Owners submit plan to redevelop Southgate Shopping Center

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The owners of the Southgate Center at Third and Belz Boulevard are asking a city-county board for tax incentives to revitalize the complex.

Belz writes in its application for incentives that they fear the decline of the shopping center, especially since the closure of Kroger earlier this year.

"The traffic is very minimal now, almost nonexistent," said Tarji Little, who works in the Southgate Center.

Little said since Kroger left, foot traffic is dwindling.

"We don't have as many patrons over here anymore," Little said.

Belz Enterprises is asking the EDGE board for a 15-year property tax incentive to redevelop the site through a $6.8 million investment.

Below are renderings for the proposed redevelopment.

The group notes it has recently been told by the state this DCS office will be leaving in the next year, which would be another blow to nearby businesses and create additional vacant storefronts.

Kroger shut down its store in February, along with a store on Lamar and one in north Mississippi, citing revenue losses.

Belz writes that it plans to lease the vacant grocery store to a new operator and has already acquired the store's fixtures and furnishings to make the deal more appealing.

In turn, they would try to lure additional stores.

Though the application doesn't name a chain, a supplemental letter says the facility would be a Cash Saver.

"Badly needed and I think it would definitely benefit this area," said Sabrina Blevins, who works nearby.

Though Belz said it anticipates 92 jobs would be created, the average wage is just less than $25,000 a year.

The proposal already has the support of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, who in a joint letter cited blight reduction and job creation.

The item is on the agenda for the city-county edge board. It is set to be heard Wednesday.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.