New construction pops up amid economic downturn - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New construction pops up amid economic downturn

By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The economic downturn has forced construction projects delays, but some projects in Memphis are bucking that trend.

If you want to see new buildings going up, check out Southwest Tennessee Community College, or go to South Memphis and the New Towne Center, across from Stax Music Academy.

Executive Director Jeffery Higgs says New Towne Center at Soulsville will bring restaurants, grocery and retail stores to the area.

"This is years of planning and grant writing and equity building and doing tours and talking to bankers and non-profits and foundations," Higgs said.

Higgs said the construction is going forward in the midst of the economic crisis because funding was secured years ago through a partnership called the LeMoyne Owen College Community Development Corporation.

"The city is a player, the CDC is a player, Soulsville Inc is a player...everybody is coming together," Higgs said.

The construction at Southwest is also possible because of state funding secured three years ago.

Bridget Chisholm is the financial advisor for New Towne Center.  She admits the economic crisis is making it more difficult for clients to get funding right now, and the construction projects that go forward in this economy will involve more out of the box thinking.

"Re-development is hot right now," she said. "I'll tell you, the deals that are getting done are public private partnership deals."

The New Towne Center at Soulsville is scheduled to open later this year.  The new classrooms and labs being built at Southwest are expected to be up and running in 2010.

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