Southbrook Mall could soon reopen as 'The Whitehaven Town Center'

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Southbrook Mall could soon reopen its doors as "The Whitehaven Town Center.".

A performing arts center, a mini-mall for local vendors, and a slew of city and government offices--the idea is residents of Whitehaven won't have to go far to take care of government business.

Turning the old mall into a town hall has been in talks for years, but the final step is money from Shelby County. Officials wanted a tour before investing more than a million dollars.

The big blue Southbrook Mall sign is a Whitehaven staple, but it hasn't been open to the public in years.

Wednesday, Shelby County Commissioners got a tour of the new building.

"I saw it before  They began the repairs. It was horrific," Shelby County Commissioner Eddie Jones said.

"You could look up and see outside, like the stars," developer Belinda Tate said.

That's been completely re-done.

Mall developers said if the county would give them $1.5 million, they can finish pivotal renovations to finally open its doors to the public.

"The money is there already available in economic development fund. It's just a matter of commissioners saying go ahead. I believe we'll get the votes," Jones said.

County commissioners could take up the issue as early as Monday.

The new town center would include a Lemoyne-Owen off-site campus, a barber school, and some retail.

Sefu and Aza Uhuru are moving their retail shop "Nappy by Nature" from Southland Mall across the street to the soon-to-be opened town center.

"We used to come here when we were very small and to see this place is opening back up with a new birth, a new start and to know we were going to be apart of that," Aza said.

The old movie theatre will be called the "Whitehaven Performing Arts Center." Old movies will be shown there as well as some live performances.

"We've been wanting this for a long time and this is what the community needs," Tate said.

The city has already invested well over $2 million into the project.

Although the developer said the additional funds from the county would be enough to open the doors, she could not give a firm date on when that will happen.

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