a huge endeavor for any business to step in and try to convert something like the Coliseum to meet their needs," Shaeffer said. 

Shaeffer heads up the "Save the Mid-South Coliseum" Facebook page. 

For years, he has worked to bring attention to the historical significance of the landmark. 

He said if revitalized, the Coliseum would be a catalyst for the fairgrounds as well. 

"Like Nashville and Little Rock, they have larger arenas like the FedEx that coexist with smaller, older ones like the Coliseum," Shaeffer said. 

The Coliseum Coalition released a statement regarding Wiseacre's decision:

The announcement that Wiseacre Brewing will not expand their operations in the Mid-South
Coliseum won’t stop the momentum to reopen the landmark.

“The Coliseum Coalition would like to thank Wiseacre Brewing for the love and attention they
 brought to the Mid-South Coliseum,” says the Coliseum Coalition’s President Roy Barnes.

“Although many of us are disappointed that they won’t be expanding their operations in the building, Wiseacre’s efforts show that the Coliseum is a building of the future. We won’t lose the energy and imagination that this great company has put into this great building as we move forward to that future.”

Charles “Chooch” Pickard, the Vice-President of the Coliseum Coalition adds, “our team of experts has shown that the Coliseum is in excellent shape and more than able to meet its challenges, including fixing the Americans with Disabilities Act violations. A reopened Mid-South Coliseum will cost $7 million less than previous estimates to renovate, and much less than that for any new facility. And when we reopen it, it will complement, not conflict with, so many of the great things happening in Memphis and the Mid-South. But we must approach the Coliseum and the Fairgrounds with patience, a public process, and the excellent planning that we’ve seen with Memphis 3.0 and the Friends of the Fairgrounds public input process. We cannot afford a first-come, first-serve approach to these great public spaces. The Fairgrounds and Coliseum deserve the best. Memphis deserves that.”

The Coliseum Coalition wishes the best of success to Wiseacre Brewing in their expansion location and look forward to drinking their beer in a reopened Mid-South Coliseum.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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